The recent op-ed piece in Canada’s Financial Post by Czech President Václav Klaus is more than a little infuriating. Klaus, an economist by trade with no background in climate science, has become a favourite skeptic for hire at the Heritage Foundation and other right-wing libertarian think tanks.
Klaus is a vocal skeptic on the topic of global warming. His 2007 book argues that global warming is akin to a new religion or ideology that threatens to undermine freedom and the world’s economic and social order. At a 2007 speech at the Cato Institute, he argued that, “Environmentalism should belong in the social sciences” along with other “isms” such as communism, feminism, and liberalism. He went on to argue that, “environmentalism is a religion” and a “modern counterpart of communism” that seeks to change people’s habits and economic systems.
At his 2009 keynote address at the International Conference of Climate Change (a.k.a. Denial-a-Palooza), he maintained that environmental activists don’t necessarily care about temperature, or carbon dioxide, rather they care about rent seeking and political profit. In an increasingly familiar trope, he argued that the climate change movement has become popularized because it gives politicians an excuse to exert more control over society.
Klaus delivered a keynote speech at last week’s Global Warming Policy Foundation Inaugural Annual Lecture in London. According to his address, “Global warming in the last 150 years was modest and future warming and its consequences will not be dangerous or catastrophic. It doesn’t look like a threat we should respond to,” he said.
He argued that the empirical evidence of anthropogenic climate change is riddled with mistakes in methodology and modelling, and suggested out of hand that we have entered a period of global cooling.
Klaus openly denounced credible scientific institutions including the UK’s Royal Society that released a recent report explaining the science of climate change in layman’s terms, in response to confusion campaigns attacking the overwhelming scientific consensus. In Klaus’ words, “I am not impressed by heavily biased British scientific institutions”.
Maybe he was just offended that they didn’t invite him to speak and he instead had to speak at the GWPF?
The main takeaway from his address was that the threat of climate change is akin to the threat of communism. In the closing of his op-ed piece, he uses the eerily familiar anti-Big Government vs. environment argument in stating that, “Our interest is, or should be, a free, democratic and prosperous society. That is the reason why we have to stand up against all attempts to undermine it. We should be prepared to adapt to all kinds of future climate changes (including cooling), but we should never accept losing our freedom.”
Sounds familiar. No wonder these right-wing think tanks like him so much.
Financial Post readers, upon first glance, might assume that the Global Warming Policy Foundation is a credible climate organization, but Sourcewatch’s digging has revealed that the GWPF is a registered UK ‘charity’ with links to right-wing libertarian climate change deniers.
According to the Charity Commission, the GWPF’s mandate is to “advance the public understanding of global warming and of its possible consequences, and also of the measures taken or proposed to be taken in response to it”.
It looks like they’re more interested in sowing seeds of doubt than in disseminating knowledge. GWPF’s director is none other than the Heartland Institute’s Benny Peiser, climate change denier extraordinaire. Other members include Canada’s Ross McKitrick of the Fraser Institute.
If the Financial Post had bothered to check up on Klaus’ credentials (or lack thereof) on issues of climate, or looked into the shadowy UK “charity” funding the whole enterprise, they might have realized that the credentials of both on issues of climate are lacking. When will the Financial Post stop giving credence to climate change deniers and show some journalistic integrity?