A Climate of Repression: Living under Communism, Vaclav Klaus, the President of the Czech Republic, Saw How Repressive Political Mechanisms Can Stifle Opposition and Control Society. He Sees the Same Pattern Being Repeated in Today's Global-Warming Debate

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On March 2-4, more than 100 scientists, many of considerable renown, attended a conference in New York, sponsored by the Heartland Institute, called the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change. Also in attendance were over 300 other delegates, including Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic.

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Though he is not a climatologist or physicist, he was a featured speaker at the event for two reasons. First, he recognizes in the mannerisms and proposed public-policy recommendations of those trying to reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions the same noble-sounding goals and the same repressive political mechanisms as of the communists who so recently ruled his country with an iron fist. Second, he is a notable economist, formerly holding a position, in the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, and he can speak with authority about how the global-warming alarmists are misusing data to justify their claims.

THE NEW AMERICAN interviewed President Klaus at the climate conference.

THE NEW AMERICAN: Why did you come to the International Conference on Climate Change here in New York City?

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Vaclav Klaus: Well, I feel very strongly about it, not about global warming but for the discussion in principle. It's not a discussion about the climate; it's a discussion about human society; it's a discussion about freedoms; it's a discussion about human prosperity, especially in developing countries. That's the issue which has been a topic for my whole life. Global warming is just an instrument for influencing the future behavior of mankind. In this respect I am involved in the discussion.

TNA: You come from the Czech Republic; you are familiar with what it is like to have freedom totally suppressed. How does freedom relate to this issue?

Klaus: I am sensitive, maybe overly sensitive in this respect, but I listen to speeches of some global-warming alarmists--environmentalists in general. I hear sentences, ideas, which sound to me very familiar from the communist era.

Again there is someone who wants to orchestrate our life, again someone who knows better than the rest of us what is good for me, for us, and who tries .to regulate, control, mastermind human society and in this respect there is a structural similarity with my experiences from the past.

TNA: Are you also familiar With the way that statist systems will claim a scientific basis to justify their policies?

Klaus: They are misusing science. Again, I say with the communists it was also science which was also misused as an instrument for influencing us. There was scientific Marxism at the time and now we have scientific environmentalism--it was the same.

TNA: Very similar parallels ...

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Klaus: Yes, somewhat. I think that many people are misled by the argument that the debate about climate change is a scientific' debate in the field of climatology. I don't think that is the case. What we are talking about is influencing human society, and in this respect if is much more about social sciences, my own field of economics, and not that much about the details of physics and other scientific disciplines.

TNA: In that regard, one of the things that's been quite prevalent in this case is closing off scientific debate.

Klaus: To close the scientific debate is again, a weapon against those who disagree. I know that there is no scientific consensus. There can never be scientific consensus in this respect. The closing of the scientific discussion is really a very dangerous way of looking at things and can have very unpleasant consequences for human society.

TNA: Tell us about your concern on that level, the economic and social consequences of the policies which are being advocated.

Klaus: As an economist--by the way, I have to stress that I wrote a book about it, Blue Planet in Green Shackles: What Is Endangered, Climate or Freedom? …