Klaus - our blue (not green) planet at risk from environmental lobby

Vaclav Klaus, photo: CTK

President Vaclav Klaus launched his latest book on Wednesday, this time aimed at what he called the "hysteria" surrounding the debate over global warming. Mr Klaus claims that the debate has been hijacked by politicians and environmentalists, who are using what he describes as a "controversial hypothesis" to justify curtailing personal freedom and economic growth.

Vaclav Klaus,  photo: CTK
Vaclav Klaus - president, conservative economist and global warming critic - launched his latest book at Prague's Café Slavia on Wednesday morning. The title speaks for itself - "A Blue, Not a Green Planet...What's At Risk - the Climate, or Freedom?" Blue is the colour of the conservative Civic Democrats, the party he founded in the early 1990s.

In the book, President Klaus calls for a "rational" debate on global warming, saying the "hysteria" surrounding climate change was being driven by "ambitious environmentalists". Mr Klaus compares the environmentalist approach towards nature to the Marxist approach to economic theory, saying both attempt to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind with global planning.

Greenpeace demonstrating outside Café Slavia,  photo: CTK
Not surprisingly his latest book has won a frosty reception from the environmental lobby, with members of Greenpeace demonstrating outside Café Slavia during the launch. Jiri Tutter is the group's executive director:

"First of all we don't agree with the title itself, because what Mr Klaus is doing is putting these two things against each other which is not the case. We want both. We want freedom, and we want a healthy climate."

He says the two simply don't go together, and that the measures that people are calling for to reduce global warming are going to affect people's freedom and the free market.

"Well that's his interpretation, and we have no idea where he gets it from. That's his ideology. My personal view is that perhaps it goes much deeper. It goes to the feeling of who should control power in society. We don't claim any power, we just claim a voice. And that's all we want. Most likely, in my opinion, Mr Klaus is afraid that we're claiming power, which he as a politician is trying to protect."

He also argues that politicians that talk about global warming are simply jumping on the green bandwagon and thinking more about their careers than the planet.

"I can hardly agree with this one. There are respectable names at stake. It's not a bandwagon. It's not a new thing. It's something that has been developing for 15-20 years. It's not about modernity, or fashion. It's a long-term study. We don't really understand what he means by that."