Czech Hits Global Warming Movement; Sees 'Ideological Environmentalism'

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 10, 2007 | Go to article overview

Czech Hits Global Warming Movement; Sees 'Ideological Environmentalism'


Byline: David R. Sands, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus yesterday issued a stinging attack on "ideological environmentalism" and the campaign against global warming on a day when European Union leaders struck an ambitious deal to cut carbon emissions and energy use across the 27-nation bloc.

Wrapping up a five-day Washington visit that included meetings with Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Mr. Klaus said the global warming movement was based on shaky science, a distrust of free markets and a preference for central bureaucratic control over individual freedom.

"Environmentalism only pretends to deal with environmental protection," Mr. Klaus said in an address to the libertarian Cato Institute. "Behind the terminology is really an ambitious attempt to radically reorganize the world."

Just hours before he spoke, EU leaders meeting in Brussels reached a deal to set binding targets on increased renewable energy, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and other measures designed to cut energy use.

The EU deal was a personal triumph for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who pushed for an agreement at the two-day summit as the current chairman of the bloc.

The Czech Republic and other fast-growing East European countries, many still with smokestack industries heavily dependent on coal and oil, had balked at tougher conservation targets favored by more prosperous EU members to the west.

Mr. Klaus declined to criticize Czech officials who signed the deal, saying his government had pressed for a "milder" outcome and is "trying to find a rational way" to deal with the climate change issue.

As president of an EU state neighboring EU powerhouse Germany, Mr. Klaus said he would not be "organizing opposition" to Mrs. Merkel's agreement, but left little doubt he opposed the spirit and the substance of the EU energy pact.

The Brussels deal put off one of the toughest decisions: While the EU nations as a whole committed to a 20 percent boost by 2020 in the use of renewable energy such as wind and solar power, the targets for individual countries will be set at a later date. …

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