Yesterday evening we were privileged to have Czech President Vaclav Klaus as our keynote speaker at the Heartland Climate Conference at the Chicago Hilton. The man is a star. He is absolutely sound on my two main issues — the EU, and Climate Change.
I had hoped to ask him about energy in Central Europe — Poland is very worried about the threat to its vital coal interests from Brussels regulation — and about Germany, which has recently decided to shut down its base-load nuclear power industry, and to try to replace it with intermittent wind power.
In the event my old friend Professor Fred Singer got in first with the Central Europe question, but I was able to ask about Germany. I won’t try to repeat the President’s answer verbatim, but he was clearly not happy with Germany’s plans. The occasional surges of power when the wind does blow is creating significant problems for the adjacent Czech Republic.
Many of us have been encouraged by the way that the climate debate seems to have slipped off the public radar. Al Gore has complained that people just don’t seem to want to hear about it. President Obama mentioned climate change in his recent State of the Union speech, and his audience seemed deeply unimpressed. In a recent opinion poll, American voters rated climate change bottom of a list of environmental concerns.
But President Klaus takes a different view. He believes that the Warmists are quite happy to see the end of the public debate. They are notoriously reluctant to come out and debate the science. Yet the green policies they want are in any case being taken forward — in the EU by Brussels regulation, and in the USA by law and by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).
He recalled President Eisenhower’s famous “military-industrial complex” speech decades ago, when he warned that academia risked being hijacked by government funding and public policy pressure. He little realised how prescient his warnings would prove — although it’s not so much the military-industrial complex as the anti-growth, anti-prosperity, anti-capitalist, pro-regulation, pro-global-governance zealots of the green movement, and they may have lost the argument but they’re winning the policy battle.
They’re putting in place policies that drive up the price of energy, undermine competitiveness, destroy jobs, prevent economic recovery, and force families and pensioners into fuel poverty. Worse yet, by relying on intermittent renewable and failing to build the necessary conventional back-up, they ensure that before the end of this decade we will face serious blackouts and power failures. They are jeopardising energy supply, and therefore economic success, for us and for our children. We are voluntarily choosing poverty and long-term economic decline.
Climate Change may be so last century. But the damage done by green policies is a clear and present danger in the 21st century.