Saturday, 25 June 2011

Climate Change Deniers





True the floods last year were not as bad as some experienced in areas of China or Pakistan. There were no mud-slides and thousands were not killed. Nevertheless Poland experienced a series of floods, especially in the south of the country, that should remind everyone of the urgency facing the world over climate change.

It is never possible to convince everyone. Despite the consistency of climate change projections and the increasing regularity of unpredictable weather patterns, some will prefer to claim a form of conspiracy is at work. By whom and for what reason no one is clear.

One of the region's great climate change deniers is the Czech President Vaclav Klaus. Klaus is a conservative in the tradition of Hayek and Thatcher. He believes that ‘freedom’ is most threatened by the political ideologies that seek to control and regulate the market. He refers back to the experiences of communism and social welfare capitalism as examples of constructivist ideologies that promoted equality and non-discrimination but led instead towards totalitarianism. In the modern world Klaus identifies a number of new enemies: what he calls humanrightism and NGOs, political integration within Europe and also environmentalism. For Klaus the environmentalists are the new party commissioners - demanding controls, setting targets, interfering with people's individual freedom to consume and pollute as they wish.

Klaus has a friend in the European Commission: Janusz Lewandowski. Lewandowski is a strange breed. He emerged out of the GdaƄsk Liberals along with Tusk during Communism. During the 1990s he was a leading advocate of extreme Thatcherite economics in Poland. An example of this was his claim that the Polish intelligentsia will be able to fulfil its historical mission only by supporting the “empire of capital” and that it would betray this task if it concentrated on caring for the needs of the losers of the transition and socially excluded.

So after spending two decades explaining why there should be no economic redistribution in Poland he became the EU budget commissioner in 2010. In this job he has been doing his best to convince the richer states to maintain their payments into the EU budget so that funds can be - yes you guessed it - transferred to the poorer states in the EU, not least Poland. A noble task indeed, but quite why economic redistribution works at a continental and not a national level is anyone's guess.

Perhaps Lewandowski's sense of economic fairness and redistribution extends yet further nowadays. EU environmental ministers met last week to discuss the European Commission's 2050 roadmap towards a greener economy. The roadmap had agreed to cut carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, 60% by 2040 and 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. All were agreed except one country: Poland. Now there is a case that poorer countries such as Poland, which is heavily reliant upon coal, should be receiving help in meeting the targets set in this package. However, when expressing his support for the Polish government's decision Lewandowski remembered his Thatcherite roots and claimed:



We already have overambitious agreements on CO2 emission reduction. There is a notion that the thesis that coal energy is the main cause of global warming is highly questionable. Moreover, more and more often there is a question mark put over the whole [issue of] global warming as such.



As a spokesperson from Greenpeace stated: "It's terrifying that the man in charge of Europe's budget is someone you might expect to see in Sarah Palin's Republican party"

1 comment:

  1. Recanted, I think: http://euobserver.com/9/32573

    ReplyDelete

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