TRANSLATED FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH LÁSZLÓ SZARKA
It is a great honour for me to interview László Szarka. Coming from a Calvinistic minister’s family, Szarka is professor of geophysics at the University of Sopron, member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) and former General Director of the Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences. He is recipient of many awards such as: the «Youth academic prize» (1988), awarded by the HAS, and the «Knight Cross to the Merit» (2010), awarded by the President of the Republic of Hungary.
Professor Szarka, you are an internationally outstanding geophysicist, the right person to ask questions about the current climate policy aiming at reaching zero anthropogenic CO2 emissions by 2050.
«If your question is whether it is feasible to achieve one hundred per cent renewable energy, the answer based on real science is no. You see, not a single wind or solar power plant has been or will ever be produced by the energy of wind and solar power. To just built those plants high intensity and reliable energy is needed, and this comes only from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy as well as from hydropower, the only really renewable».
What is your special field of interest? How you became interested in environmental issues?
«I started in the field of solid-earth geophysics. Later, in 2000, I got involved into environmental science research as well as education. This field needed a strong geo-environmental component».
So, you were a “climate denier” already at that time?
«Not at all. I read Al Gore’s book with great interest, even I wrote a review about it, revealing a few errors in the book. It took me seven years of research and study to realize that the whole narrative was devoid of a sound scientific ground».
How did these mosaics of knowledge come together?
«Years before the 11th IAGA Scientific Assembly (a congress with more than 900 scientists belonging to the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, which was held in Sopron, Hungary in 2009), as the Chair of the Local Organizing Committee, I met many people, among others the IAGA President, professor Eigil Friis-Christensen (1944-2018). He had found correlation between climatic change, solar activity and cosmic rays. His presidential message (“we must never forget that models cannot possibly include Nature’s entire plethora of physical processes. And we must never forget that only experiments and observations can provide the means to decide which models are right and which models are insufficient”) deeply touched me, since I had thought, from my own experience, exactly the same. In a dispute, in San Francisco, Willie Soon, the famous solar physicist had a simple question: if the atmospheric CO2 change follows the temperature changes (which is a fact from ice drilling records), how it is possible that CO2 is considered the cause and the temperature is considered the consequence? Meanwhile, the Hungarian Committee of the International Year of Planet Earth (2007-2009) became very much interested in classification of the challenges facing humanity. I found the priority order set up by an American chemist, Richard Smalley (1943-2005) to be far the best: 1. energy, 2. water (drinking water), 3. soil (food), 4. environment, 5. societal problems (population, health, education, culture, etc.). Each item is a prerequisite for solving the following items in the list. This priority order is sane and logical, in stark contrast with the United Nation’s so-called SDG (Sustainable Development Goals). Smalley’s list is a clear organizing principle, while the 17 UN SDG goals are confusing and misleading. Moreover, from Smalley’s anthropocentric perspective it is inherently impossible to subordinate the energy policy to climate policy. Climate is merely a part of environmental issues. And there are lot of real things to make the environment healthier! I also realized that the SDG goal No. 13 («Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts») is simply immoral. The UN SDG (2015-2030) is known nowadays as Agenda 2030».
What is environmental science and how it has been shaped?
«Environmental science defines itself as the science of the relationship between Nature and Man. It is not only natural science. It is, because of the Man, inevitably social science, too. But at this point there is a very deep problem. Namely, the ‘Natural World’ is not the same as the ‘Environment’, which is merely an arbitrary selection. Definition of ‘Environment’ (especially the selection and classification of ‘environmental problems’) is not independent of human values and/or it is not independent on human interests. While environmental science done by natural scientists is influenced from the outside, natural scientists are not allowed to cross the border toward social issues. And, when we, natural scientists, reveal systemic but hidden connections, they discredit and stigmatize us under the slogan of ‘conspiracy theory’. At the same time, it is a fact that environmental science, with the whole climate change story in its focal point, has been formed since its birth by the same group of interest».
Whom are you thinking of?
«From the end of the Sixties, we find the same name at each documented milestone. He is Maurice Strong (1929-2015). He “developed environment-conscious science, policy and politics” as it stands in a necrology, celebrating him. That is true. But what is the meaning of the words “environment-conscious”? As the main organizer of the first UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972), and the founding director of the UNEP (UN Environmental Programme, Nairobi, 1972) instead of environmental implementing intentions of state leaders, he followed the street demonstrators, brought to Stockholm from Sweden and Canada by himself. He can be regarded the father of IPCC, that, in turn, is the engine of the Rio conference in 1992 (thus the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, where all natural variations were excluded from the definition of “climate change”), and of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997».
What do you think of the Paris climate agreement?
The SDG goal No. 13 (Climate Action) was put soon (in 2015, the year of the start of the migration crisis) into legally binding form. The Paris Climate Agreement has tied the hands of governments in climate issues. Its temperature goal (about limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C) serves as the legal basis of the decarbonisation. By the way, “decarbonisation” is idiotism, for a simple reason: at the depth of planet Earth there are carbonaceous chondrites. It may be that one percent (that is ten thousand ppm) of the total mass of our planet is made of carbon compound. CO2 degassing from the interior of the Earth into the atmosphere cannot be prevented.
In June 2017, when President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, a sudden and global wave of protest started in the scientific world. I remember exactly, because when I read the political statement issued by the Bureau of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), I resigned from my position in an IUGG committee I had chaired. By the way, the Italian IUGG Commission was among the few national committees that expressed doubts related to this political statement of the IUGG Bureau.
A next big step in climate issues was the UN Climate Summit on September 23, 2019…
Yes, it was in the presence of Greta Thunberg, who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on this occasion. At that Summit they declared a «transformative climate action that would make change in the world». Not many people knew that this time the word “transformative” should be taken seriously. They started a new phase toward implementing their global governance. They referred, and have referred all the time, to the alleged climate emergency. I again remember the developments precisely, as my inauguration talk as Ordinary Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences with the title «Earth and Man» took place the week before the UN climate summit. I talked about unrealizable obsessions and anti-human views forced upon us. And a few days later how happy I was to the news about the Global Climate Intelligence Group (CLINTEL), and their World Climate Declaration entitled “There is no climate emergency”! It was very worrying that it changed nothing. The fear-mongering continued at the Davos meetings of the World Economic Forum (WEF), and also in the European Union. On December 19, 2019, the European Commission published the European Green Deal plan «to transform the European Union into the first climate neutral continent by 2050». At that time, Covid-19 was already upon us, and very soon (June 2020) an important book «COVID-19: The Great Reset», co-authored by Klaus Schwab, founder of WEF, was published. So, the word “transform” got its final and naked meaning: resetting the whole world. This book describes a global program, and it has been welcomed by many leading politicians, among them the President of the European Commission. There is complete consistency, even harmony among UN, EU, WEF, and IPCC expressions and documents. In the Summary for Policy Makers of the IPCC AR6 (the 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), published in August 2021, they state that the current warming is “unprecedented” and it is caused by humans. In my opinion, they simply ignore the Nature. Nature did not stop its chaotic and turbulent processes.
In early 2021 the USA rejoined the Paris Accord. In 2021 there were big efforts to put the climate agenda even to the UN Security Council: Russia and India voted against, and China abstained. According to the Russian Representative «considering climate as a root cause of security issues distracts from the true root causes, and thus, hinders solutions». Since the war in Ukraine has nothing to do with climate change, it must be evident to everybody by now that the Russian Representative was deeply right».
From the media it is almost impossible to collect such information.
«The sense of reality helps a lot. This is reflected even in the 2022 results of the Hungarian parliamentary elections, and, at the same time, this is the deep root of the courage of the Hungarian Prime Minister.
What kind of environmental policy do you have in mind?
«Patriotism is the true basis of environmental policy. Roger Scruton (1944-2020), in his famous Green Philosophy introduced the so-called oikophilia (“love of home”). The oikophil type of person identifies with the family, the place of residence, the nation, and finds the community to be maintained in the – inherited and imperfect, but – real world. However, there are also those who prefer to live in the wishful dream of an imagined society of like-minded people. In extreme cases we can speak of oikophobia that is about the ideologically driven refusal to love the home. It is obviously present in the internationalist deep green movements. The basic situation is that the normal people over the whole world are attacked by the most selfish people, the global elite. The green organizations are just “useful idiots” of the global elite. They are working together on the Great Reset programme, and the decarbonisation is nothing else than their most effective tool. If we do not recognise this, Europe will crumble at first.»
Let us go back to natural science…
«The energy is the basis of the civilisation (see point 1 in Smalley’s list). So, the starting point for the debate is whether anthropogenic CO2 emissions can be reduced to zero by 2050. As said in the first question, the plain answer is: no.
What we see, both extraterrestrial and geological-geophysical forces are changing forever and dynamically, independently of CO2 and Man: this is evidenced both by the Earth’s history and by monitoring ongoing natural processes. Al Gore used to say that the climate science is settled, but he is wrong, because science is never settled. However, we do have a few mile stones, as summarized in CLINTEL’s World Climate Declaration: 1. Natural as well as anthropogenic factors cause warming, 2. Warming is far slower than predicted, 3. Climate policy relies on inadequate models, 4. CO2 is plant food, the basis of all life on Earth, 5. Global warming has not increased natural disasters, 6. Climate policy must respect scientific and economic realities.»
There are hardly any researchers like you who openly speak, but why?
«The vast majority of researchers have a terribly narrow field of interest, and readily accept summary findings from more distant fields. It is completely understandable. And many of them don’t even realize that these summaries can be easily fashioned. Compliance with the guidelines has an established and even incredibly sophisticated rewarding system. The final result is an easier career path. The institutional systems have already surrendered, only the hardest researchers resist. Notice that only retired researchers tend to talk about such delicate issues. The situation of young people is even more complicated, because they were educated in the mainstream atmosphere.»
How are Hungarian decision makers reacting on the matter?
«Mr. Viktor Orbán is a leading icon of the conservatorism in Europe and worldwide. But he told something very important at the CPAC Hungary, that is at the Conservative Political Action Conference, held Budapest, in May, 2022: «we must render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, unto God the things that are God’s, and unto Science the things that are Science’s». I understood that our duty is simple: to convince all responsible decision makers that what is considered now as “scientific consensus”, is merely one of the leftist extreme utopias. European Academies, unfortunately, are aligned too much with the mainstream climate view. But the mainstream, so-called consensus-based, view is of political origin, and not of scientific one. Fortunately the physical reality is with us, and the ideology-based houses of card will collapse.»