"The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity at the end of the 20th and at the beginning of the 21st century is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism," states Czech President Vaclav Klaus in the book he wrote about the dangers of environmentalism in 2007. Now translated into English the book heavily splits also its international readership.

Bearing in mind that the Czech Republic’s president comes from both an economic and involuntarily from a socialist background; it is not surprising that he might strike such a tone. After his country had been shut away from the international market for more than forty years, it is only natural that the studied economist wants progress and prosperity for the Czech Republic. At all costs?

Certainly, his book “Blue Planet in Green Shackles - What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?” provides the basis for some heated discussion due to its assertive tone and its provocative main idea that the current prevalent “climate alarmism” endangered freedom and prosperity.

Klaus in this regard even sees underlying parallels between past communist ideologies – which by putting aside the benefit of the individual for a higher good, ultimately miserably failed in reaching their high and idealistic goal – and contemporary environmental protection resulting in a, from his viewpoint, excessive attention to global warming and consequently in a negligence of other pressing problems of society.

In September 2007 the Czech president accordingly challenged the “global warming hysteria” at the UN Climate Change Conference in New York City. Klaus accused scientists and politicians of using the global warming threat for their own good, maximizing electoral votes and securing academic careers.

Cynically one may hence argue that it is not exactly unexpected that the Czech state is not a world-leader in fighting pollution. In fact, the OECD stated in 2005 that the Czech environmental indicators, such as pollution of the air and energy efficiency, range among the worst within the OECD scope. The country suffers from air, water, and land pollution caused by industry, mining, and agriculture.

However, ever since the Green party joined the Czech government and with a globally risen discussion of climate protection, environmental issues catch the Czech population’s attention more than ever. So on a whole the Czech Republic supports the European climate and energy policy in that CO2-emissions shall be limited and renewable energies be promoted.

Another debated question in politics is the role of nuclear energy; all Czech parties – albeit the Greens – demand a extension of the nuclear power system also in order to emancipate the country from the predominant Russian energy supply.  Currently, the Czech Republic has six atomic reactors.

Regarding the Czech commitment to nature, there is another intriguing issue worth mentioning – Light pollution.

Have you ever tilted your head in a city at night to see the stars? Probably not, because you can’t see them. The city lights are severe opponents to the nightly glimmer that enchants us whenever we get the chance to look up at the sky in the countryside, where less artificial lighting makes for a twinkling cope of heaven.

This is exactly where the Dark-Sky Association steps in. The IDA fights so-called light pollution and has acquired supporters around the world – among them the Czech Republic. The non-stop nocturnal lightening craze in the world caused disturbance for animals and human beings alike, says the organization and demands attention to where lightening can be saved and proposes certified lamps to minimize the glare. Former President Vaclav Havel signed the nicknamed "Protection of the Atmosphere Act" in 2002 and thus committed the country to issues of light and other kinds of air pollution.

For further information on the topics addressed, please see the following links.

Vaclav Klaus on his book “Blue Planet in Green Shackles - What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?”
Link: Presentation of the book "Blue Planet in Green Shackles"…
OECD is the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.
Link: OECD Official website…

The Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is based in Tucson, Arizona
Link: IDA…