It is billed as the largest ever gathering of climate change deniers, a convention that kicked off last night with a title suggesting global warming is a thing of the past, and a guest list that includes a hurricane forecaster, a retired astronaut and a sitting European president.
Entitled Global Warming: Was It Ever Really a Crisis? and featuring some of the most prominent naysayers in the climate change debate, this week’s conference in New York sets out to escalate its confrontation with the scientific establishment, the vast majority of whose members subscribe to the view that humans are the principal cause of climate change.
Conference organisers were celebrating something of a coup in securing as a keynote speaker the Czech president, Václav Klaus, at a time when his country holds the rotating presidency of the EU. Klaus, a Eurosceptic, believes that efforts to protect the world from the impact of climate change are an assault on freedom.
In his remarks last night, Klaus accused European governments of being “alarmist” on the subject of climate change and in thrall to radical environmentalists.
“They probably do not want to reveal their true plans and ambitions to stop economic development and return mankind several centuries back,” he said.
He received a standing ovation. But Klaus admitted that his position was a lonely one.
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“It is evident that the climate change debate has not made any detectable progress,” he said. “It reminds me of the frustration people like me felt in the communist era.”