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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 28th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 In the key state of Baden-Wuerttemberg the anti-nuclear Green party more than doubled their vote to 24.2 percent, allowing them to capture the state’s presidency when combined with Social Democrat allies who garnered 23.1 percent.

CDU’s share of the vote slumped from 44.2 percent in the 2006 state election to 39 percent, according to official figures. The Christian Democrats have held power in the state for almost six decades. The outgoing governor, Stefan Mappus, was a strong advocate of nuclear energy.

“This is a day that has strongly changed the political landscape in Germany,” Green party chairwoman Claudia Roth said in Berlin. 

The outcome of Sunday’s (27 March) election is seen as an important setback for Merkel, whose attempts to stop political contamination from Japan’s nuclear accident appear to have failed.

Directly after news of damage to Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor emerged, the chancellor temporarily suspended production at seven of Germany’s oldest reactors among its 17 nuclear plants. The move was seen by a generally nuclear-sceptic public as electioneering. The switch just did not help and brought about deep mistrust.

Sunday’s vote in the wealthy south-western state of 11 million people followed demonstrations in various German cities over the weekend, with roughly 200,000 people calling for the permanent closure of all reactors at the country’s 17 nuclear plants.

Germany’s Green party also did well in concurrent elections in the Rhineland-Palatinate state, where the ruling Social Democrats will now need them as coalition partners.

The country’s Liberal party (FDP) led by foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, CDU coalition partners, were the seen as the weekend’s big losers in both polls.

EU leaders on Friday agreed to stress test the bloc’s 140-plus nuclear plants, but despite moves in Germany many countries including France and the Czech Republic have shown little appetite for a reduction in their nuclear energy use.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right UMP party also suffered considerable losses during the second round of French local elections over the weekend, the last direct voting before presidential elections next May.

Opposition Socialists emerged as the main winners of the local elections, securing roughly 35 percent of the vote.

———————-

In Austria, Kanzler Faymann of the Austrian Socialist Party (the SPÖ) is expressing his happiness with this week-end’s election results. After all, just last week it turned out that the Former Kanzler Mr. Schuessel is on a yearly retainer of 200.00 EURO from the German biggest nuclear company RWE. – this while the Austrian Environment Minister Niki Berlakovich proposed stress tests for all EU nuclear plants. How will Mr. Schuessel react if an RWE reactor fails the Berlakovich stress test?

But we do not stop at this as we must remark that Austria draws electricity from the Verbund network that includes nuclear plants outside Austria. To us this means that despite the positioneering – Austria is not really nuclear free. Will there be now young people in Vienna, like those in Germany, to protest publicly against all EU nuclear plants?

Will other politicians in the EU learn from the debacle that has befallen Ms. Angela Merkel, the German Kanzler? It seems that the pro-nuclear stand she had just two months ago may now lead to her political demise, and Germany is watching how a chemistry teacher, Winfried Kretschmann, replaces the pro-nuclear Prime Minister Stefan Mappus of that 11 million people State of Baden-Württemberg where the right of center CDU was in power for 58 years.

The Japan disaster has brought so far the Green Party for the first time in German history to head a Prime Minister’s cabinet, and they will be in the rulling coalition in two German States – also in the industrial State of Rheinland-Pfalz. The lack of trust in the honesty of their leaders, as evidenced in nuclear policy issues,  will probably lead to similar results in future elections.

3/11 has the potential of becoming a date to remember as 9/11 is. Then we learned to live with terrorism, now we may have to start to learn to live without nuclear power – or without the security we felt from believing in a life based on unsustainable energy – call it the assumed right to waste energy.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 18th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

From Hiroshima 1945 to Fukushima 2011 – it is “Cukooshima!”

Let me start by saying that this posting is not an expression of any arrow shooting at Japanese that acted for all those years against their best interests. Yes – but sorry – it was Cukoo.

It all started with Japan believing it can stop US expansion in East Asia, and Japan picking the losing side in WWII. This led to the dropping of two nuclear bombs over Japan. Then Japan decided to compete with the US economy and went the way of nuclear energy for peaceful use. Now we see that this was as disastrous as their first encounter with nuclear technology – but this time by their own choice.

We love Japan. For one – I spent three weeks in Kyoto in 1997 with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting that gave birth to the failed Kyoto Protocol. At that time I got to know the Kyoto – Nara – Osaka triangle. But this was not my only encounter with the Japanese. In effect, with my family, we spent two weeks staying with Japanese in their homes thanks to the Ryokan hospitality system, and we exchanged our time-share at the Krystal Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for a week at the Resorpia Hakone Japanese Business Class Resort at Hakone, at the foot of the Fiji Mountain. We got to know two different levels which sandwich the Japanese society.

With this said – let me add that I write now from Vienna and that the Austrian people have voted down the opening of an atomic plant as they understood the terrible danger of living with an atomic monster-plant in your backyard. Austria has not even one nuclear plant but gets part of its electricity from the European grid that includes nuclear plants. The Austrians are thus not clean of nuclear energy either – this unless they disengage from the European grid and run their own separate grid for which they have enough hydro-power to provide over 80% of electricity need and could easily supply the remaining part with biomass, biofuels, solar and wind energy. Clearly no real need for nuclear power and the possibility to achieve this without empty posturing based on the truth that once in the past they voted down the opening of the Zwentendorf nuclear plant.

—————————

The Donella Meadows Archive – Voice of a Global Citizen – wrote:
Zwentendorf, a Nuclear Plant That Will Never Be Turned on.

On the bank of the Danube 20 miles northwest of Vienna stands a
completed nuclear power plant, loaded with fuel, ready to start up. It
has stood there, just so, for 9 years, while the Austrians argue about
what to do with it. The most popular plan is to turn it into a museum
for obsolete technology.

The plant, called Zwentendorf, was intended to be the first of six
Austrian nuclear plants. It was begun in 1970 and completed in 1978 at
a cost of 8 billion Austrian schillings — at present value about a
billion dollars. It is rated at 700 megawatts, about two-thirds the
size of Seabrook and Shoreham, two American nuclear plants that are
also ready to go and hotly contested.

“When Zwentendorf began, we didn’t know anything,” an Austrian
environmentalist told me. “Nuclear power sounded better to us than a
coal plant or another hydropower dam on the Danube. If only we had
known then what we know now.”

They know now that two of the four German plants with the same design
as Zwentendorf have been shut down permanently by mechanical problems.
They know now that Zwentendorf is located squarely on an earthquake
fault zone. And during a Danube flood, water seeped into its
containment vessel, so now they know that the groundwater is not
protected from contamination in case of a meltdown.

Furthermore Austria, like every other country with nuclear power, has
no plan for the disposal of nuclear waste. The original idea had been
to bury it in deep granite under the Alps. But the villages at the
chosen site vehemently rejected this plan, and by Austrian law a
locality cannot be forced to accept such an imposition from the
federal government. The Austrians offered the waste to Hungary, Egypt,
and China, but all refused. The Shah of Iran was eager to have it, but
then he fell from power. The Ayatullah wasn’t interested.

By the time Zwentendorf was finished, so many doubts had been raised
that the government was forced to hold a referendum to decide whether
to start the plant. During the weeks preceding the vote, the argument
raged — the same one that polarizes every country that permits public
discussion of nuclear power. People were told they had to choose
between progress and safety, between jobs and the environment, between
present brownouts and future contamination. Bruno Kreisky, then
Chancellor, declared Zwentendorf a top priority and appealed for a yes
vote. Austrians still do not agree whether he caused more
anti-Zwentendorf pro-Kreisky people to vote yes than he did
pro-Zwentendorf anti-Kreisky people to vote no.

At any rate, on November 5, l978, 50.5% of the voters said no to
Zwentendorf. The Austrian nuclear power program came to a halt.

This is part of an article from The Donella Meadows Archive, for
further information please contact Sustainability Institute, 3 Linden
Road, Hartland, VT 05048

Today – that is in 2011 – the Zwentendorf  facility serves as a source
of spare parts for the five German atomic power plant of the same
design, and is used for training purposes. Visits are possible only in
exceptional cases.

————————-

Austrians understand the pain of Japan and the papers are full with articles and letters regarding the nuclear events unfolding in Japan.

The PolitikHeute page of the popular free-of-charge Vienna Heute daily, March 18, 2011, has two out of the three letters from readers, dealing with the EU “Stress Tests for EU Nuclear plants, or the EU and the Atomic Power Plants (the German word AKW):

H. Fruhwirth from Hoenbach reminds us that it is Austrian Environment Minister Nikolas Berlakovich who suggested the stress-tests for all EU AKWs and thinks that had one done so with the Fukushima plants perhaps they would have been stopped before disaster stroke. The mentioned stress tests have already led Germany to announce the non renewal of the operating licenses for as many as 12 plants – this to take effect in a month or two.

Further, the letter points out that politicians, and those that favor nuclear power, finally were driven by what happened in Japan to the realization that humanity is helpless before environmental inputs.

S. Hauer writes a short note asking why the EU deals with crooked bananas and crooked cucumbers, but has no decisions regarding the AKWs, airplane accidents, acts of terror, earth-quakes – even though it is clear that 100% safety does not exist?

On the following page there is an article titled ANSWERS, by Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn.

The Cardinal announces  that tonight, Friday March 18th, 7 pm, he will hold at the Stephansdom (clearly most important Cathedral in Austria) – a special service for Japan.

The Cardinal writes that the Fukushima events made him think these last days of his friend, a Chemist at the University of Bern, Switzerland, Professor Max Thuerkauf, who lost his position at the university because of his criticism of the technological insufficiencies of our times and warned of dangers even of the peaceful uses of nuclear power.  His words sound prophetic these days.

Back in 1984 he was saying that the nuclear power plants were just the tip of an iceberg – the development of technologies that were unsustainable. No engine is safe he was saying to those that argued that nuclear power plants are safe. He was noting that men build them, and use them, and we know that even the impossible can happen.

Thuerkauf  said that atomic energy is a fire that cannot be extinguished – surely not by closing a faucet. There is no material that can extinguish a fire that burns a thousand time brighter then the sun – the artificially created radioactivity.  Science has no means to bottle up this artificially created radioactivity will be here for eternity,  and the Cardinal calls us to reconsider what we are doing and look at what price the poor Japanese will pay for these activities.

—————————-

But I cannot leave it at this only. I feel I must make a further comment regarding the Japanese culture that bred the reality of people committing harakiri for some National purpose. Obviously, we had no admiration for those that sacrificed themselves for their emperor and we do not admire a Prime Minister who makes now an official visit to the shrine that sort off deifies their memory, but look now at the 50 workers that still busy themselves in the pit left by the explosions at the dying reactors of Fukushima. These people know they have little chance to survive. The head of the Japanese nuclear authority did not go to inspect the disaster – right on location. He must have had years ofd good pay and it is those workers that will be his sacrificial lambs. He is no better then the US bank-directors that raked in the profits  from the financial collapse in the US or the BP officials who watched the fouling up of the US Gulf. Neigh – the Japanese energy leaders might actually prove to be much worse then these other self-gratifiers.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 16th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

A cloud of nuclear mistrust spreads around the world.

 After decades of lies, nuclear reassurances now fall on deaf ears

Special report for The Independent of London by Michael McCarthy

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

It is unprecedented: four atomic reactors in dire trouble at once, three threatening meltdown from overheating, and a fourth hit by a fire in its storage pond for radioactive spent fuel.

All day yesterday, dire reports continued to circulate about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, faced with disaster after Japan’s tsunami knocked out its cooling systems. Some turned out to be false: for example, a rumour, disseminated by text message, that radiation from the plant had been spreading across Asia. Others were true: that radiation at about 20 times normal levels had been detected in Tokyo; that Chinese airlines had cancelled flights to the Japanese capital; that Austria had moved it embassy from Tokyo to Osaka; that a 24-hour general store in Tokyo’s Roppongi district had sold out of radios, torches, candles and sleeping bags.

But perhaps the most alarming thing was that although Naoto Kan, Japan’s Prime Minister, once again appealed for calm, there are many – in Japan and beyond – who are no longer prepared to be reassured.

And first palpable direct result – see Germany closes seven of its oldest reactors.

Related articles:

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 8th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

VALERIO CALZOLAIO, a journalist, ecologist, and ex-member of Italian parliament, is the author of:

“ECO-REFUGEES: FORCED MIGRATION YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW.”

He writes, as reported by Roberto Savio of IPS, from Rome, October 8, 2010:

“For the entire month of August the front pages of the world’s major daily papers gave considerable coverage of developments in the Indus Valley: monsoon rains in the north of Pakistan in late July, the flooding of rivers and tributaries, submerged land, villages, and towns, then more flooding in the centre and south of the country, the contamination of wells and aqueducts and other sources of water, inadequate international funding, flight, desperation, and anger.

Almost two thousand dead were immediately confirmed, thousands and thousands of people lost, six million left homeless, 10 million evacuated, 20 million effected in some way. They could be defined climate- or eco-refugees.

It was a disaster on a planetary scale represented in shocking photographs of the distant suffering. But alongside this story ran a range of national matters of varying importance -in Italy, for example, the story about a drop in prices of homes in Montecarlo. Now the climate refugees of the Indus have vanished from the media. For two months we have heard nothing more about the disaster, though hundreds of thousands of people remain in camps and normal life has not returned for millions of Pakistanis.

In recent weeks, however, news has arrived about another wave of climate refugees elsewhere in the world, in Indonesia, the Amazon, and the Danube in Hungary. For almost twenty years the proliferation of climate refugees has been a source of diffuse emergencies, migrants driven to leave their homes by bad choices or the mistaken behaviour of humans. In the case of climate change, they are fleeing because of actions that we are taking here.

In 2008 and 2009 the number of international “political” refugees (those who are given “refugee” status) was about 15 million; the official number of international eco-refugees was higher. The number of eco-refugees even exceeds that of internal political refugees (who remain within their country’s border). With world conferences about to be held yet again on biodiversity (Nagoya) and the climate (Cancun), in November and December, it is time the UN is provided permanently with the means to help eco-refugees and prevent the creation of more of them.

In a book now being released in Italy, I have tried to reflect on these figures and means. Whether we like it or not, hundreds of thousands of eco-refugees are arriving in Europe each year, and their numbers will only rise. Moreover it is we that are responsible for their lack of homes. They cannot stay in camps forever, not will all manage to find a home in their own country, and the sooner we recognise this the better.

I recognise that since Adam and Eve there have always been environmental and climate refugees. It is not by chance that I dedicated the first part of the book to migratory species and the archaeology of the original waves of human migration. The migration of individuals and groups of our species have always had multiple causes and environmental and climatic effects and repercussions, especially when forced, when people were driven from their homes.

In the history and evolution of homo sapiens, the other major causes of migration are war and conflict. Refugees and eco-refugees are not an invention of modernity. Today those made refugees by “political” causes -violence or persecution by institutions or human communities- are granted “refugee” status and assistance by a United Nations commission. And yet climate refugees are victims of human action, too, so shouldn’t they be given this same status? We must find a way to provide the same assistance and take the same preventive measures in the case of migration caused by contemporary human-caused climate change. The second part of my book is dedicated to this subject.

I have tried to reconstruct the infancy and adolescence of the UN system, showing who’s in charge (and how) of human rights and the right to asylum, aid, and protection from climate change. I have sought to gather together the most advanced proposals from UN agencies, scientists, and researchers to address the migration caused by rising sea levels, by the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, and by the shrinking availability of water for drinking and sanitation.

Forecasts indicate that in the next two decades there will be tens of millions of new eco-refugees, especially in certain areas, headed primarily towards Europe, mostly across the Mediterranean. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports call attention to global developments that are certain to occur though they will vary in intensity according to location: rising sea level, water scarcity, and extreme weather events.

For example, according to the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), the real risk of deaths resulting from flooding has risen by 13 percent from 1990-2007 while the percentage of the world population directly effected has increased by 28 percent in that period. Moreover, on the basis of past experience and forecast models, over 75 percent of these risks will be concentrated in a handful of countries: those effected by monsoons (Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan) and China.

The risks are not the consequence of exposure and intensity alone: an island or sparsely-populated country or a small poor country risks both the life and development of entire populations for generations. Forced emigration is the near certain outcome. By 2050 the risk of becoming climate refugees as a result of these developments, even in a best case scenario, will cast its shadow over no fewer than 200 million people.”

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 17th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Danube’s menacing industrial legacy.

DOUG SAUNDERS

From Saturday’s Globe and Mail, London and Toronto.
Published Friday, Oct. 15, 2010, Last updated Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010

When the earthen retaining wall burst on a Hungarian chemical refinery’s settling pond last week, a lake of caustic red sludge burst forth, drowning or burning to death at least nine people and polluting large tracts of land and river.

But the Ajkai alumina refinery disaster also exposed an alarming, half-buried legacy of poison and potential disaster that stretches along the banks of the Danube River as it courses through the former Communist nations of Eastern Europe – a decades-old legacy of crumbling chemical plants and mines that threatens far worse accidents.

More related to this story

Regional organizations, ecological groups and the European Union list hundreds of rickety Communist-era chemical plants, refineries and mine smelters strung along the banks and watersheds of the Danube.

Most are like the Ajkai refinery, which was built by the Soviet-bloc Hungarian government in the 1940s and privatized in the early 1990s while relying on the same aging infrastructure.

During the decades of the Warsaw Pact, the Soviets had designated the Danube basin – notably Hungary, but also Romania, Bulgaria and their neighbours – the empire’s centre of chemical and mineral processing. After the end of communism in 1989, the plants either passed into private hands, often with little investment or upkeep, or were abandoned.

“We have no idea how many ticking time bombs are out there – we thought we had a list of the most dangerous sites, but then something like this takes us by surprise,” says Andreas Beckmann, director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Vienna-based Danube program.

The WWF, Greenpeace and local environment groups had all maintained lists of the dangerous mines and chemical ponds in the area – a list that includes more than 1,000 operating and 700 abandoned sites in Hungary alone, and eight that are considered dangerous “hot spots.”

But the Ajkai refinery, site of the worst disaster in a decade (though environmental groups say they have detected only minor pollution of the Danube itself), did not even appear on those lists.

“In this case I wasn’t aware it had existed until last week, which is the unsettling thing – it makes you wonder what else is out there,” Mr. Beckmann said. Its aluminium-oxide sludge pits, which contain millions of litres of a sufficiently potent alkaline to give lethal burns, are not considered a serious pollutant under European regulations.

When the countries of the eastern Danube joined the European Union – Hungary in 2004, then Romania and Bulgaria in 2007 – they became subject to some of the world’s most rigorous environmental regulations. To qualify for membership, both the prospective members and Brussels invested billions in upgrading health and safety infrastructure.

But officials now fear that many of these countries, which tend to register high on corruption indices, may have hidden unsafe, crumbling industries in much the same way that Greece hid billions in debt liabilities. There is a fear, one European Commission official involved in the Hungarian case said, that “these guys could be paying the inspectors to overlook a chemical Chernobyl.”

Hungarian environmentalists feel that the Ajkai alumina plant could not have passed any sort of rigorous inspections – aerial photos released Thursday showed the containment walls leaking and crumbling months before the collapse. “They made a huge mistake in legalizing this factory in the first place,” Marton Vau, spokesman for Greenpeace Hungary, told reporters.

And while weak and under-inspected mines and refineries such as Ajkai are a worry, even more serious are the hundreds, possibly thousands, of abandoned Communist-era chemical plants and storage ponds, many of them falling under the jurisdiction of no private or public-sector authority, some of them forgotten.

To drive across Bulgaria, for example, is to pass through scores of abandoned Stalinist factory towns, their concrete work yards and high-rise apartments turned into graffiti-pocked ghost towns. Many contain fields and lakes of serious toxins, slowly leaching into the watershed as their containers decompose.

And the Danube nation of Serbia is a particular worry, as it contains hundreds of ex-Yugoslav Communist factories – many abandoned – is not yet a member of the EU, and lacks the financial resources to clean up its industrial ruins.

“I do worry that there could be an even more serious catastrophe out there that we haven’t noticed, waiting to happen,” said Mr. Beckmann of the WWF. “And instead of red sludge, it could end up being cyanide next time.”

More related to this story

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 24th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

from Kreisky Forum <einladung.kreiskyforum@kreisky.org>
date Tuesday, Aug 24, 2010
subject Vortrag Franz Walter,

Montag, 6. September 2010, 19.00 Uhr

Reihe: GENIAL DAGEGEN/ kuratiert von Robert Misik

Montag, 6. September, 19.00 Uhr

Bruno Kreisky Forum für internationalen Dialog | Armbrustergasse 15 | 1190 Wien

Anmeldungen unter: Tel.: 3188260/20 | Fax: 318 82 60/10 | e-mail: einladung.kreiskyforum@kreisky.org

FRANZ WALTER

Institut für Demokratieforschung Göttingen

VORWÄRTS ODER ABWÄRTS?

Hat die Sozialdemokratie noch eine Zukunft?

Moderation:   Robert Misik, Journalist und Autor

Vorwärts oder Abwärts?: Zur Transformation der Sozialdemokratie (edition suhrkamp)

Jospin, Blair, Schröder: 1998 sah es so aus, als stünde die europäische Sozialdemokratie vor einem goldenen Zeitalter. Elf Jahre später hat die SPD 10.192.426 Millionen Stimmen verloren und sechs Parteivorsitzende verschlissen, die niederländische Partij van de Arbeid fuhr 2002 das schlechteste Ergebnis ihrer Geschichte ein, die schwedischen Sozialdemokraten 2006, die österreichischen 2008. Der »Dritte Weg« erwies sich als Weg ins Abseits, längst ist vom Ende einer Volkspartei die Rede.

Es sieht so aus, als hätten die Sozialdemokraten keine überzeugende Antwort auf den radikalen Wandel der Arbeitswelt, auf Individualisierung und Globalisierung.

Franz Walter, einer der profiliertesten deutschen Parteienforscher, untersucht die Ursachen für den Niedergang der SPD. Er wirft einen Blick über die Grenzen Deutschlands und fragt, was Freiheit, Gleichheit und Solidarität in unserer Zeit bedeuten.

Melitta Campostrini
Bruno Kreisky Forum
for International Dialogue
Armbrustergasse 15
A-1190 Vienna
tel.: ++43 1 3188260/11
fax: ++43 1 3188260/10
e-mail: kreiskyforum@kreisky.org

www.kreisky-forum.org

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 25th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

nbsp;search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/eo20…

Monday, July 26, 2010

Black Sea challenge by U.S. set to keep Russia on edge.

A storm is gathering in and around the Black Sea as Russia faces a mounting challenge from the United States, which is beefing up its military presence in former Soviet satellite countries like Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.

One look at a map of the region shows the critical geopolitical importance of the Black Sea, as its southern coast connects to the Middle East via Turkey and its northern coast adjoins Ukraine, which is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and which houses 80 percent of the pipelines supplying natural gas from Russia to Western Europe.

In Romania, the U.S. has spent $50 million since last year to expand bases to accommodate 1,700 troops. The principal facility is the Mikhail Kogalniceanu Air Base located in Constanta, facing the Black Sea. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is said to maintain a secret detention facility at the base.

There is nothing new about the U.S. maintaining military bases in Romania, which dates back to the beginning of the Iraq war. What is important is Washington’s announcement of its intention to use them indefinitely. In May, a marine corps unit centered around a tank battalion was dispatched to the Mikhail Kogalniceanu base for the first time.

In Bulgaria, meanwhile, the U.S. plans to expand bases there to accommodate 2,500 troops. The core facility is the Bezmer Air Base, about 50 km from the Black Sea southern coast. When the project is completed, the U.S. will have a strategic air base in Bulgaria comparable in scale to the air bases at Inzirlik in Turkey and Appiano in Italy. Joint American-Bulgarian air force drills were conducted in May.

The American move to strengthen its defense capability in countries formerly under Soviet influence is not limited to Romania and Bulgaria. It is also conspicuous in Hungary, although that country does not face the Black Sea. For several years the Papa Air Base in Hungary has functioned as a base for the U.S. Air Force’s state-of-the-art Boeing C-17 transport aircraft, making it one of the crucial strategic air transport centers outside of the U.S.

It is important to note that all these moves represent only the initial step that Washington has taken to expand its military presence in the Black Sea region. Upon completion of these base expansion projects in 2012, two-thirds of the highly mobile Rapid Reaction Corps of the U.S. Army in Europe will be concentrated in Romania and Bulgaria.

This means that the U.S. front line of defense is shifting from the eastern border of Germany to the Black Sea, which is adjacent to the Middle East, the Caucasus and Russia.

Another source of Russian uneasiness is a move to revive a plan to establish a U.S. missile defense system in Europe. Even though President Barack Obama is said to have abandoned a project involving Poland and Czech Republic, it is said that a similar system will be completed in Romania and Bulgaria between 2018 and 2020.

Romania is ready to accept deployment of 20 SM-3 anti-ballistic missile units, currently installed on American naval vessels with the Aegis Combat System. These missiles could later be replaced with the more advanced terminal high altitude area defense (THAAD) missiles. They will also be deployed in Bulgaria.

Meanwhile, it has become more likely that the X-band radar system, which the U.S. originally planned to install in the Czech Republic, will be set up in Israel.

U.S. destroyers carrying Tomahawk cruise missiles have made a number of calls on Georgian, Romanian and Bulgarian ports since the armed conflict between Russia and Georgia in 2008.

A leading official of the Russian Navy stated recently that an increased U.S. presence in the region would bring about a “dramatic change in the military balance in the Black Sea” and present a “serious threat to Russia.” He went on to say that Russia would counter these American moves by further strengthening the Black Sea Fleet.

Washington responded by bluntly claiming that the deployment of the missile defense system is designed to prevent Iran from attacking Europe with its missiles. But anyone with even the most rudimentary military knowledge would admit that Tehran has neither the technology to develop long-range missiles nor the need to attack Europe. Russia’s sense of crisis is not groundless.

The only consolation for Moscow of late came in Ukraine’s presidential election in February, when pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko lost to pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych. Subsequently, the Ukrainian legislature passed a new law, permitting the Russian Black Sea Fleet to continue using the facilities in Sevastopol for another 25 years. Even so, Moscow does not have any effective means of countering Romania and Bulgaria, which seek to strengthen their military collaboration with the U.S.

The whole world puzzles over Washington’s motivation for seeking a greater military presence in the Black Sea region, since it hardly can be interpreted as mere expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Nor is it impossible to understand the true motive of the U.S. by reading the Quadrennial Defense Review, announced in February. It appears all but certain that the waves of the Black Sea will only get higher.

This is an abridged translation of an article from the July issue of Sentaku, a monthly magazine of political, social and economic affairs.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 8th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

We write this after having witnessed the following:

Subtantialis Corporis Mixti
(Substantial Form of the Blended Body)

THE SYNERGIES EXHIBITION OF THE BASEL, ROTTERDAM AND STOCKHOLM CONVENTIONS.

on Friday, 7 May, 6:00 – 8:30 pm
Czech Center – 321 E. 73rd Street, New York, New York

The event is open to the public and will feature an informal talk by the
exhibition curator at 6:45pm accompanied by cocktail refreshment.

It was sponsored by The Czech Republic and organized by SAFE PLANET – the UN campaign for Responsibility on Hazardous Chemicals and Wastes on the occasion of the Eighteenth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 18).

For more information, please see the attached flyer.

Michael Stanley-Jones
Joint Services of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions
UNEP, Geneva
+41 79 730-4495 (Press enquires)
SafePlanet@unep.org

=== ===  ===

The three conventions mentioned are:

– The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous wastes and Their Disposal.    www.basel.int

– The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International trade.    www.pic.int

– The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.    www.pops.int

These are just three out of a dozen conventions – most of them dealing with specific chemicals – many with just single transition metals that are poisonous and harmful to humans and aspects of nature. The UN cannot regulate what is done in a particular country even when it impacts the whole world – but it can come up with conventions that try to regulate international trade – and sometimes plain dumping of hazardous materials somewhere outside the guilty country – we call this plain criminal activity that dumps these materials in the poorest region of a poor country.

UNEP Executive Director and UN-USG Ahim Steiner’s opening sentence for the exhibition’s catalog says: “The challenge of hazardous chemicals can appear invisible and remote to many of us. While science offers us the rationale and objective evidence of the risks, art connects the heart: In doing so it can move and mobilize each and all of us to act in new and transformative ways.”

Industrial interests tend to sweep these miseries under the rug – so to say – and people are left suffering terrible harm as a consequence. The UN may discuss this in its chambers, but unless people get the understanding why things happen to them, to their environment, or to something they care about – they will not act.

Chris Jordan, September 2009, photographed bodies of Albatross chicks that had dropped to their deaths on Midway Atoll, a remote marine sanctuary in the middle North Pacific. They had swallowed colorful bottle caps and cigarette lighters that their parents fed them because we threw them into the open sea.

Barbara Benish, from California but living now on in the Czech Republic close to the German border, takes to the plastic toy form of “Bruno” the dolphin of Bohemia discolored by chemicals like the real Dolphins of the polluted Mediterranean and compares them with the playing dolphins of the walls of 3,000 year old palaces of Knossos. Barbara is teaching environment to Czech children and to the children of the world. She was a university classmate of the organizer of this exhibition Michael Stanley-Jones whith whom she was in contact but did not see him for 25 years until last nights event. But Michael was not the curator of the show, that fell to a professional from Texas

Floyd Newsum shows a set of three panels that in the upper two halves are covered with an orange red to show the effect of global warming upon a young female figure, that happens to be African, that is depicted in the lower one third of the middle panel. Below these panels there are three objects, – a plastic football covered stuff that looks like pollution under the right side panel,  while under the left panel there is a model bath tub – the ocean – and in it a small plastic cut out in the shape of Texas – that is the size of Texas of a plastic-covered real life region in the middle of the Pacific.

The above  collage shocked me as I just saw in the Saturday New York Times – right there on front page – the spectacular red, orange and yellow colors of oil-in water – that is the play of light in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. How many poor girls in the US South will go hungry as their fisherman father will be out of work because we wanted that oil? I got my exhibit-update right there – the same day.

Lyn Randolph explores the Texas Gulf Coast in two large excellent paintings – “Endangered Species” in what seems an unexpected meeting of a female nude and Wooping Cranes – the woman seems to spy us and seems to be of the same endangered content as the birds. Here also we have very warm colored backgrounds but much more sharp colored center images.

Barbara Sprung and another Barbara Benish large paintings deal with vulnerable women that we have attacked by what we do to the environment – those are the turning-away wounded Venuses in our life. Their bodies might still look nice but were altered by chemicals.

Santiago Cardenas of Colombia does away with the body completely – he just shows a large coat on a hangar and an umbrella attached to a belt-loop.

Then a most surprising exhibit was by a delightful Pakistani lady that resides now in Indiana, Anila Quayyum Agha.

She showed a construct with letters that she named “My Forked Tongue.” and tried to convey the need for an international dialogue. She suspended letters in Urdu, Hindi and English and she told me it took 6 hours to mount the work here. She has dealt with political and gender issues in the land of her birth. Now she is Assistant Professor – Drawing- at the Herron School of Art and Design at the Indiana University in Indianapolis. I picked up a 40 page booklet of hers “Drawing the Invisible: Naratives of Gender, Community, and Home.” There is not a single depiction of the human body there – clearly something that has to do with her cultural background. She manages nevertheless, through color, painting, stitching, sewing, graphics… to convey the good side of humanity – what a refreshing experience after reading and hearing all the stuff about other Pakistanis in America! I spoke with her at somewhat at length and found easily that people that have a feel for humanity bind easily. This exhibit was a case in point.

The about 50 people present, many from the Czech community, but also with a sprinkling from the UN – like Matthias Kern, Programme Officer at the Basel Convention Geneva Based, Secretariat, had a good time listening to the curator, enjoying the good Czech Urquel Pilsener bier, and plainly chatting about the issues displayed. Barbara Benish was addressing everyone first in Czech language as that was a first good guess nevertheless. Luckily the Czech President Vaclav Klaus has not completely turned into his disciples the great majority of his nation. The spirit of Franz Kafka, Jaroslav Hašek, Karel Capek, Vaclav Havel is still alive.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 30th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

.

The Best at the UN ends up reflecting also on the worst: The UN Headquarters have many people of value – of compassion and of hope for a better future – this besides of some in the bureaucracy that might be innocents with no vision, others might be plants from Member States that want no part of human rights, dignity, or even of plain truth – so be it.

The good people under the leadership of Eric Falt and Kimberly Mann came up with a very interesting program that we posted earlier so people from outside the UN could know how to find their way in order to participate at these events. The list is in our following link:

 www.sustainabilitank.info/2010/01…

Later we found out that the information about these events was sent to parties outside the UN, was made available to the Press accredited to the UN, but as it turned out – from the 6 events listed by UN Outreach – only two events were printed in the Daily Journal of the UN. That journal is not made available now to NGOs – only to the diplomats – but then NGOs get their information from reading the Journal on the internet – so you can say that the UN Department of Information – the source of the Journal – even though it can contend that it made the information available to the PRESS – can in no way justify why it did not make available the information to the in-house members of the UN – except may-be say that some of those were not interested in the Holocaust as more pressing issues are at hand. But what about the educational aspects that were so important to the good people of the UN Outreach Division?

The day after the main event of Wednesday, a head of an NGO Committee that is daily at the UN, asked me – how did you know about the concert? I did not see it listed anywhere. And trust me – that was neither a question of space nor of security. Then what?

The UN In-House events numbered six, and participation was being granted by various sources – some of them outside the UN.

Let us start with the two events that appeared continuously in the Journal announcements:

These were the Wednesday January 27, 2010 event organized by the Jewish B’nai Brith International NGO in cooperation with the UN Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic. It dealt with the “Inter religious responses to the Holocaust – 65 years after liberation.” Tickets to this event were sent out by the B’nai Brith organization. There was no problem obtaining them after the appropriate phone call.

The other event was on Thursday January 28, 2010 – titled “The Moroccan Jews and Their legacy of survival.” The Journal does not mention that it was organized by the Moroccan Government but directed those interested to contact the DPI/NGO section as it was booked as a regular, weekly, DPI briefing to the NGOs. When approached – the appropriate UN officials said – send us a letter on NGO letterhead. So – this event was being treated as a regular NGO event – not as the important message that the Moroccan Government intended to put forward before members of the UN, and others who actually had no knowledge that during the terrible days of the Holocaust – there was indeed one Arab King – H.M. King Muhammad V of Morocco – who told the Nazis – the Jews of Morocco are my subjects and I do not discriminate between Jews and other Moroccans. Now that was a powerful message that deserved to be heard at the UN – and if not – the organization does not deserve the funds the world sends its way. I had no doubt that I had to take a stand on this issue – and I did.

———

The other four events of the week, none of them listed in the Journal, included two quentesential exhibits organized by Non-Governmental factors outside the UN.

On Monday, January 25, 2010,  there was a show of hope – it was actually called “Generations: Survival and Legacy of Hope,” for which entrance was obtained from the Shoa Foundation Institute in Los Angeles. This organization, funded initially by Mr. Steven Spielberg from Schindler’s list funds, has documented on video the stories of survivors and their descendants. Two families were present at the showing of material. Despite the terrible material it is the hope that shows through in the success of having picked up their lives again – this is what gives a reason for having hope in institutions that were established under the “Never Again” logo. This event – paired up with the following day opening – together form the raison d’etre for the UN institution – but you would not know this from the way the UN kept these two events of its Journal.

On Tuesday. January 26, 2010, the Exhibit – “Architecture of Murder: Auschwitz-Birkenau,” for which entrance was obtained from the Yad Vashem – Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority. At this event participated also the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, The Israeli Minister for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, and US Ambassador Rick Barton.

——–

The other two events that were not listed in the Journal are:

– The main Holocaust Memorial Ceremony and Concert in the General Assembly Hall for which one needed special tickets – so it was clearly a more controlled participation, and that was the event that the lady I mentioned earlier asked me about as she would have wanted to come had she known about it.

– The Thursday January 28, 2010 screening of the film “Defiance” that was co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the US and had present the lady that wrote the book, Nehama Tec, and her son who made the movie. The great thing about this movie is that it depicts the true story of the Bielski brothers – a story of Jewish fighters in the forests of Belarus – as the UN release says correctly – it depicts  “the struggle of a group of brave Jews who fought against overwhelming odds thus providing a sharp contrast to the countless WWII movies that portray Jews just as victims.” The two Bielski Brigades – the one under one brother that fought with the Russian partisans, and the other – under another brother that guarded the Jewish families in the forest. When the two groups fought together – they turned around the Nazi effort to clear the forest. 1200 people survived thanks to the Bielskis’ leadership. Two of the three Bielskis survived and eventually owned a small trucking business in the US.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 22nd, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

header_presse_en

ALDE group calls for EP debate on role of EU Council President

As candidates names for the position of President of the European Council are circulating with increasing frequency in the media ahead of the EU summit meeting in Brussels at the end of the month, Liberals and Democrats are calling for a parliamentary debate to better define the role and responsibilities of the new post before attempting to fill it. This morning, Parliament’s Group leaders backed the Liberal and Democrat group proposal to include a debate on the matter at the next Brussels part session on 11-12 November.

The Treaty of Lisbon, which is still awaiting the signature of the Czech President, is not specific on the job description of the European Council President which leaves an opportunity for the Parliament to give its own opinion on the subject.

The ALDE group also believes Parliament should address how the Commission needs to be structured to take account of the new external representation roles of the Council President and High representative as well as issues of accountability to Parliament for the actions and expenditure of the future activities of the Union.

Greening our economy, preserving our planet. ALDE aims to achieve a new,
greener and more competitive economy, utilising new skills and new
technologies to deliver prosperity and job opportunities.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 19th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

nbsp;EUobserver.com – 19.09.2009 ******************************
************

THE FUTURE OF THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY IN THE EU.
The Good Word Seems To Be – Transformation Through Crisis – The start of the thinking process.

WHEN: 8th October 2009 from 9:00 -13:00h
WHERE: Committee of the Regions, Brussels? ‘Open Days’ – Rue Belliard 101,
1040 Brussels
WHO: European and American automotive industries, climate change experts,
transport specialists, regional
authorities, city planners, trade unions, consumers, lawmakers and media

Registration is FREE and is required due to limited number of seats.

Please register on: conferences.euobserver.com/auto/i…
(the workshop No is: 08A02)

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 8th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

ALDE – Distribution: immediate – July 8, 2009, 11:04 am
Watson to withdraw to give Buzek a clear mandate of support

Former ALDE Group Leader and EP Presidential candidate Graham Watson MEP today announced his intention to withdraw from the Presidential contest to give EPP candidate Jerzy Buzek a clear mandate of support from Parliament’s three major political families.

“The EU is mired in a crisis – economic, environmental and constitutional,” Mr Watson said; “and the three political families which founded our Union have decided to unite their forces to save it. The European Parliament is more divided than ever, with no stable majority possible. That is why I am withdrawing from the race to be President in support of a three-party agreement to save the EU.”

“Despite renouncing my plans for the Presidency of Parliament, I will continue to argue for a stronger and more effective Institution more focussed on the interests and concerns of the citizens and more engagement with national and regional parliaments.”

Note: Graham Watson MEP led the ELDR (later ALDE) Group in the EP for seven and a half years, two and a half years longer than any of his predecessors. He built the group from a membership of 46 MEPs in 2002 to a membership of 106 at its peak in 2008.

————

In 1963 Jerzy Buzek graduated from the Mechanics-and-Energy Division of the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice specializing in chemical engineering. He became a scientist in the Chemical Engineering Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Gliwice. Since 1997 he is a professor of technical science. He is also an honorary doctor of the universities in Seoul and Dortmund.
From 1997-2001 he was Prime Minister of Poland. In 1998 he became a laureate of the Grzegorz Palka Award, was nominated the European of the Year by the European Union Business Chambers Forum and Man of the Year of a Polish political weekly Wprost.
After losing the parliamentary elections in 2001, he stepped back from Polish political life (although he was elected a member of the European Parliament in 2004) and focused more on his scientific work, becoming the prorector of Akademia Polonijna in Częstochowa and professor in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Opole University of Technology in Opole.

Jerzy Buzek comes from the well-known Buzek family, present in Polish politics since the 20 years of free Poland between the World Wars (World War I and World War II). His family comes from the Polish community in Zaolzie, a region of Cieszyn Silesia which is now part of the Czech Republic. He is a Protestant.
In the 1980s Jerzy Buzek was an activist of the democratic anti-communist movements, including the legal (1980-1981 and since 1989) and underground (1981-1989) Solidarity trade union and political movement in the communist Poland. He was active organizer of the trade union’s regional and national underground authorities. He was also the chairman of the four national general meetings (1st, 4th, 5th and 6th) when Solidarity was allowed to act legally.

In years 1997-2001 he was the prime minister of Poland, first of the right-centrist AWS-UW coalition government until 2001, and then of the rightist AWS minority government. His cabinet major achievements are 4 significant political and economic reforms: the new local government and administration division of Poland, reform of the pension schemes system, reform of the educational system and reform of the medical services system.

On 13 June 2004 Jerzy Buzek was elected Member of European Parliament from Silesian Voivodeship constituency, without printing of any posters, basing his election only on popularity of his name and on direct contact with the voters. He received the record number of votes in the whole Poland: 173,389 (22.14% of the total votes in this region).
His party is the Platforma Obywatelska which joined the European People’s Party and sits now on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.
Buzek is a substitute for the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety,
a member of the Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee and a substitute for the Delegation for relations with the countries of Central America.
On 7 June 2009 Buzek was reelected Member of European Parliament from Silesian Voivodeship constituency. Just as in the previous election, Buzek received the record number of votes in Poland: 393, 117 (over 42% of the total votes in the constuency).

============

The Original July 4, 2009 posting:

Will it be   Jose Manuel Barroso or Graham Watson at the helm of a strengthened EU?

Graham Watson MEP

225px-graham_watson_mepjpg.jpg
Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group

He is the candidate from ALDE to the left of The European Parliament to stand up as counter-candidate to Jose Manuel Barroso’s bid to become European Commission president for a second time.’s bid to become European Commission president for a second time.

It seems that the elections will now take place mid-September – under the Swedish Presidency of the EU.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 15th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Coal: An answer to energy insecurity?
Monday 1 – Tuesday 2 June 2009
Chatham House, London

A major two-day international conference

The Chatham House coal conference is taking place at a critical time of debate in the industry, with governments the world over weighing up their energy options with climate security. Register now for this highly topical event, offering:

  • Discussions of the most pressing issues within the debate, including the reality of CCS, creating policy conditions for cleaner coal and achieving universal best practice
  • Keynote addresses from Mike O’Brien, Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, UK and Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director, International Energy Agency
  • A unique cross section of international policymakers, practitioners, environmentalists and experts, from China, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Japan, USA and the UK to discuss this highly topical issue.
  • Many opportunities for audience interaction and networking with the leading thinkers in the field.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 13th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

From: Mikael Román <mikael.roman@sei.se>
Date: Tue, Apr 7, 2009 at 3:09 PM
Subject: Swedish Report on US Climate Policies under the Obama Administration

Dear Colleagues

Please find attached the links to a report “Sea Change: US Climate Policy Prospects Under the Obama Administration”, which was published last week by the Swedish government’s Commission for Sustainable Development as part of its preparation for the COP 15 in Copenhagen this fall.

The report provides an assessment of climate change efforts by the new administration as of late March, as well as an overview and analysis of the key factors that will influence the development of US Climate policy leading up to and beyond Copenhagen. It concludes with a selection of observations considered especially relevant and important, and the Swedish Government would be wise to take into consideration in its role leading the EU delegation. We’ve included a couple of introductory paragraphs at the bottom of the page.

 www.sweden.gov.se/sb/d/11736/a/12…

Yours,

Mikael Roman, PhD   Stockholm Environment Institute
 Mikael.Roman at sei.se

Marcus Carson, PhD, Department of Sociology, Stockholm University
 Marcus.Carson at sociology.su.se

SEA CHANGE: US Climate Policy Prospects Under the Obama Administration

Less than two months into the Obama Presidency, there remains no doubt that its policies constitute a fundamental break with those of the previous administration. The commitment to vigorously grappling with climate change is a core element of this break – a “sea change”, in the words of UN Climate Chief Yvo de Boer. The Obama Administration has already begun to demonstrate its seriousness about climate change through actions being taken within US borders. It has also begun to re-engage energetically in international climate negotiations. With many of the important details on staffing decisions, principles and timelines for legislative initiatives, and other priorities now fleshed out, the essential goals and contours of the new American climate change agenda have taken form. Developments are unfolding rapidly, so that any assessment must cope with a rapidly moving target.

US climate politics has reached a critical political tipping point. The dramatic shift in the climate politics of the Executive Branch of US Government is accompanied by more incremental changes in the Congress, at the regional, state and local level, and in public opinion. In short, the conditions for adopting and implementing forceful measures for addressing climate change looking far better than at any time previously. That is the good news. Nevertheless, some of the important circumstances that condition the development of US climate policies remain stubbornly fixed.

———————

– www.climate-l.org – A knowledgebase of International Climate Change Activities, provided by IISD in cooperation with the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) Secretariat

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 9th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Featured Story Telling Event of The Week – in New York City:
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic and of the European Union, declared: “Environmentalism and the global warming alarmism is challenging our freedom. I’m afraid that the current crisis will be misused for radically constraining the functioning of the markets and market economy all around the world.” Now, don’t forget that this statement was made before people who gathered to analyze an ongoing World Economic Crisis – some of whom, like George Soros, were saying that we have not seen the tip of the iceberg yet. The Klaus show is coming this week to New York!

Last year, at the Heartland Institute New York City Event, the oil companies had their free run and actually it was quite an entertaining event. Paleontology was well rehearsed, but also seemingly honest naive people spoke out their thoughts. Some thoughts were provocative indeed, and caused real scientists a work-out in finding reasonable answers – and let us face it – science does not have yet answers for everything, and if it had, it would be no science. It is only religion that has answers for everything, and our website suggested in the past that the oil-use religion is causing humanity’s assured self-destruction. Darwin, another of the Heartland’s targets, made it clear that it takes eons to effect evolution, and life as we know it evolved within the context of a carbon/oxygen chemistry within a given composition of the mixture of gases we call air. A serious deviation from this composition might indeed end life on earth as it evolved – a very frightening idea that no sophist should dare to disregard. But well ….

We reporrted then:

Vaclav Klaus, President of The Czech Republic, Sets The Timing For The Heartland Institute’s New York Climate Change Conference, He May Yet Become, Personaly, A Serious Impediment On The Road To Copenhagen.

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 9th, 2008

by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

————————-

This year, on March 9, 2009 – At Columbia University, March 9, 2009, 3-4 pm, Rotunda, Low Memorial Library., World Leaders Program, Victoria de Grazia, Moore College Professor of History will moderate.

President Václav Klaus of the Czech Republicnda, Low Memorial Library

This World Leaders Forum program features a keynote address by

—————

The big event:

welcome

unknown.jpeg

The world’s largest-ever gathering of global warming skeptics will assemble Sunday in New York City to confront the issue, “Global warming: Was it ever really a crisis?”

The complete program for the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, including cosponsor information and brief biographies of all speakers, can be downloaded in Adobe’s PDF format here.

About 800 scientists, economists, legislators, policy activists, and media representatives are expected to register at the second International Conference on Climate Change, opening Sunday, March 8 and concluding Tuesday, March 10 at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel.

Produced by The Heartland Institute and 57 co-sponsoring organizations, the conference is devoted to answering questions overlooked by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That panel concluded global temperatures may already have reached crisis proportions, and that human activity was a key driver in raising temperatures, primarily because of the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

But the 80 experts scheduled to speak at the Heartland conference say they will present a substantially different viewpoint.

“The number of people registered for this event is nearly twice as many as attended the 2008 conference,” noted Heartland President Joseph Bast. “And the presenters at this year’s conference are the elite in the world among climate scientists. We will be delighted to demonstrate once again the breadth and high quality of support that the skeptical perspective on climate change enjoys.”

Headliners among the 70-plus presenters will be:

  • Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic and of the European Union. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he declared, “Environmentalism and the global warming alarmism is challenging our freedom. I’m afraid that the current crisis will be misused for radically constraining the functioning of the markets and market economy all around the world.”
  • American astronaut Dr. Jack Schmitt–the last living man to walk on the moon–a geologist Ph.D. who has contended he has seen “too many of [my] colleagues lose grant funding when they haven’t gone along with the so-called political consensus that we’re in a human-caused global warming.”
  • William Gray, Colorado State University, who claims global warming alarmists have hijacked the American Meteorological Society.
  • Richard Lindzen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the world’s leading experts in dynamic meteorology, especially planetary waves.
  • Stephen McIntyre, primary author of Climate Audit, a blog devoted to the analysis and discussion of climate data. He is a devastating critic of the temperature record of the past 1,000 years, particularly the work of Michael E. Mann, creator of the infamous “hockey stick” graph. That graph–thoroughly discredited in scientific circles–supposedly proved that mankind is responsible for a sharp increase in greenhouse gases.
  • Arthur Robinson, curator of a global warming petition signed by more than 32,000 American scientists, including more than 10,000 with doctorate degrees, rejecting the alarmist assertion that global warming has put the Earth in crisis and is caused primarily by mankind.
  • Willie Soon, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
  • Roy Spencer, University of Alabama at Huntsville, principal research scientist and team leader on NASA’s Aqua satellite.
  • Don Easterbrook, professor of geology at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, who will present new data showing “the most recent global warming that began in 1977 is over, and the Earth has entered a new phase of global cooling.”

The Heartland Institute, a 25-year-old national nonpartisan think-tank based in Chicago, said all of the event’s expenses will be covered by admission fees and individual and foundation donors to Heartland. No corporate dollars or sponsorships earmarked for the event were solicited or accepted.

Co-sponsors do not pay any fee or donation to Heartland to be a co-sponsor. Heartland hasn’t received funding from either the Koch or Scaife foundations in at least a decade.

Click here for the full proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change — including audio and video for more than 100 speakers.

program

last updated: March 5, 2009

Where and When

The 2009 International Conference on Climate Change will take place in New York City on March 8-10, 2009 (Sunday – Tuesday), at the Marriott New York Marquis Times Square Hotel, 1535 Broadway, New York, NY.

There will be four tracks of panel discussions:

1. Paleoclimatology
2. Climatology
3. Impact of Climate Change
4. Economics and Politics

The complete program, including cosponsor information and brief biographies of all speakers, can be downloaded in Adobe’s PDF format here.

The tentative schedule appears below.

Sunday, March 8
3:00 – 8:00 pm
Registration
3:00 – 7:00 pm
Exhibit hall open
5:00 – 6:30 pm
Registration and reception
6:30 – 9:30 pm
Opening dinner with keynote speakers
Hon. Vaclav Klaus – No Progress in the Climate Change Debate
Richard Lindzen – Climate Alarm: What We Are Up Against, and What to Do
9:30 – 10:30 pm
Networking and reception
Monday, March 9
7:00 am – 5:00 pm
Exhibit hall open
7:30 – 8:30 am
Breakfast with keynote speakers
Hon. Tom McClintock – Inconvenient Questions
Lawrence Solomon – Our Green Friends
8:30 – 8:45 am
Break
8:45 – 10:15 am
Session I
Track 1: Paleoclimatology
Tom Segalstad – Carbon Isotope Mass Balance Modeling of Atmospheric vs. Oceanic CO2
Syun Akasofu – Natural Causes of 20th Century Warming: Recovery from the Little Ice Age and Oscillatory Change
David Evans – Carbon Dioxide Not Responsible for 20th Century Warming
Track 2: Climatology – Serious Problems with IPCC Forecasting Procedures
J. Scott Armstrong – A Forecaster’s View of Climate Change: Methodology Also Counts
Kesten Green – Validity of Climate Change Forecasting for Public Policy Decision Making
Terry Dunleavy- ‘Consensus’ in Climate Science: An Unsubstantiated Urban Myth
Track 3: Climate Change Impacts
Alexandre Aguiar – Dubious Connections between Global Warming and Extreme Weather Events
Craig Idso – Carbon Dioxide, Global Warming, and Coral Reefs: Prospects for the Future
David Legates – Climate Change and Extreme Events: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
Track 4: Economics and Politics – The Economics of Energy Rationing
Marlo Lewis – Economic Train Wreck: Regulation CO2 Emissions Under the Clean Air Act
Ross McKitrick – Calling the Cap-and-Trade Bluff
David Kreutzer – Modeling Results on the Effects of Cap and Trade
10:15 – 10:30 am
Break
10:30 – 11:00 am
Book-signing in the Exhibit Hall: Robert L. Bradley, Jr.
10:30 am – 12:00 noon
Session II
Track 1: Paleoclimatology
Fred Goldberg – Do the Planets and the Sun Control Our Climate and the CO2 in the Atmosphere?
Craig Loehle – 1,500-Year Climate Cycles, Broken Hockey Sticks, and Ocean Cooling
Tim Patterson – Gleissberg Cycle: Pacemaker for the Pacific Decadal Oscillation?
Track 2: Climatology
William Kininmonth – A Natural Limit to Anthropogenic Global Warming
Brian Valentine – Proposed Experimental Methods to Measure the Downward Directed Component of Radiation from CO2 in the Night Sky
Jan Veizer – Climate, Water, Carbon Dioxide, and the Sun
Track 3: Climate Change Impacts – Exposing the Myths Regarding Global Warming and Human Health
John Dale Dunn – Human Health Effects of Warming and Cooling
Joel Schwartz – Climate Chnage and Human Health: A California Perspective
Howard Maccabee
Track 4: Economics and Politics – The Political Outlook for Energy-Rationing Policies
Marc Morano – Prospects for Cap-and-Trade Legislation in the New Congress
Chris Horner – Re-Writing the Rules for Kyoto II: Turning a Treaty into a Congressional-Executive Agreement
Myron Ebell – Prospects for Energy Rationing: It’s Not as Grim as it Looks
12:00 noon – 2:00 pm
Lunch and keynote speakers
Hon. Harrison Schmitt – Climate Facts that Really Are Facts
Art Robinson – Nobel Prize for Death
2:00 – 2:15 pm
Break
2:15 – 2:45 pm
Book-signing in the Exhibit Hall: Christopher C. Horner
2:15 – 2:45 pm
Book-signing in the Exhibit Hall: Iain Murray
2:15 – 3:45 pm
Session III
Track 1: Paleoclimatology
Dennis Avery – Predicting 21st Century Global Warming with the 1,500-year Climate Cycle
Joe D’Aleo – Data Integrity Issues, Natural Variability, and Climate Change
Track 2: Climatology
Patrick Michaels – EPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
William Cotton – Weather and Climate Engineering
Anthony Lupo – Inter-annual Temperature Variations
Track 3: Climate Change Impacts
Indur Goklany – Climate Change Impacts
Paul Reiter – The EDEN Project: Emerging Diseases in a Changing European Environment
Stanley Goldenberg – Is There a Link between Global Warming and Hurricane Activity?
Track 4: Economics and Politics – The Morality of Energy Rationing
Barun Mitra -The Three E’s of Energy: Ethics, Economics, and Efficiency
Cal Beisner – Remember the Poor: A Christian Perspective on Energy Rationing
Roy Innis – Congress of Racial Equality
3:45 – 4:00 pm
Break
4:00 – 4:30 pm
Book-signing in the Exhibit Hall: Patrick J. Michaels
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Session IV
Track 1: Climatology
Richard Keen – Volcanoes and Climate Change Since 1980: A View from the Moon
David Douglass – The Models Still Do Not Agree with the Observations
Nir Shaviv – New Solar-Climate Link and Implications for Our Understanding of Climate Change
Track 2: Climatology
Anthony Watts – Weather Station Siting Issues within the USHCN Surface Station Network
Steve McIntyre – Do We Know that the 1990s Were the Warmest Decade of the Millennium?
James J. O’Brien – The Truth about Climate Change in the Southeast United States
Track 3: Economics and Politics – The Kyoto Zone
Roger Helmer – The EU Parliament
Benny Peiser – The Crisis of EU Climate Policy
Gabriel Calzada – Spain’s New Economy: Boom and Bust of the Spanish Renewable Miracle
Track 4: Economics and Politics
Kenneth P. Green – A Green Economy, or a Tide of Red Ink?
Bob Ferguson – State Climate Policies: Arkansas as Profile
Tom Tanton – Are California’s Global Warming Policies a Model for the Nation?
5:30 pm
Dinner on your own
8:00 – 11:00 pm
Dessert reception
8:30 – 9:00 pm
Book-signing in the Exhibit Hall: Richard A. Keen
Tuesday, March 10
7:00 am – 3:00 pm
Exhibit hall open
7:00 – 8:30 am
Breakfast with keynote speakers
John Sununu – The Politics of Science: It Ain’t Pretty
Willie Soon – Disconnects in Sun-Climate Studies: Removing Politics from the Science
8:30 – 8:45 am
Break
8:45 – 10:15 am
Session V
Track 1: Climatology
S. Fred Singer: No Evidence for AGW: A Personal Odyssey
Christopher Essex – Climate Change and the Laughter of the Gods
Piers Corbyn – What Does and Does Not Cause Climate Change
Track 2: Climatology
George Taylor – The Pacific Decadal Oscillation: A Dominant Mode of Climate Variability
Roy Spencer – Satellite Evidence for Global Warming Being Driven by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation
William Gray – Climate Change Is Primarily Driven by Salinity-Induced Deep Ocean Circulation Changes
Track 3: Climate Change Impacts
Laurence Gould – Global Warming Alarmism: Checking the Claims, Exposing the Methods
Howard Hayden – Debunking Global Warming Propaganda
Keith Lockitch – Green Energy: How to Undermine Industrial Civilization and Become More Vulnerable to Nature
Track 4: Economics and Politics – Intellectual Roots of Alarmism
Christopher Booker – From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares Are Costing Us the Earth
Iain Murray – Tracing Alarmism’s Methods Back to Their Roots
Yaron Brook – Environmentalism: A Philosophy of Sacrifice
10:15 – 10:30 am
Break
10:30 – 11:00 am
Book-signing in the Exhibit Hall: Christopher Booker
10:30 am – 12:00 noon
Session VI
Track 1: Climatology
Don Easterbrook – ‘Global Warming’ Is Over: Geologic, Oceanographic, and Solar Evidence for Global Cooling in the Coming Decades
Mike Jungbauer – Global Warming Science and Policymakers
Track 2: Climatology – Findings of the Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change
Fred Singer
Richard Lindzen
Christopher Monckton
David Douglass
Christopher Essex
Track 3: Economics and Politics
Michelle Foss – Climate Science and Economics: Understanding and Balacing the Debate
Francisco Capella – Climate Change and the Ethics of Freedom
Jay Lehr – Green Energy Job Losses
Track 4: Economics and Politics – The Alarmists Revealed
Rob Bradley – The Malthusian Virus in the Scientific Debate
Joanne Nova – The Great Global Fawning: How Science Journalists Pay Homage to Non-Science and Un-Reason
John Coleman – Dead Wrong about Global Warming: How Al Gore Got that Way
12:00 noon – 3:00 pm
Lunch and keynote speakers
Bob Carter – The Problem is NATURAL Climate Change, Stupid!
John Theon – Is Climate Change Driven by Mankind: My Personal Journey
Christopher Monckton – Magna est veritas, et praevalet (Great Is Truth, and Mighty Above All Things)

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registration


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SPECIAL OFFER for signers of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine’s Global Warming Petition! If you have signed the Global Warming Petition, you qualify for a 20 percent discount off the registration fees described below. To apply, call Events Manager Nikki Comerford at 312/377-4000. Please note we will confirm with OISM that you have legitimately signed the petition, and we reserve the right to reject discounted registrations from persons who have not signed.


The complete program for the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, including cosponsor information and brief biographies of all speakers, can be downloaded in Adobe’s PDF format here.


Online registration: Pay in U.S. dollars

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To register by phone, have a credit card ready and call Ms. McElrath at 312/377-4000. To register by mail, download the form and mail it with check or credit card information to: 2009 ICCC, The Heartland Institute, 19 South LaSalle Street #903, Chicago, Illinois 60603, USA.

Full Delegate
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Full delegates, media, and students receive:

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Panels Only registrants receive all the benefits above except the five meals.

Elected officials: Free admission and travel and hotel scholarships are available to elected officials. Please direct inquiries to Brian Costin, assistant government relations director, at bcostin@heartland.org.

Journalists: Free admission is available to qualified journalists. Please direct inquiries to Tammy Nash, media relations manager, at tnash@heartland.org.

Online registrants will receive immediate confirmation via email. If registering by written form, confirmation will be emailed (if address provided) within 72 hours of receipt. Registrations cancelled prior to 5:00 pm (CST) on February 16, 2009 are subject to a $100 cancellation fee. Registrations are non-refundable after 5:00 pm (CST) on February 16, 2009.


For more information, contact Nikki Comerford, events director at The Heartland Institute, at ncomerford@
 
heartland.org, or call 312/377-4000.

=================———————————–

Vaclav Klaus, President of The Czech Republic, Sets The Timing For The Heartland Institute’s New York Climate Change Conference, He May Yet Become, Personaly, A Serious Impediment On The Road To Copenhagen.

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 9th, 2008

by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

We were surprised to learn that the current President of The Czech Republic, Mr. Vaclav Klaus, will be the 7 a.m. speaker at the final Breakfast meeting of the Heartland Institute’s Climate Change Skeptics’ meeting, in New York City, Tuesday, March 4, 2008.We knew that in September 2007, at the Climate Change meeting called by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Czech President was the only Head of State to criticize the UN for its approach on climate change.

Now this is something that should worry us. The Czech Republic will hold onto the EU Presidency for the January 1. 2009 to the June 30, 2009 period. And this is right in between the 2008 COP 14 of the UNFCCC in Poznan and the COP 15 of the UNFCCC in Copenhagen. We already expressed our worries last week after the release of information about Czech opposition to some of the most important climate change fighting measures envisioned by the EU.

www.sustainabilitank.info/2008/03

Now, further, as after the present Slovenian EU Presidency, there comes the French Presidency, that ends on December 31, 2008 and covers thus the December Poznan meeting, that was supposed to prepare the material that will then move to the the December 2009 Copenhagen meeting.

We already wrote about the fact that the US Presidential elections occur in November 2008, so by December 2008 there will be a totally lame US Administration that will just tread time until the President-in-Waiting, or the President-Elect takes over. As Poznan is supposed to bring in to the negotiation circle the US – this simply is impossible because the President elect will not be able to have any meaningful role in these negotiations.

We suggested thus earlier that a solution could be the postponement of the Poznan meeting until March, at least. This because what we learned from the experience with the change of government in Australia – where the new Prime Minister came to Bali and managed real change, and speeded-up the process there.

But now we stand corrected – a Czech Presidency of the EU in March 2008 is now a guarantee for a non-performing EU.

So, we stand now corrected about the idea of postponing Poznan, while still being right about a projected non-performing Poznan. Obviously, except if President Bush does experience indeed a true change of heart on matters of oil, the National and Global Interest, and climate change.

After the Czechs, the EU Presidency passes to Sweden – which will be at the head of the EU delegation in Copenhagen – but having limped along till June 30, 2008, can the EU, the motor on climate change activities at the UN, be able to pull out in five months the agreed text that is needed in order to have a post-2012 roadmap on global activities to reduce CO2 emissions?

Let us hear what the Czech President said on the subject of climate change in previous fora:

7.9.2007 – At the Ambrosetti Forum,Villa d’Este, Italy. “Global Warming Hysteria or Freedom and Prosperity?”

One can tell – with a high degree of confidence – what topics are expected to be raised here, this morning when it comes to discussing the key challenges of today’s world. The selection of the moderator and my fellow-panelists only confirms it. I guess it is either international terrorism or poverty in Africa. Talking about both of these topics is necessary because they are real dangers but it is relatively easy to talk about them because it is politically correct. I do see those dangers and do not in any way underestimate them. I do, however, see another major threat which deserves our attention – and I am afraid it does not get sufficient attention because to discuss it is politically incorrect these days.

The threat I have in mind is the irrationality with which the world has accepted the climate change (or global warming) as a real danger to the future of mankind and the irrationality of suggested and partly already implemented measures because they will fatally endanger our freedom and prosperity, the two goals we consider – I do believe – our priorities.

We have to face many prejudices and misunderstandings in this respect. The climate change debate is basically not about science; it is about ideology. It is not about global temperature; it is about the concept of human society. It is not about nature or scientific ecology; it is about environmentalism, about one – recently born – dirigistic and collectivistic ideology, which goes against freedom and free markets.

I spent most of my life in a communist society which makes me particularly sensitive to the dangers, traps and pitfalls connected with it. Several points have to be clarified to make the discussion easier:

1. Contrary to the currently prevailing views promoted by global warming alarmists, Al Gore’s preaching, the IPCC, or the Stern Report, the increase in global temperatures in the last years, decades and centuries has been very small and because of its size practically negligible in its actual impact upon human beings and their activities. (The difference of temperatures between Prague where I was yesterday and Cernobbio where I am now is larger than the expected increase in global temperatures in the next century.)

2. As I said, the empirical evidence is not alarming. The arguments of global warming alarmists rely exclusively upon forecasts, not upon past experience. Their forecasts originate in experimental simulations of very complicated forecasting models that have not been found very reliable when explaining past developments.

3. It is, of course, not only about ideology. The problem has its important scientific aspect but it should be stressed that the scientific dispute about the causes of recent climate changes continues. The attempt to proclaim a scientific consensus on this issue is a tragic mistake, because there is none.

4. We are rational and responsible people and have to act when necessary. But we know that a rational response to any danger depends on the size and probability of the eventual risk and on the magnitude of the costs of its avoidance. As a responsible politician, as an academic economist, as an author of a book about the economics of climate change, I feel obliged to say that – based on our current knowledge – the risk is too small and the costs of eliminating it too high. The application of the so called “precautionary principle,” advocated by the environmentalists, is – conceptually – a wrong strategy.

5. The deindustrialization and similar restrictive policies will be of no help. Instead of blocking economic growth, the increase of wealth all over the world and fast technical progress – all connected with freedom and free markets – we should leave them to proceed unhampered. They represent the solution to any eventual climate changes, not their cause. We should promote adaptation, modernization, technical progress. We should trust in the rationality of free people.

6. It has a very important North-South and West-East dimension. The developed countries do not have the right to impose any additional burden on the less developed countries. Imposing overambitious and – for such countries – economically disastrous environmental standards on them is unfair.

No radical measures are necessary. We need something “quite normal.” We have to get rid of the one-sided monopoly, both in the field of climatology and in the public debate. We have to listen to arguments. We have to forget fashionable political correctness. We should provide the same or comparable financial backing to those scientists who do not accept the global warming alarmism.

I really do see environmentalism as a threat to our freedom and prosperity. I see it as “the world key current challenge.”

Václav Klaus, Ambrosetti Forum,Villa d’Este, Italy.

24.9.2007 – Notes for the speech of the President of the Czech Republic at the UN Climate Change Conference called for by the UNSG Ban Ki-moon ahead of the UNGA General Debate That Started The Following Day.

Distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

Responsible politicians know that they have to act when it is necessary. They know that their duty is to initiate public policy responses to issues that could pose a threat to the people of their countries. And they know that they have to form partnerships with colleagues from other countries when a problem cannot be confined to national boundaries. To help doing it is one of the main reasons for the existence of institutions such as the United Nations.

However, the politicians have to ensure that the costs of public policies organized by them will not be bigger than the benefits achieved. They have to carefully consider and seriously analyze their projects and initiatives. They have to do it, even if it may be unpopular and if it means blowing against the wind of fashion and political correctness. I congratulate Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on organizing this conference and thank him for giving us an opportunity to address the important, but one-sidedly debated issue of climate changes. The consequences of acknowledging them as a real, big, imminent and man-made threat would be so enormous that we are obliged to think twice before making decisions. I am afraid it is not the case now.

Let me raise several points to bring the issue into its proper context:

1. Contrary to the artificially and unjustifiably created world-wide perception, the increase in global temperatures has been – in the last years, decades and centuries – very small in historical comparisons and practically negligible in its actual impact upon human beings and their activities.

2. The hypothetical threat connected with future global warming depends exclusively upon very speculative forecasts, not upon undeniable past experience and its eventual trends and tendencies. These forecasts are based on relatively short time series of relevant variables and on forecasting models that have not been proved very reliable when attempting to explain past developments.

3. Contrary to many self-assured and self-serving proclamations, there is no scientific consensus about the causes of recent climate changes. An impartial observer must accept the fact that both sides of the dispute – the believers in man’s dominant role in recent climate changes, as well as the supporters of the hypothesis about their mostly natural origin – offer arguments strong enough to be listened to carefully by the non-scientific community. To prematurely proclaim the victory of one group over another would be a tragic mistake and I am afraid we are making it.

4. As a result of this scientific dispute, there are those who call for an imminent action and those who warn against it. Rational behavior depends – as always – on the size and probability of the risk and on the magnitude of the costs of its avoidance. As a responsible politician, as an economist, as an author of a book about the economics of climate change, with all available data and arguments in mind, I have to conclude that the risk is too small, the costs of eliminating it too high and the application of a fundamentalistically interpreted “precautionary principle” a wrong strategy.

5. The politicians – and I am not among them – who believe in the existence of a significant global warming and especially those who believe in its anthropogenic origin remain divided: some of them are in favor of mitigation, which means of controlling global climate changes (and are ready to put enormous amounts of resources into it), while others rely on adaptation to it, on modernization and technical progress, and especially on favorable impact of the future increase in wealth and welfare (and prefer spending public money there). The second option is less ambitious and promises much more than the first one.

6. The whole problem does not only have its time dimension, but a more than important spatial (or regional) aspect as well. This is highly relevant especially here, in the UN. Different levels of development, income and wealth in different places of the world make world-wide, overall, universal solutions costly, unfair and to a great extent discriminatory. The already developed countries do not have the right to impose any additional burden on the less developed countries. Dictating ambitious and for them entirely inappropriate environmental standards is wrong and should be excluded from the menu of recommended policy measures.

My recommendations are as follows:

1. The UN should organize two parallel IPCCs and publish two competing reports. To get rid of the one-sided monopoly is a sine qua non for an efficient and rational debate. Providing the same or comparable financial backing to both groups of scientists is a necessary starting point.

2. The countries should listen to one another, learn from mistakes and successes of others, but any country should be left alone to prepare its own plan to tackle this problem and decide what priority to assign to it among its other competing goals.

We should trust in the rationality of man and in the outcome of spontaneous evolution of human society, not in the virtues of political activism. Therefore, let’s vote for adaptation, not for the attempts to mastermind the global climate.

Václav Klaus, Climate Change Conference, United Nations, New York, September 24th, 2007

26.9.2007 – Statement by H.E. Mr. Václav KLAUS President of the Czech Republic at the General Debate of the 62nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to congratulate you on your election as President of the 62nd Session of the General Assembly. I also welcome the highly respected Secretary General at his first opening session of this Assembly.

I would like to start with saying that my country is proud to be one of the founding fathers of the United Nations in its current form. The Czech Republic, a successor state of Czechoslovakia, has been actively participating in all kinds of UN activities in the past and it will continue to do so in the future.

We take part not only in the work of the United Nations itself, but also of its specialized organizations and agencies such as UNESCO, UNDP, FAO, WHO, International Atomic Energy Agency, and many others. We have always supported any meaningful initiative, which leads to the increase of stability and prosperity of the world.

I am proud to confirm that the Czech Republic has the ambition to be elected to the Security Council as a non-permanent member in the period 2008-2009. I believe that we can be trusted by the majority of Member States and that we do deserve their votes.

We are convinced we have already demonstrated our devotion to freedom, democracy, international cooperation, economic development and respect for sovereignty of countries belonging to this community of nations. My country served in the Security Council in 1994 and 1995 when I was Prime Minister. We tried to do our best. We were predictable and committed to hard work. Now, as President of the Czech Republic I can assure you that we will do even a better job.

We have always recognized the principal responsibility of the UN Security Council for maintaining international peace and security. Since the 1990’s, the Czech Republic has contributed to more than 20 UN peace-keeping missions and UN mandated operations in the Balkans, Asia and Africa. We deeply believe in the prevention and non-violent resolution of disputes and conflicts. This can be proved by our own behavior – by the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1992. Over the last years, we have multiplied our official development assistance.

In the last 18 years, the Czech Republic has been undergoing a radical and dynamic development which was made possible by the fall of communism and by our rapid departure from that oppressive, inhuman and inefficient political, social and economic system. Our profound transformation strategy – based on the acceptance of political pluralism, parliamentary democracy and market economy – was successful.

A further important impetus to our development was our approaching the European Union and the entry into it three years ago. Today, the Czech Republic is a full-fledged member of the Union and will hold the EU Presidency in the first half of 2009. It might be of interest to this forum that the slogan of the Czech Presidency is “Europe without barriers”. This means both internal and external barriers of the Union. I fully support this concept as I strongly believe in the need of removing barriers that hinder economic progress, especially of developing countries.

Mr. Chairman, we consider the United Nations to be an extremely important and in fact irreplaceable platform. There is no substitute for it in the current world. It is a platform for meetings and consultations, for dialogue and – eventually – for reaching agreements on treaties among nations sharing the same or similar values and political stances.

This unique platform is based on the plurality of views of 192 Member States and on our mutual respect towards their, sometimes differing positions. The ambition of the UN is not, and should never be, searching for one obligatory, unitary view imposed by some of us on those who disagree.

I did not use the term platform by chance and without any purpose. By saying that, I implicitly object to the alternative concept, to the concept of global governance which is based on the indefensible idea that the world can be “globally governed”, masterminded, controlled, managed and/or even planned. To aspire to do that is something we can never accept. It is an ambition based on the “abuse of reason” and on the “pretence of knowledge”. Democracy is something else.

There are some among us who prefer the operational efficiency (or the ability to act) of this organization to the recognition of the existence of different views. They want to make decisions in an easier and faster way. Our communist past tells us that we should not do that. We also want the UN to be reasonably operational. But we categorically oppose that it happens at the expense of individual Member States. And we have to respect views of individual countries regardless of their size. It is crucial that every Member State has equal status and that its voice is not ignored.

We have to go forward. The UN needs changes. We do support the UN reform because this organization should reflect the current situation in the world more than the situation of the era when the UN was founded. Some changes are inevitable and we should discuss them seriously.

To our great regret, we are – in the current world – witnessing many cases of the lack of freedom and democracy. Our task for the future is to minimize them. I do not see and hear the terms freedom and democracy here and elsewhere as much or as often as they deserve. We hear other words more frequently – aid, government initiatives and interventions, social justice, positive rights, environment, resources, climate, solving of problems, facing the threats, global challenges, etc.

Here we have to be very careful. We should support meaningful activities, not programs which in effect put constrains on local development. We should use natural resources efficiently and protect the environment but not in a way that restricts human activity and harms economic development. We would help global development more by reducing barriers than by providing more conditional aid. Reduction of protectionism and lowering of export subsidies is a far more efficient way for helping developing countries than anything else. We should not allow that developing countries are prevented from their own economic growth by additional burdens imposed upon them they will not be able to bear.

At the Conference on Climate Change the day before yesterday, I resolutely warned against the unjustified alarmism of global warming activists and their fellow-travelers in some governments and international organizations, but even this potential problem, as well as any other, can never be solved without relying on freedom, free markets, free trade and other attributes of free society.

To preserve environment is very important but we have to be more modest in our attempting to control the complexities of the world.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished colleagues, let’s use the potential of this organization as much as possible. Let’s cooperate, let’s listen to each other, let’s negotiate to the last possible moment, let’s try to understand the others. The Czech Republic tries to follow those rules.

Václav Klaus, UN, New York, September 26, 2007

28.9.2007 – at the Council for National Policy Conference, Salt Lake City.
“What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?”

Thank you very much for the invitation to this important gathering. Thank you for giving me a chance to address this very distinguished audience.

I have to start on a personal note. This is not my first visit of Salt Lake City. I spent here two hours in one beautiful spring morning in May, 1969. After studying during the spring term at Cornell University I boarded a Greyhound bus and spent 20 days traveling across the United States. I was here in jeans and with long hair. I had breakfast here somewhere, walked around, visited the temple and boarded the bus again with the next stop Reno.

I did not expect to come here again and especially in the position I hold now. It was in the dark communist days. It was at the end of the short but promising era of the Czechoslovak Prague Spring and it was my first and at the same time last visit to your beautiful country for the next 20 years. The collapse of communism in November 1989 changed everything. Freedom and democracy which followed as a result of our radical systemic change made us a totally different country, free and prosperous, member of the European Union and NATO, and a good friend and close ally of the United States of America.

I used the term “communism collapsed” not without purpose. I know that there are – both here and elsewhere – many people who claim that they defeated communism. As an integral part and active player of that process, I would dare to argue that communism melted down and would add that the meltdown was accelerated by the strong stances of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher who refused to compromise with the Soviet Union. What helped us was their policies, not the soft, so called peace-policy of our West European neighbors.

I have had tens, if not hundreds of speeches in your country after that. At the beginning, my topics were communism and how to get rid of its legacy. The transition from communism to a free society is over, and not only in my country. One may have reservations about developments in some of the former communist countries but I strongly disagree with attempts to look at those countries with a misleading optics of fighting communism there now. To trivialize the multifaceted and multidimensional post-communist transition in such a way is a serious fallacy.

My second topic, if not obsession, used to be (and still is) Europe and the European Union, something not sufficiently understood here. After almost half a century of communism the Czech Republic wanted to be again a normal European country, which means – these days – to be a member of the European Union.

This is what we accepted and both our gradual approaching the EU during the first fifteen years after the fall of communism and our entry into it three years ago represented an integral part of our radical political, social and economic transformation. Nevertheless, our communist experience made us sensitive to all kinds, forms, manifestations and aspects of the suppression of freedom and democracy in the name of allegedly “higher” goals and due to it we find that the EU unification project itself – an almost holy and sacred goal which explains, justifies and excuses everything – not only a blessing. The currently politically correct approach, I call Europeism, does not see it and tries to create a brave new world without nations, without borders, without politics, without a “demos” (which means without authentic citizens) and – as a result of it – without democracy. I see it as a big problem.

Today, I intend to discuss another “high and holy” issue. I want to speak about supposed devastating climate changes, about consequences of global warming and about our responses and reactions to them. Some people try – consciously or subconsciously – caricature people like me and accuse those of us, who dare to speak about it differently than is now politically correct, of talking about things we do not understand and are not experts on. They are wrong. People like me do not try to enter the field of climatology, do not try to better measure global temperature, and do not try to suggest alternative scenarios of the future global climate fluctuations (based on different, but equally speculative and unreliable forecasting models). In my argumentation I don’t talk about climatology but about environmentalism, about an ideology which puts nature and environment and their supposed protection and preservation before and above freedom.

It may sound surprisingly but I have the feeling that I have not changed the subject of my talks in the last 18 years. Talking about communism, talking about Europeism and talking about environmentalism is more or less, structurally, similar if not identical. The issue is always freedom and its enemies. Those of us who feel very strongly about it can never accept

– the irrationality with which the current world has embraced the climate change (or global warming) as the main threat to the future of mankind, as well as

– the irrationality of proposed and partly already implemented public initiatives because they will fatally endanger our freedom and prosperity, the two goals we consider – I do believe – our priorities.

After spending the whole day at the UN Climate Change Conference on Monday and two following days at the General Assembly I know what I am talking about.

The problem is that we are confronted with many prejudices, misunderstandings and now already also vested interests. As I said, the climate change debate is basically not about science; it is about ideology. It is not about global temperature; it is about the concept of human society. It is not about scientific ecology; it is about environmentalism.

I would summarize my position on these issues in the following way:

1. Contrary to the currently prevailing views – promoted by global warming alarmists, Al Gore’s preaching, the IPCC, or the Stern Report – the increase in global temperatures in the last years, decades and centuries has been very small and because of its size practically negligible in its actual impact upon human beings and their activities. (The today’s difference of temperature between Prague and Salt Lake City is almost 30 degrees Fahrenheit, which is much more than even Al Gore promises as regards the whole next century temperature increase.)

2. The available empirical evidence is not alarming. The arguments of global warming alarmists rely exclusively upon very speculative forecasts, not upon past experience. Their forecasts are based on experimental simulations of very large forecasting models that have not been found very reliable when explaining past developments.

3. The whole debate is, of course, not only about ideology. The problem has its important scientific aspect but it should be stressed that the scientific dispute about the causes of recent climate changes continues. The attempt to proclaim a scientific consensus on this issue is a tragic mistake, because there is none.

4. We are rational and responsible people and know that we have to act when necessary. But we should know that a rational response to any danger depends on the size and probability of the eventual risk and on the magnitude of the costs of its avoidance. As a responsible politician, as an academic economist, as an author of a book about the economics of climate change, I feel obliged to say that – based on our current knowledge – the risk is too small and the costs of eliminating it too high. The application of the so called “precautionary principle,” advocated by the environmentalists, is – conceptually – a wrong strategy.

5. The deindustrialization and similar restrictive policies will be of no help. Instead of blocking economic growth, the increase of wealth all over the world and fast technical progress – all connected with freedom and free markets – we should leave them to proceed unhampered. Economic growth, increase of wealth and technical progress represent the solution to the consequences of eventual climate changes, not their cause. We should promote adaptation, modernization, technical progress. We should trust in the rationality of free people.

6. This issue has a very important North-South and West-East dimension. The developed countries do not have the right to impose any additional burden on the less developed countries. Imposing overambitious and – for such countries – economically disastrous environmental standards on them is unfair and discriminatory.

No radical measures are necessary. Famous Czech writer of the early 20th century Jaroslav Ha?ek, whose book “The Good Soldier Schweik” is known world-wide, made a good point saying: “To chce klid”. The Americans would probably say “Take it easy” or “Let’s be cool” or “Calm down!”. What the world needs now is to remain “quite normal”. It requires, however, to get rid of the one-sided monopoly, both in the field of climatology and in the public debate. We have to listen to arguments. We have to forget the destructive, but currently so fashionable dictate (if not tyrany) of political correctness. We should provide the same or comparable financial backing to those scientists who do not accept the global warming alarmism.

When I spoke at the UN conference on climate change on Monday morning, I concluded my speech by saying: “We should trust in the rationality of man and in the outcome of spontaneous evolution of human society, not in the virtues of political activism. Therefore, let’s vote for adaptation, not for attempts to mastermind the global climate.” There is nothing to add to it. Especially to this audience.

Václav Klaus, Council for National Policy Conference, Salt Lake City, September 28, 2007

7.11.2007 – At the Chatham House, London . “The Other Side of Global Warming Alarmism.”

Thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to address this distinguished audience. I would like to start by stressing how glad I am to be for the first time in the well-known Chatham House which has been the place of so many important talks and discussions in the whole 87 years of its existence.

My speeches here in London have been in the past years connected with two topics. The first one was the end of communism and our way of getting rid of its legacy. The second one was the European integration.

The transition from communism to a free society is over, and not only in my country. We may have reservations about developments in some of the former communist countries but I disagree with the attempts to look at those countries with a misleading optics of fighting communism there even now. It is a mistake and I am afraid a slightly snobbish position as well.

My second topic here used to be Europe and the European Union. Whereas the first issue is more or less closed because communism is over, the second issue is here with us. It has not faded away. On the contrary, with treaty after treaty, with summit after summit, the danger of creating a brave new world of a post-democratic European supranationalist entity is getting more and more acute.

After almost half a century of communism the Czech Republic had a strong desire to be a normal European country again. We understood and accepted that it requires – these days – to become a member of the European Union. Nevertheless, due to our experience with the suppression of freedom and democracy in the name of allegedly “higher” goals, we consider the current European unification project itself – again an almost holy and sacred goal which explains, justifies and excuses everything – not only a blessing.

The recent embracement of the so-called Reform Treaty, which is in all important aspects identical with the old Constitutional Treaty, is a defeat for all true European democrats and should be interpreted as such. The down-playing of its true essence is intellectually unacceptable and morally inexcusable.

Nevertheless, there is another threat on the horizon. I see this threat in environmentalism which is becoming a new dominant ideology, if not a religion. Its main weapon is raising the alarm and predicting the human life endangering climate change based on man-made global warming. The recent awarding of Nobel Prize to the main apostle of this hypothesis was the last straw because by this these ideas were elevated to the pedestal of “holy and sacred” uncriticisable truths.

It became politically correct to caricature us, who dare to speak about it, as those who are talking about things they do not understand and are not experts on. This criticism is inappropriate. People like me do not have ambitions to enter the field of climatology. They do not try to better measure global temperature or to present alternative scenarios of the future global climate fluctuations.

They need not do it because the climate change debate is basically not about science; it is about ideology. It is not about global temperature; it is about the concept of human society. It is not about scientific ecology; it is about environmentalism, which is a new anti-individualistic, pseudo-collectivistic ideology based on putting nature and environment and their supposed protection and preservation before and above freedom. That’s one of the reasons why my recently published book on this topic has a subtitle: “What is Endangered, Climate or Freedom?”.

When we look at it in a proper historical perspective, the issue is – once again – freedom and its enemies. Those of us who feel very strongly about it can never accept

– the irrationality with which the current world has embraced the climate change (or global warming) as a real danger to the future of mankind, as well as

– the irrationality of proposed and partly already implemented etatist and dirigistic measures because they will fatally endanger our freedom and prosperity, the two goals we consider – I do believe – our priorities.

My position can be summarized in the following way:

1. Contrary to the currently prevailing views – promoted by global warming alarmists, by Al Gore’s preaching, by the IPCC, or by the Stern Report – the increase in global temperatures in the last years, decades and centuries has been very small and because of its size practically negligible in its actual impact upon human beings and their activities. For most of the Earth’s history (95% of it), the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. In addition to it, using history again, it has been proved that the consequences of modest warming have been mostly positive, not negative.

2. The arguments of global warming alarmists rely exclusively upon very speculative forecasts, not upon serious analysis and extrapolation of past trends or upon undeniable conclusions of natural sciences. The available empirical evidence is not alarming. The highly publicized forecasts made by some leading environmentalists are based on experimental simulations of very complicated forecasting models that have not been found very reliable when explaining past developments. They were mostly done by software engineers, not by scientists themselves.

3. The debate has its important scientific side connected with the dispute whether the current mild warming is man-made or natural. Let’s listen to the scientists but one thing is and becomes evident more and more: the scientific dispute about the causes of recent climate changes continues. The attempts to proclaim a scientific consensus are self-debilitating. There is none. More and more scientists, on the contrary, dare to speak out about it.

4. The issue has an important economic aspect which requires the application of a standard cost-benefit analysis. A rational response to any danger depends on the size and probability of the eventual risk and on the magnitude of the costs of its avoidance. I feel obliged to say that – based on my knowledge – I find the risk too small and the costs of eliminating it too high. The application of the so-called “precautionary principle,” advocated by the environmentalists, is – conceptually – a wrong strategy, because human civilization cannot exist in a regime of the precautionary principle.

5. The deindustrialization and similar restrictive policies will be of no help. Instead of blocking economic growth, the increase of wealth all over the world and fast technical progress – all connected with freedom and free markets – we should leave them to proceed unhampered. They represent the solution to any eventual climate changes, not their cause. We should trust in the rationality of men. We should never forget that the government failure is always much bigger than the market failure. We should not believe more in Al Gore than in the omnipotence of the Soviet or Czechoslovak central planners. Fifty- or hundred-year plans of the current environmentalists will not be any better than the five-year plans which liquidated the economic freedom (and the economic efficiency connected with it) in the centrally planned economies of the past.

6. The global warming issue has a very important North-South and West-East aspect as well. Environmental quality is a luxury good and demand for it increases with income and wealth. The developed countries had to go along the path of the environmental Kuznets curve in the past and do not have any right to prematurely impose their current overambitious environmental standards upon less developed countries, because that would lead to an economic disaster there.

The only conclusion is that no radical measures are necessary. Famous Czech writer of the early 20th century Jaroslav Ha?ek, whose book “The Good Soldier Schweik” is known world-wide, made a point with saying: “To chce klid”. The Englishmen would probably say “Take it easy”.

I lived most of my life in an oppressive and very unproductive political, economic and social system called communism. It was impossible to “take it easy”. Now I live in a system based on the ideology of Europeism which prefers supranational institutions with their post-democracy to the good old democratic institutions in a well-defined constitutional sovereign state. It is difficult to “take it easy” again. And we are moving – very rapidly – to the era of environmentalism in which environment (or perhaps the irrational claims of environmentalists) is placed ahead of men and their freedom. We can take the global climate changes easy, but the climate propaganda and new wave of dangerous indoctrination of the whole world not.

Václav Klaus, Chatham House, London, 7 November 2007

4.3.2008 – Notes for the speech at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, New York, March 4, 2008 – that is the Heartland Institute’s New York event – the subject, the speech, and the timing that got us involved.

“From Climate Alarmism to Climate Realism.”

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen,

I would like first of all to thank the organizers of this important conference for making it possible and also for inviting one politically incorrect politician from Central Europe to come and speak here. This meeting will undoubtedly make a significant contribution to the moving away from the irrational climate alarmism to the much needed climate realism.

I know it is difficult to say anything interesting after two days of speeches and discussions here. If I am not wrong, I am the only speaker from a former communist country and I have to use this as a comparative – paradoxically – advantage.

Each one of us has his or her experiences, prejudices and preferences. The ones that I have are – quite inevitably – connected with the fact that I have spent most of my life under the communist regime. A week ago, I gave a speech at an official gathering at the Prague Castle commemorating the 60th anniversary of the 1948 communist putsch in the former Czechoslovakia. One of the arguments of my speech there, quoted in all the leading newspapers in the country the next morning, went as follows: “Future dangers will not come from the same source. The ideology will be different. Its essence will, nevertheless, be identical – the attractive, pathetic, at first sight noble idea that transcends the individual in the name of the common good, and the enormous self-confidence on the side of its proponents about their right to sacrifice the man and his freedom in order to make this idea reality.” What I had in mind was, of course, environmentalism and its currently strongest version, climate alarmism.

This fear of mine is the driving force behind my active involvement in the Climate Change Debate and behind my being the only head of state who in September 2007 at the UN Climate Change Conference, only a few blocks away from here, openly and explicitly challenged the current global warming hysteria. My central argument was – in a condensed form – formulated in the subtitle of my recently published book devoted to this topic which asks: “What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?” My answer is clear and resolute: “it is our freedom.” I may also add “and our prosperity.”

What frustrates me is the feeling that everything has already been said and published, that all rational arguments have been used, yet it still does not help. Global warming alarmism is marching on. We have to therefore concentrate (here and elsewhere) not only on adding new arguments to the already existing ones, but also on the winning of additional supporters of our views. The insurmountable problem as I see it lies in the political populism of its exponents and in their unwillingness to listen to arguments. They – in spite of their public roles – maximize their own private utility function where utility is not any public good but their own private good – power, prestige, carrier, income, etc. It is difficult to motivate them differently. The only way out is to make the domain of their power over our lives much more limited. But this will be a different discussion.

We have to repeatedly deal with the simple questions that have been many times discussed here and elsewhere:

1) Is there a statistically significant global warming?

2) If so, is it man-made?

3) If we decide to stop it, is there anything a man can do about it?

4) Should an eventual moderate temperature increase bother us?

We have our answers to these questions and are fortunate to have many well-known and respected experts here who have made important contributions in answering them. Yet, I am not sure this is enough. People tend to blindly believe in the IPCC’s conclusions (especially in the easier to understand formulations presented in the “Summaries for Policymakers”) despite the fact that from the very beginning, the IPCC has been a political rather than a scientific undertaking.

Many politicians, media commentators, public intellectuals, bureaucrats in more and more influential international organizations not only accept them but use them without qualifications which exist even in the IPCC documents. There are sometimes unexpected and for me unexplainable believers in these views. Few days ago, I have come across a lecture given by a very respected German economist (H. W. Sinn, “Global Warming: The Neglected Supply Side, in: The EEAG Report, CESifo, Munich, 2008) who is in his other writings very critical of the German interventionist economic policies and etatist institutions. His acceptance of the “conventional IPCC wisdom” (perhaps unwisdom) is striking. His words:

– “the scientific evidence is overwhelming”;

– “the facts are undeniable”;

– “the temperature is extremely sensitive to even small variations in greenhouse gas concentration”;

– “if greenhouse gases were absent from the atmosphere, average temperature of the Earth’s surface would be -6 °C. With the greenhouse gases, the present average temperature is +15 °C. Therefore, the impact of CO2 is enormous”;

– he was even surprised that “in spite of all the measures taken, emissions have accelerated in recent years. This poses a puzzle for economic theory!” he said.

To make it less of a puzzle, let me make two brief comments.

As an economist, I have to start by stressing the obvious. Carbon dioxide emissions do not fall from heaven. Their volume (ECO2) is a function of GDP per capita (which means of the size of economic activity, SEA), of the number of people (POP) and of the emissions intensity (EI), which is the amount of CO2 emissions per dollar of GDP. This is usually expressed in a simple relationship which is, of course, a tautological identity:

ECO2= EI x SEA x POP

but with some assumption about causality it can be turned into a structural equation. What this relationship tells is simple: If we really want to decrease ECO2 (which most of us assembled here today probably do not consider necessary), we have to either stop the economic growth and thus block further rise in the standard of living, or stop the population growth, or make miracles with the emissions intensity.

I am afraid there are people who want to stop the economic growth, the rise in the standard of living (though not their own) and the ability of man to use the expanding wealth, science and technology for solving the actual pressing problems of mankind, especially of the developing countries. This ambition goes very much against the past human experience which has always been connected with a strong motivation to go ahead and to better human conditions. There is no reason to make the, from above orchestrated, change just now – especially with arguments based on such an incomplete and faulty science as is demonstrated by the IPCC. Human wants are unlimited and should stay so. Asceticism is a respectable individual attitude but should not be forcefully imposed upon the rest of us.

I am also afraid that the same people, imprisoned in the Malthusian tenets and in their own megalomaniac ambitions, want to regulate and constrain the demographic development, which is something only the totalitarian regimes have until now dared to think about or experiment with. Without resisting it we would find ourselves on the slippery “road to serfdom.” The freedom to have children without regulation and control is one of the undisputable human rights and we have to say very loudly that we do respect it and will do so in the future as well.

There are people among the global warming alarmists who would protest against being included in any of these categories, but who do call for a radical decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. It can be achieved only by means of a radical decline in the emissions intensity. This is surprising because we probably believe in technical progress more than our opponents. We know, however, that such revolutions in economic efficiency (and emissions intensity is part of it) have never been realized in the past and will not happen in the future either. To expect anything like that is a non-serious speculation.

I recently looked at the European CO2 emissions data covering the period 1990-2005, which means the Kyoto Protocol era. My conclusion is that in spite of many opposite statements the very robust relationship between CO2 emissions and the rate of economic growth can’t be disputed, at least in a relevant and meaningful time horizon. You don’t need huge computer models to very easily distinguish three different types of countries in Europe:

– the EU less developed countries – Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain – which during this very period tried to catch up with the economic performance of the more developed EU countries. Their rapid economic growth led to the increase of their CO2 emissions in 15 years (in which they signed Kyoto) by 53%;

– the European post-communist countries which after the fall of communism went through a fundamental, voluntarily unorganizable transformation shake-out and an inevitable radical economic restructuring with the heavy industry disappearing (not stagnating or retreating) practically over night. Their GDP drastically declined. These countries decreased their CO2 emissions in the same period by 32%;

– the “normal” EU, slow-growing if not stagnating countries (excluding Germany where it’s difficult to eliminate the impact of the fact that the East German economy almost ceased to exist in that period) increased their CO2 emissions by 4%.

The huge differences in these three figures – +53%, -32% and +4% – are almost fascinating.

And yet, there is a dream among European politicians to reduce CO2 emissions for the entire EU by 30 per cent in the next 13 years (compared to the 1990 level). What does it mean? Do they assume that all countries would undergo a similar economic shock as was experienced by the Central and Eastern European countries after the fall of communism? Now in the whole of Europe? Do they assume that European economically weaker countries would stop their catching-up process? Or do they intend to organize a decrease in the number of people living in Europe? Or do they expect a miracle in the development of the emissions/GDP ratio, which would require a technological revolution of unheard-of proportions? With the help of a – from Brussels organized – scientific and technological revolution?

What I see in Europe (and in the U.S. and other countries as well) is a powerful combination of irresponsibility, of wishful thinking, of implicit believing in some form of Malthusianism, of cynical approach of those who themselves are sufficiently well-off, together with the strong belief in the possibility of changing the economic nature of things through a radical political project.

This brings me to politics. As a politician who personally experienced communist central planning of all kinds of human activities, I feel obliged to bring back the already almost forgotten arguments used in the famous plan-versus-market debate in the 1930s in economic theory (between Mises and Hayek on the one side and Lange and Lerner on the other), the arguments we had been using for decades – till the moment of the fall of communism. Then they were quickly forgotten. The innocence with which climate alarmists and their fellow-travelers in politics and media now present and justify their ambitions to mastermind human society belongs to the same “fatal conceit.” To my great despair, this is not sufficiently challenged neither in the field of social sciences, nor in the field of climatology. Especially the social sciences are suspiciously silent.

The climate alarmists believe in their own omnipotency, in knowing better than millions of rationally behaving men and women what is right or wrong, in their own ability to assembly all relevant data into their Central Climate Change Regulatory Office (CCCRO) equipped with huge supercomputers, in the possibility to give adequate instructions to hundreds of millions of individuals and institutions and in the non-existence of an incentive problem (and the resulting compliance or non-compliance of those who are supposed to follow these instructions).

We have to restart the discussion about the very nature of government and about the relationship between the individual and society. Now it concerns the whole mankind, not just the citizens of one particular country. To discuss this means to look at the canonically structured theoretical discussion about socialism (or communism) and to learn the uncompromising lesson from the inevitable collapse of communism 18 years ago. It is not about climatology. It is about freedom. This should be the main message of our conference.

Václav Klaus, Notes for the speech at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, New York, March 4, 2008

www.klaus.cz

I went to the very early Heartland breakfast, and to a follow up interview with President Klaus, out of plain curiosity – will I understand the way the mind of this person, trained in economics, works. He came now to New York, and I was told that the timing of the conference was set in effect according to his schedule and not according to the present political season in the US. I also noted that he spoke in Salt Lake City – one of the hubs of the right wing movement that feeds the Heartland Institute – so I knew already that President Klaus is close to the American right.

The President said that the chairman of the Czech Green Party criticized him for his statement at the UN. It sounded like he was proud of having stuck it to his Greens. So be it. But then he reminded me of those Jews in the Spain of the Inquisition who switched to Christianity and became among the most cruel Inquisitors.

It seems that having lived under the communist system he learned values of liberty, capitalism, and free enterprise, to the point that he demands for the industry the liberty to pollute and for the industry the freedom to go on unregulated.

He is thus a perfect fit to much of the US right, and a hero to the audience at Heartland. Having also started my life behind the Iron curtain, I wonder thus where Mr. Klaus lost his humanity when crossing abruptly from the communist world to the free world. Those that did it at lower pace probably had more time to adjust.

Saying that economic growth is “uber alles”strikes me rather as a communist/fascist idea and trying to work for a cleaner world is rather the real liberating and liberated way of the west. Now, what kind of an argument is it to look at the unregulated Europe and find its warts – the whole idea of the proponents of developing alternatives to the polluting economy is that this will allow for future growth, while sticking to the old ways will inhibit this growth.

Going clean is not only good for you, but actually makes you profit from this – he is an economist – why does he not take a class with the likes of Al Gore or Jim Hanson, Bob Watson or Amory Lovins. What did he come back with from his trip to Chatham House – did he just lecture there like at the UN, or he staid for the discussion too? At Heartland I took a photo of him picking up literature from co-minded folks – does he also listen to those that disagree with him, and are capable to discuss with him point-by-point?

Dr. Klaus thinks all the opponents are political populists – looking for power, prestige and income. He does not want “their power over our life!”

He hates the fact that people believe in the IPCC conclusions.

So – the impact of CO2 is enormous because it impacts the development of the developing countries.

He finds that the people that follow Malthusian tenets want to restrict us also demographically. To him the freedom to have children is an indisputable human right. No further thoughts are needed by him to look into population numbers.

On an industrial revolution he thinks of Brejnev – that is where his credo left him. irresponsibility, wishful thinking when believing in the ability of changing the nature of things – from personal experience he draws ideas from the market debates of the 1930’s. He wants to see more social sciences involved in these matters.

Those he calls “they” – believe in Central Regulatory Emissions’ Institutions with compliance and non-compliance – and you have to obey these institutions. We see the wheels in his mind turn faster and faster – one must escape this control.

So – listen you nincompoops – it is not about climatology – it is about freedom – this is here the main issue for those that lived in communist countries.

Others from communist countries who were mentioned among the Heartland speakers were Russians Yuri Israel and Andrei Illarionov – both known opponents of the concept of man induced climate change. We know both of them from years ago. Yuri Israel is a very good hydrologist who was head of the Soviet water institute, and later headed the Russian academician’s Moscow event to evaluate the idea if climate change is human caused. He Is a member of the IPCC; and Illarionov who was the economics holdout who advised Putin not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, was eventually overruled, and came nevertheless to lecture at the Washington Press Club saying that the KP is not good for Russia. We remember that meting as one of the strangest Russian shows we ever saw.

We managed to interview Dr. Klaus. His answers were as per above script, but when I asked him about the EU Presidency in 2009. He said that policy comes from the EU Parliament (did he mean the commission?), so it is not for him or for the Czech Republic to decide; also, in the Czech Republic decissions are taken by Parliament. What I liked here was that he did not remember who comes after the Czechs (that is Sweden) – so I can say that the EU Presidency is not yet on his front-burner. If that is the case, can we assume that the whole issue of climate change is really only sort of an ego-trip to the west? All what we can do is thus wait to see next year, but worry about Czechs.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 9th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 The following is the actual speech by President Klaus in front of a room full at the Heartland Institute Meeting’s Opening Dinner where he also distributed his book: “BLUE PLANETin GREEN SHAKLES: What Is Endangered – Climate or Freedom?”

He was introduced by Jodeph Bast – the Founder of this right-wing lobbyingFoundation, and was followed by MIT Meteorology Professor Richard Lindzen whose topic was: “Climate Alarm: What Are We Up Against, and What to Do.”

 

The problem with Heartland is that it attacks everyone for not being scientific enough – but they themselves are as far away from today’s science as the dinosauri are from genetic engineering products. We really would not complain if the meeting were held in scientific terms, but that was not the case. I observed political reverence before a “leader”   in the way how these State officials, and some just plain farming or oil and auto interests, stood up and applauded – to what? To another non-scientist with heavy baggage from years of working under oppressing regimes? Why Professor Lindzen was part of this show we do not dare to write – we honestly do not know, but we had enough life experience with MIT Professors who stood in for much other things that were not exactly science. We once even clashed with one such “Emeritus” Professor in a Congressional hearing that made history – as I had the opportunity to correct his misrepresentations by going into Thermodynamics 101.

The problem is that science – by nature – does not stand on 100% certainty. There always will be angles that can yet be researched – but from pointing out such needs – to jumping at negation of whole subjects – is like moving onto the platform of religious ideology based on a truth that has nothing whatsoever to do with science. In the end – even trained scientists that end up speaking for these ideologues simply end up forfeiting their scientific standing. At least one must acknowledge that they used their scientific knowledge to link to the dinosauri rather then make the effort to research a little further.

Oh well, let us see what President Klaus said, and let us note that we wish we had a verbatim of the following Q&A period. The cheer that evolved was anything but not science. He said the Czech Government is trying to slow down the money spending on climate change. This was an answer about funding China’s reduction of CO2 emissions.

He also mentioned that he spent one hour with the Japanese head of State who told him for half an hour about the great Japanese science and technologies that can help in matters of climate change, but then asked him if the Czech Republic has Permits to sell? Japan does not fulfill its Kyoto Protocol obligations with all that technology they have – tremendous hand-claps from the audience!

Another interesting exchange happened when he was asked – “Since Global Warming is a political phenomenon – not a scientific issue – how can we buy back the politicians?” He answered “I am not so skeptical thinking that it is only about money – I think one must just have the wrong views.” You see – in the Czech Republic only 11% believe in man made global warming – they just reelected me for a second term!

Klaus also stressed that environmentalism is a new religion – it is a question of ideology and therefore it is difficult to repudiate it. He further mentioned globalism-environmentally as an enemy!

Joseph Bast said that Richard Epstein who was a colleague of Obama’s at the School of Law in Chicago said of Obama that he was a good listener but in all those years never saw him change his mind once. I thought – Right On!

Joseph Bast noted that 50 State legislators were present there in the room – I sat between Oklahoma and Alaska but overheard that they were flown in by Heartland. Nice, but really Rush Limbaugh has now only an 11% approval rating. The Joseph Bast complaint was that it is difficult to take on climate change in Europe – but also here in the US.

Joseph Bast may indeed be right that IPCC documents do not represent science but politics – we also think so – but our complaint is in the opposite direction – it is politics that toned down the science – so the IPCC was not forthcoming enough. Just think how President Bush ousted its first head – the British/American Chief Scientist of the World Bank, in order to install a non-scientist working with Indian industrial interests. To imply that Al Gore, Tony Blair, or Kofi Annan are just simple talking heads is really not scientific – they just happen to have been convinced that what Heartland stands for is wrong for humanity.

Richard Lindzen was not completely confortable with the audience as it showed when he noted that “being skeptical of global warming does not make one a good scientist – or the other way.” So why does he deride our hero Jim Hanson?

————-

No Progress in the Climate Change Debate – said European President / Czech Republic President Václav Klaus to the
2009 Heartland Institute International Climate Change Conference, Marriott Marquis Hotel, New York, March 8, 2009

“When preparing my today’s remarks, I took into my hands – looking for an inspiration – my last year’s speech here, at the Heartland Institute’s Conference. It did not help much. It is evident that the climate change debate has not made any detectable progress and that the much needed, long overdue exchange of views has not yet started. All we see and hear are uninspiring monologues.

It reminds me of the frustration people like me felt in the communist era. Whatever you said, any convincing and well prepared arguments you used, any relevant data you assembled, no reaction. It all fell into emptiness. Nobody listened, especially “they” did not listen. They didn’t even try to argue back. They considered you a naive, uninformed and confused person, an eccentric, a complainer, someone not able to accept their only truth. It is very similar now.

A few weeks ago, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, I spent three hours at a closed session of about sixty people – heads of states and governments with several IPCC officials and “experts” like Al Gore, Tony Blair and Kofi Annan. The session was chaired by the Danish Prime Minister because its main topic was how to prepare the new Kyoto, the December 2009 UN-Copenhagen summit.

It was a discouraging experience. You looked around in vain to find at least one person who would share your views. There was no one. All the participants of the meeting took man-made global warming for granted, were convinced of its dangerous consequences and more or less competed in one special discipline – whether to suggest a 20, 30, 50 or 80% CO2 emissions cut as an agreed-upon, world-wide project. It was difficult to say anything meaningful and constructive. Among other things I tried to turn their attention to was the argument that they made such radical proposals even though their own countries had not fulfilled even the relatively modest Kyoto Protocol obligations. There was no reaction to that. After the session, one friendly looking president of a relatively large non-European country told me that he had never heard anything like my views, but was interested and wanted to hear more. I gave him my book “Blue Planet in Green Shackles”*

Nevertheless, we have to continue speaking to those people because they have a very strong voice in popularizing the global warming alarmism and in making decisions with far-reaching consequences. I try to do it permanently. The politicians are, however, not alone. They succeeded in creating incentives which led to the rise of a very powerful rent-seeking group. Very much like the politicians, these people are interested neither in temperature, CO2, competing scientific hypotheses and their testing, nor in freedom or markets. They are interested in their businesses and their profits – made with the help of politicians. These rent-seekers profit:

·           from trading the licenses to emit carbon dioxide;

·           from constructing unproductive wind, sun and other similar equipments able to make only highly subsidized electric energy;

·           from growing non-food crops which produce non-carbon fuels at the expense of producing food (with well-known side effects);

·           from doing research, writing and speaking about global warming.

It is always the same story with the same results. On the one hand, a highly concentrated and easily organized rent-seeking group and, on the other, widely dispersed, and therefore politically unorganizable individuals, the usual silent majority. I am frustrated that the economists and other social scientists do not try to enter the current debate. For us, in the former communist countries, the discovery of the works of the public-choice school scholars was a revealing experience. I somewhat naively assumed that their views belonged to the “conventional wisdom” in the Western world. This was not and is not true.

How to educate and enlighten those who make decisions? The politicians – hopefully – sometimes look at the very condensed versions of the IPCC’s Summaries for Policymakers but these documents do not represent science, but politics and environmental activism. It is difficult to change their minds. They did fully subscribe to the idea that the IPCC publications represent “the” climate science. We know that is not true and that there is no scientific discipline of climate science. Climate is such a complex system that it has no “science” of its own. There are, of course, very respectable sciences that deal with some parts of it. And they tell us quite persuasively that:

1. there is no one unique, unprecedented climate change just now, but permanent climate changes. The climate system of our planet has a significant internal variability. The past data are in this respect quite convincing;

2. the current climate changes cannot be subsumed under the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming. This claim is based exclusively on the results of experiments with the very imperfect computer models;

3. the Earth’s climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide is lower than is assumed by the IPCC. For a doubling of carbon dioxide concentration the global average surface temperature will increase not more than by about 0,5 °C;

4. there is no fixed and stable relationship between measured temperature and CO2 emissions. The believers in this hypothesis are not able to explain why the global temperature increased from 1918 to 1940, decreased from 1940 to 1976, increased from 1976 to 1998 and decreased from 1998 to the present, irrespective of the fact that the people have been adding increasing amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere.

I would be able to continue presenting further arguments of that kind but this is not a field in which I do possess any comparative advantage. Perhaps in Davos, but not here. I am, therefore, looking forward to new ideas, arguments and data coming out of this conference.

Let me make a few short comments from “my” fields.

I am puzzled by the environmentalists’ approach to technical progress. On the one hand, there is a huge difference between our technology optimism, based on our belief in secular improvements in technology on condition the free and unregulated, unconstrained, unmanipulated economic system makes them possible, and environmentalists’ technology skepticism along traditional Malthusian lines. On the other hand, the environmentalists are, at the same time technology naivists who freely and irresponsibly operate with miraculous technologies which have only one defect: they have not yet been invented. This is an apparent schizophrenia on their side. They should tell us how it really is. I am afraid they are not so naive as they pretend to be. They, probably, “only” do not want to reveal their true plans and ambitions: to stop economic development and return mankind centuries back. In that case technologies are unimportant.

Their attack on today’s technologies is an irrational practice with fatal consequences. As far as I know the existing and functioning technologies had never been abandoned before they were genuinely replaced by better ones. There arises – for the first time in history – a threat that the old technologies will be abandoned before new technologies become available. This should also be explained to the politicians in alternative “summaries for policymakers”, but they should be written by economists. We should also tell them that there is no known and economically feasible method or technology by which industrial economies can survive on expensive, unreliable, clean, green, renewable energy.

Another issue which bothers me is the exceptional absence of rational thinking as regards intertemporal decision making, especially when time-horizons are so long as in this case. The despotically ruling, politically correct aprioristic moralism (based on the disagreement with the infamous Keynes’ dictum “in the long run, we are all dead” or with the not less famous Madame De Pompadour’s maxim – “après nous le déluge”) is basically flawed. The questions which need to be answered are serious and non-trivial. Should we make radical decisions now? Should we tax today’s generations to benefit future generations? Should we be generously altruistic? Should we give preference to future generations and not to the people living in undeveloped countries today? My answer is no. We could have made such far-reaching decisions only on the absolutely unrealistic assumption that we know all relevant parameters of the future economic system, including the level of wealth and technology, and that we know all the parameters in an adequately discounted form. The controversy about Nicolas Stern’s and Ross Garnaut’s irrationally low discount rates used in their very influential models suggests that such transfers are not justifiable.

To conclude, it is evident that the environmentalists don’t want to change the climate. They want to change us and our behavior. Their ambition is to control and manipulate us. Therefore, it should not be surprising that they recommend „preventive”, not „adaptive” policies. Adaptation would be our voluntary behavior which is not what they aim at. They do not want to recognize that – to quote Nigel Lawson – “the capacity to adapt is arguably the most fundamental characteristic of mankind” and that our “adaptive capacity is increasing all the time with the development of technology”   **.

The environmentalists speak about “Saving the Planet”. From what? And from whom? One thing I know for sure: we have to save it – and us – from them.”

7. 3. 2009

————————

* Blue Planet in Green Shackles, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC, May 2008. It has been published already in eight languages. In a week from now, the Italian edition will be launched in Milan.

**Nigel Lawson: An Appeal to Reason – A Cool Look at Global Warming, Duckworth Overlook, London, 2008, pp 39.

———————-

ALSO, LET US NOTE THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA, WHILE ANNOUNCING TODAY, MONDAY MARCH 9th, THE REMOVAL OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION SHACKLES ON STEM CELL RESEARCH, HE ALSO SAID THAT HIS APPOINTMENTS IN SCIENCE WILL GO ONLY TO SCIENTISTS AND NOT TO POLITICAL IDEOLOGUES. WE SUGGEST THE HEARTLAND PEOPLE TAKE THIS TO THEIR NOTICE.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 30th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

FRIDAY, JANUARY 30, 2009

Q&A: World Social Forum is Not a Static Platform.
Terna Gyuse interviews ONYANGO OLOO, activist

CAPE TOWN, Jan 29 (IPS) – Onyango Oloo was the national coordinator of the Kenyan Social Forum in 2007 when the last global World Social Forum (WSF)took place in Nairobi. As another gathering of activists from around the world unfolds in Belem, Brazil, IPS asked Oloo for his views on the Forum’s past and future.

IPS: Two years on from Nairobi, how would you evaluate the last WSF? What were the successes? What were the shortcomings?

Oloo: WSF Nairobi 2007 was a groundbreaking event. The fact that it took place at all given its myriad challenges, was definitely an indicator of success. We were able to bring thousands of activists from around Africa and across the world together on Kenyan soil.

Issues to do with climate change, food sovereignty, awareness about GMOs, South-South solidarity, campaigns against the EPAs to cite a few were foregrounded and later on became a basis of pan-African initiatives across the continent. Locally, the emergence of the Kenyan gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community was a dramatic manifestation how the WSF can strengthen the struggles of marginalized social groups.

One of the key shortcomings had to with locking poor communities out of the event. Another drawback was how elements within the organising committee fostered the privatisation and commercialisation of the WSF space. Unfortunately, corruption – which is endemic in Kenyan society – reared its ugly head at the 2007 event.

IPS: There were many who expressed disappointment after Nairobi, who suggested the WSF may have outlived its purpose as an alternative to the very different ideas and networking at the World Economic Forum, and has been domesticated into a trade fair for NGOs and the better-funded sections of civil society – what’s your view?

OO: While I sympathized with the essence of the sentiments described above, I do not fully share that pessimistic assessment.

As a social justice activist, I firmly believe that cynicism is a luxury we can ill afford. The World Social Forum is an arena of struggle, not just between the big imperialist forces and those working for fundamental transformation, but also of contestation within and among progressive forces. It is not a static platform.

From time to time, negative tendencies will appear in the WSF process. It is our responsibility to combat and transcend these reactionary tendencies within our movements and communities.

IPS: How has the WSF been good for African civil society?

OO: I strongly feel that activists should challenge the very definition of “African civil society”. Is it limited just to the NGO community and those organisations associated with the African petit-bourgeois elite? Or does it extend to embrace social movements, radical and revolutionary forces (some of them in the anti-establishment political arena) and other spheres?

I am conscious that I am pushing the envelope here since the WSF process is quite wary about including organised political actors [ie. political parties] within its milieu.

IPS: “Another world is possible” – it feels like a limited set of those possibilities have been absorbed into mainstream.

Africa is maybe just past the crest of a wave of elections, of the steady consolidation of bodies like the AU and regional bodies. The continent is in the relative aftermath of the IMF’s economic prescriptions to liberalise and privatise, cut back on government spending and instead recover costs from citizens-as-clients – the casualties of structural adjustment have been buried and now we see solid macro-economic numbers in Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa…

And it seems some of the passion and effectiveness of the Jubilee campaigns, of various pro-democracy movements, the urgent and organised demands for things like free anti-retrovirals has subsided.

Is this it? Are we already living in the other possible world? Who and how is pushing beyond this?

OO: As a slogan, “Another World Is Possible” is woefully inadequate with its core assumption that all possible worlds can only be better than the existing one.

Yet the experience of Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy, Bush in the USA, Idi Amin in Uganda, Pinochet in Chile, Papa Doc in Haiti, Suharto in Indonesia and a slew of blood stained dictators and despots across the globe attests that for every utopia, there is a nightmarish dystopia waiting in the wings.

We need to define the contents and parameters of these other possible worlds.

It is a weakness of the WSF process that over the years it has valorised ideologically ambiguous terminology that seems, in my view, calculated to mollify the waffling liberals and right-leaning social democrats. What happened to old-fashioned terms like imperialism, socialism, revolutionary transformation and so on?

I am saying that the WSF will eventually lose relevance as long as it is unable to frontally confront global monopoly capitalism and suggest clear socialist alternatives and organize progressive humanity to defeat this imperialist monster.

————-

FRIDAY, JANUARY 30, 2009

Makers and Shakers of the Post-Crisis World.
Gustavo Capdevila

GENEVA, Jan 29 (IPS) – Of all the questions raised by the global economic crisis, one that is by no means insignificant may be answered this week: How will the pressure groups that influenced the policies that led to the present chaos adapt to the new world situation?

Clues to their behaviour will begin to be revealed from Wednesday, as the annual session of the World Economic Forum (WEF), a think-tank for the elite that looks to the interests of transnational companies and is regularly attended by executives, experts and government officials from rich countries, kicks off at the winter resort of Davos in Switzerland.

At first sight it would appear that nothing has changed, as the WEF founder and chairman Klaus Schwab has already forthrightly announced that the first goal of this Davos Forum will be “to assist the G20 process”. Schwab was referring to the group of more than 20 large and emerging economies which began examining ways of reforming the world’s financial architecture and policies to revitalise the global economy in Washington in November 2008. Leaders of the G20 are due to meet again on Apr. 2 in London.


Even more unambiguously, Schwab said “what we want is to allow business leaders and ‘stakeholders’ such as trade unionists and non-governmental organisations to contribute to the G20’s goals.” This is sheer arrogance, Swiss academic Jean Ziegler told IPS.

It demonstrates that the Davos Forum will once again “be simply an exercise in cynicism, arrogance and blindness,” Ziegler said in an interview with IPS between sessions of the consultative committee of the United Nations Human Rights Council, meeting this week in Geneva.

Some 2,500 people are expected to attend the Davos Forum, over half of them representatives of the business community, but also members of governments, politicians, trade unionists, religious leaders and members of non-governmental organisations.

As happens every year, press accreditation is largely confined to journalists representing media that are in sympathy with the liberal (free market) ideology of the WEF.

The organisers of the Davos Forum have underscored the secrecy surrounding some sessions by prohibiting writers of press releases, who attend the closed meetings, from having any personal contact with journalists.

Schwab has recently been at pains to deny the idea that the WEF has an ideology, saying that the Davos Forum does not express opinions, it just provides a platform.

Neither did he accept that the Davos Forum has embraced certain economic dogmas, such as complete rejection of state intervention and regulations. It was individual participants at the meetings who promoted these ideas, he said.

Some programmes developed by the WEF have always called for a coordinated system of global regulation, he said.

At a press conference, Schwab expressed the view that “a reform of capitalism” is necessary. He said there was a need to return to certain values that had been lost in the past 10 years because of too much greed and too little regulation.

The WEF chairman acknowledged that after 39 annual meetings of the Davos Forum, this year’s session will be one of the most challenging and significant. Titled “Shaping the Post-Crisis World,” the central topic for debate is what kind of world the forum wants to see emerging when the crisis is over, and how to design it.

Ziegler criticised the conspicuous spending by WEF participants. For example, the delegates of UBS (United Bank of Switzerland) are staying in luxury hotels in Davos.

UBS was one of the financial institutions hardest hit by the crisis, so much so that the Swiss government had to bail it out to the tune of 64 billion Swiss francs (56.3 million dollars) to save it from bankruptcy.

“The Swiss taxpayer is paying for these luxuries. It’s disgusting,” Ziegler told IPS.

“Half the bankers and industrialists at Davos should have been sent to prison a long time ago,” he said. “All these years, the Davos Forum has provided the ideological basis for plundering the world.”

Twenty years ago, the Davos Forum was celebrating deregulation, headlong liberalisation of the markets, privatisations and the heyday of profit, Ziegler said.

Former president of the World Bank James Wolfensohn coined the phrase: “The end of history is a world government without a state,” which was roundly applauded by participants at the WEF, Ziegler said.

Their unrestrained neoliberal ideology has landed the world in its worst economic crisis since 1929, and those responsible are the very same people who are here at Davos squandering money, he concluded.

———-

UN DAILY NEWS from the
UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE
29 January,  2009
=========================================================================


BAN Ki-MOON URGES LEADERS AT DAVOS TO FORGE ‘GREEN NEW DEAL’ TO FIGHT WORLD
RECESSION

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the world’s business and
other leaders to use the current economic crisis to launch a new Global
Compact entailing
a “Green New Deal” that creates jobs and fights climate
change by investing in renewable energy and technological development.

“Climate change threatens all our goals for development and social
progress. Indeed, it is the one true existential threat to the planet,” he
told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in a speech that drew
parallels from the Global Compact of corporate responsibility launched 10
years ago by then-Secretary-General Kofi Annan in the same hall.

“On the other hand, it also presents us with a gilt-edged opportunity. By
tackling climate change head-on we can solve many of our current troubles,
including the threat of global recession. We stand at a crossroads. It is
important that we realize we have a choice. We can choose short-sighted
unilateralism and business as usual. Or we can grasp global cooperation and
partnership on a scale never before seen.”

Just as Mr. Annan had launched a Compact that sought to give a human face
to the global market, challenging business to embrace universal principles
and partner with the UN on big issues, such as the Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs) that seek to slash poverty, hunger, lack of access to health
care and education and a host of other social ills by 2015, so now the time
has came for what Mr. Ban called “Global Compact 2.0.”

“We live in a new era. Its challenges can all be solved by cooperation –
and only by cooperation,” he said, stressing how the earlier compact, the
world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, involves over 6,000
business participants in more than 130 countries, pioneering new standards
of “best practice” in human rights and labour law, helping to protect the
environment, fight against corruption and promote health, education and
infrastructure.

“Now, a new set of crises prompts a renewed sense of mission,” he declared.
“Our times demand a new definition of leadership – global leadership. They
demand a new constellation of international cooperation – governments,
civil society and the private sector, working together for a collective
global good.

“Some might say such a vision is naïve. That it is wishful thinking. Yet we
have inspiring examples proving the contrary,” he added, citing the
critical role of business in the 1960s Green Revolution that lifted
hundreds of millions out of poverty in Asia, the global vaccination
campaign that eradicated smallpox by 1979, and solid progress in the fight
against AIDS, tuberculosis, polio and malaria.

“But we must break the tyranny of short-term thinking in favour of
long-term solutions. This will demand a renewed commitment to core
principles. A new Global Compact,” he added, noting new United States
President Barack Obama has made a clear commitment to re-energizing the
American economy by boosting the “green economy.”

Mr. Ban cited initiatives already underway under the old Global Compact,
such as “Caring for Climate,” the world’s largest business-led project on
climate change in which chief executives disclose their carbon emissions
and commit to comprehensive climate policies, and the “CEO Water Mandate”
advancing water stewardship through drip irrigation and water harvesting.

“Today with the economic downturn and climate change, the stakes for
companies have never been higher. But for businesses with vision, the
rewards are equally high,” he said. “The green economy is low-carbon and
energy-efficient. It creates jobs. Investment in sustainable technologies
will turn today’s crisis into tomorrow’s sustainable growth.”

At another session in Davos, Mr. Ban pushed for a climate change
communication initiative that will explain, educate and ask for global
engagement, leading to success at the UN climate change conference slated
to be held in December in Copenhagen, where negotiations on a successor
pact to the Kyoto Protocol are slated to end.

Addressing another event called “Managing our Water Needs,” he called on
participants to make water security one of the top issues for climate
change adaptation discussions for this year.

“The problem is that we have no coordinated global [water] management
authority in the UN system or the world at large,” the Secretary-General
said. “There is no overall responsibility, accountability or vision for how
to address the related problems of climate change, agricultural stress and
water technology.”

While in Davos, the Secretary-General also met, last night and today, with
a number of leaders. He discussed climate change and the Middle East peace
process with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

In addition, he discussed Haiti with former United States President Bill
Clinton. And in a bilateral meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon,
he talked about climate change, food security, the MDGs and Haiti.

From Davos the Secretary-General will travel to Addis Ababa for the African
Union Summit, followed by an official visit to the United Arab Emirates.
Thereafter, he will travel to Islamabad on an official trip to Pakistan,
and then on to New Delhi, India, to attend the Delhi Sustainable
Development Summit 2009.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 24th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 UNSG Ban Ki-moon and Diplomats accredited to the UN came Saturday January 24, 2009, to Park East Synagogue in New York City for a Holocaust Remembrance Day Service.

In November 1, 2005, 60 years since the creation of the UN in the aftermath of WWII and the Holocaust, the UN decided to designate January 27 as an annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. This year will be thus   thus the fourth year of such a   Commemoration and it will be held at the UN next week, while some at the UN will try to connect   these memorial events by holding parallel activities targeting the State of Israel for the recent invasion of the Gaza Strip and for the essence of its existence. As one example of this cloud over the UN, we posted   — www.SustainabiliTank.info posted:   www.sustainabilitank.info/2009/01….

With above in mind, nevertheless, the Park East Synagogue community, in the presence of Holocaust survivors, was proud to host the UNSG, four more UN officials, and the Diplomats that showed up – including the Diplomats from six European countries on whose territory the Holocaust was committed – Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Italy. The Ambassador to the UN from Rwanda, a non-Muslim African country came as he knows the impact of genocide from his own country’s experience. Also present were diplomats from Australia, Israel and the United States, and from the Latin American countries – Argentina, Costa Rica, and Mexico. Thus,14 countries out of the 192 Representations to the UN, showed up at this memorial service, but then, thinking of the WWII differences – seeing Germany, Russia, Israel, and the US sitting side by side, in the presence of survivors, and honoring the memory of the victims of the Holocaust in the presence of the UNSG, means that change is possible. Albeit, change through the UN maybe still very far off. There a great number of members may still take the position that Jews are not entitled to sit in the same bus with them, and when the issue is the Holocaust they will try to muddle it with “The question of Palestine.” January 26-27, 2009 will be just this sort of UN days. So what?

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 23rd, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

1. EU states monitor spread of civil unrest – 22.01.2009 – 20:17
—————————————————————————-
EU member states are “intensively” monitoring the risk of spreading civil
unrest in Europe, as riots over the economic crisis erupt in Iceland
following street clashes in Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Greece.

 euobserver.com/9/27460/?rk=1

2. Pressure on Prague won’t help ratify Lisbon, minister says – 22.01.2009 – 17:29
—————————————————————————-
Ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in the Czech Republic is a “domestic
democratic process,” and external pressure aimed at speeding up the process
is not helping, Czech deputy prime minister for European Affairs Alexandr
Vondra has said.

 euobserver.com/9/27456/?rk=1

3. EU continues to lag behind US on innovation – 22.01.2009 – 17:13
—————————————————————————-
The EU has made some headway in its bid to make itself more innovative and
boost its economy but is still lagging far behind the US and Japan, a new
report by the European Commission has shown.

 euobserver.com/9/27458/?rk=1

4. Banks ask ECB for help in eastern Europe – 22.01.2009 – 09:46
—————————————————————————-
In a fresh plea for aid from the European Central Bank, nine leading
international banks that operate in central and eastern Europe have joined
forces in asking for greater ECB help in the region.

 euobserver.com/9/27455/?rk=1

5. [Comment] Can Europe rise to Obama’s challenge? – 23.01.2009 – 08:52
—————————————————————————-
The inauguration of Barack Obama offers the opportunity for the European
Union to advance its collective interests by broadening and deepening the
transatlantic partnership.
But can Europe resolve its own internal differences, writes Peter Sain ley
Berry?

 euobserver.com/9/27463/?rk=1

6. [Comment] On the brink of a new era of gas supply stability – 23.01.2009 – 09:08
—————————————————————————-
Monday’s ground-breaking agreement to put the Russia-Ukraine gas trade on
the path to free market principles should put an end, once and for all, to
the spectre of a year-end gas crisis in Europe, writes Gazprom deputy chief
Alexander Medvedev.

 euobserver.com/9/27461/?rk=1

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 19th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 UPDATED January 19, 2009:

Two days after Israel declared a unilateral cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, the country now says it plans to withdraw all of its forces by the time Barack Obama is sworn in as president on the condition that Hamas fighters hold their fire.

=================

From Arabian Business   – www.arabianbusiness.com/543845-is…

Israel halts Gaza offensive.
by AFP on Sunday, 18 January 2009

Israel held its fire in Gaza Sunday after declaring a unilateral ceasefire in its 22-day onslaught which has killed more than 1,200 Palestinians and levelled vast swathes of the Hamas-run enclave.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had said after a meeting of his security cabinet he was calling an immediate end to offensive operations but added that troops would stay in Gaza for the time being with orders to return fire if attacked.

“At two o’clock in the morning (local time) we will stop fire but we will continue to be deployed in Gaza and its surroundings,” Olmert said in a speech after the vote.

“We have reached all the goals of the war, and beyond,” he added.

An army spokesman confirmed at 2:00 am (0000 GMT) that the order to stand down had gone into effect.

Hamas had said in response to Olmert’s announcement that it would not accept the presence of a single soldier in the territory, while Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said the ceasefire should be followed by a full pull-out.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak acknowledged there was “no guarantee” that Hamas would stop firing rockets but said the army would hit back “severely.”

“The army will stay as needed and if Hamas continues to fire, the army will fire back severely and will be ready to follow and intensify its operations as necessary,” he said.

The response from Hamas, an Islamist group which has ruled Gaza since 2007 and is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state, stopped short of an outright threat to continue the rocket attacks.

“We will not accept the presence of a single soldier in Gaza,” Fawzi Barhum, a Gaza-based Hamas spokesman, said, before restating the movement’s demands for a complete Israeli withdrawal and the opening of Gaza’s border crossings.

One of the main aims of the offensive has been to put a halt to rocket and mortar attacks but more than 30 projectiles were fired from Gaza on Saturday, including eight fired after Olmert’s announcement.

Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, who had been striving to broker a bilateral truce between Israel and Hamas, said only an unconditional ceasefire would suffice and called for all troops to leave the territory.

Mubarak and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are to co-host a summit on Gaza in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh Sunday which will also be attended by a string of European leaders, the king of Jordan and UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

In the hours leading up to the security cabinet meeting, Israel kept lobbing shells into the densely populated urban area, while to the north in Beit Lahiya a UN-run school was set ablaze by bombs.

Two brothers, aged five and seven, were killed and another dozen people wounded in the attack, in which burning embers trailing smoke rained down on a school where some 1,600 people were sheltering, setting parts of it alight.

Ban called the fourth such attack on a UN-run school during the war “outrageous” and demanded a thorough investigation.

During the course of the war , schools, hospitals, UN compounds and thousands of homes all came under attack with the Palestinian Authority putting the cost of damage to infrastructure alone at 476 million dollars.

At least 1,206 Palestinians, including 410 children, have been killed since the start of Israel’s deadliest-ever assault on the territory on December 27, according to Gaza medics, who said another 5,300 people have been wounded.

Those slain in the war also include 109 women, 113 elderly people, 14 paramedics, and four journalists, according to Dr. Muawiya Hassanein, the head of Gaza emergency services.

Since the start of the operation 10 Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed in combat or in rocket strikes. The army says more than 700 rockets and mortar rounds have been fired into Israel during that period.

The halt to the violence came after the Jewish state won pledges from Washington and Cairo to help prevent arms smuggling into Gaza, part of the Palestinians’ promised future state.

Although Egypt has not given any details about what assurances it has given Israel, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed a pledge on Friday promising “enhanced US security and intelligence cooperation with regional governments on actions to prevent weapons and explosive flows to Gaza.”

The ceasefire comes less than a month before Israel holds elections when Olmert, who formally resigned last autumn, is due to stand down.

The premier, whose reputation was badly damaged by a 2006 war in Lebanon seen by many Israelis as a disaster, said the Gaza war had “strengthened the deterrence of the state of Israel in the face of all those who threaten us.”

” Hamas received a hard blow. Its leaders are hiding. Many of its men have been killed. Dozens of tunnels have been bombarded. The ability to launch rockets into Israel has been reduced.”

————————–

Further, it became known that in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the leaders of Britain, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Spain and Turkey, along with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, met to coordinate policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
They gathered to back Egyptian efforts to turn a shaky ceasefire into a solid mutual agreement leading to Israeli withdrawal.

The above list of intervening powers includes the EU members – UK, France, Germany, Spain, as well as the present EU Presidency – the Czech Republic. Also Turkey, Jordan and Egypt. They will have to see how Egypt could effectively close its border with the Gaza Strip so there is no underground entree of weapon materials to the Gaza Strip. When this is achieved, they will go as in-between in what concerns Israel and the Palestinians of Gaza and of the West Bank.

The open question will eventually be how to start direct negotiations between the combatants, and the clear need for Israel to negotiate also directly with the Hamas. This point will come eventually when the US will change its position in regard to the acceptance of Hamas at the negotiations’ table when Israel is present. The absence of the US from Sharm el-Sheikh made it possible to reach the temporary   result so far. An Obama Administration will perhaps reconsider US reluctance to talk to Hamas.

It seems that Olmert, Barak and Livni are at last able to agree to put an end to the Gaza horror. But, still no end to arrogance   as they speak of a “unilateral” cease-fire. “However unequal the parties, the fighting has to stop from two sides.   And, it is not with the United States that Israel must come to an   agreement. Israeli and Hamas were parties in war and have to be parties to the cease-fire.” One can not choose one’s neighbors says the Israeli Peace Movement spokesperson.

In the meantime, Hamas said today that it would cease fire immediately along with other militant groups in the Gaza Strip and give Israel, which already declared a unilateral truce, a week to pull its troops out of the territory. According to Israel there was still some shelling by Hamas after above announcement.

———-

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