This transcript appears in the August 6, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Augustinus ‘Guus’ Berkhout
Stop Blaming Climate Change for Your Failures
Professor Augustinus “Guus” Berkhout, is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, an officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau (2008), and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Geophysics at Delft University of Technology. He is co-founder and President of the Climate Intelligence Group (CLINTEL), and is a Senior Member of the Dutch Academy of Engineering (AcTI). This is an edited transcript of remarks he delivered to the first panel, “The Economic Effects of Green MAD—Mutually Assured Destruction,” of the July 24, 2021 Schiller Institute conference, “There Is No ‘Climate Emergency’—Apply the Science and Economics of Development to Stop Blackouts and Death.”
I am Guus Berkhout, and it is a great pleasure for me to tell you what we have learned from the recent flood disaster in Europe, and in my country, the Netherlands.
This is the message of Frans Timmermans.
We are already seeing the effects of climate change across Europe. Prolonged droughts and declining harvests, extreme heat waves, increasing diseases among livestock and crops, 400,000 deaths a year from pollution, and more. We urgently need to increase the investments in climate mitigation by CO2 reduction.
He is the Vice President of the European Union and is responsible for the climate policy in Europe. As you see, he blames all misery [on] climate change, and he concludes, “We urgently need to increase the investments in climate mitigation by CO2-reduction.” Timmermans and his allies tell us that by simply turning the global CO2-knob, we can control the temperature of our planet, and they repeat that, over and over again.
Now the question is: Is this “thermostat-knob narrative” far-going ignorance, or excessive arrogance, or is it part of an ideological master plan? Let us have a look.
Flooding in Europe
Europe’s modern water management infrastructure is still inadequate. The serious July-2021 floods were a very painful reminder. But this is not new. We already found that out during the major floods in the early 1990s. Just like then, today the green politicians blamed CO2-emissions. However, instead of blaming themselves, the “Greens” blame the headstrong citizens and entrepreneurs who just do not want to be climate neutered. They are just trying to cover up for their own failures, and I will show you that. This message was extensively explained in a one-page article in the largest Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf….
Now, an important question is: Are Europe’s July-2021 floods unique? Let me give you a short historical review, and then make use of my German neighbors, because they were always very gründlich (thorough) in registering the flood levels.
In Picture 1 you see the very notorious picture of the “Christmas flood” in Germany and the Netherlands, as early as 1770. It was a very famous flood with a lot of casualties.
And when we go to 1784, you see the picture of high water in Würzberg (Picture 2); it looks like a very big disaster.
[In] 1888, [there were] the Darchau Hochwasser (Darchau high water marks). A very nice overview [in] a timeline of the Town Hall of Passau. [There was a] high flood level in 1500 and 450 years later, 1954, and also very large variability in flood levels in the past 500 years.
And here is another small town in Germany (Picture 3). Again, history shows that high water levels and flooding have occurred many times over the centuries; look again at the big differences! Now, to attribute past and current flooding to CO2-emissions is most questionable. I’ll come back to that.
Keep in mind that all this historical information is known by authorities. So, they are not ignorant at all! However, instead of acting, they are just concerned with investing in CO2-reduction.
Let’s go to France: [There was] the Paris Flood in early 1900. What’s interesting is that around the same time there were big [droughts] in the western part of the United States. So, at the same time in the world, you have big floods in Europe, and you have big droughts in the United States; and we have seen that over and over again.
Here’s a picture of the 1954-flood in the Netherlands (Picture 4), with a lot of casualties. It initiated the well-known Dutch Delta Works, [a massive chain of flood protection structures—ed]; they were particularly for the Dutch coast.
Now, I’ll show you the situation in Southeast Netherlands a couple of weeks ago:
The situation along the Dutch coast and major rivers is in order, because of the Delta Works. However, a lot of work is still to be done on the canals, tributaries and local streams (a plan is already available for many years.) So, why do green politicians pour billions of tax revenues into biomass plants and wind turbines, instead of investing in badly needed locks, pumping stations, and inland dikes? I can tell you, the Dutch are so shocked about the floods, because they know how to prevent them!
Now, keep in mind, there were many different causes of all these flood disasters I’ve shown you, but it is very unlikely that even one of them was caused by CO2. Keep also in mind that the periods of flood alternated with periods of drought (we’ve shown that already during the Paris flood in the early 1900s.)
[There is a stone called] the Hunger Stein; it’s in Germany. It says, “Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine” (“When you see me, then cry”), because it means that the water level is very low, and we are in the midst of a drought; and at that time, a drought meant hunger.
Adaption, not Mitigation, Saves Lives
Let us look at two pictures: The first shows that the climate-related deaths decreased dramatically during the past 100 years, and that was due to adaptation. Many facts show that it is not climate mitigation (CO2-reduction), but climate adaptation (timely adaptation) that has resulted in a spectacular decline of climate casualties in recent decades.
Now, it is shown that CO2 levels are increasing, increasing and increasing. And you see, also, that many conferences were arranged by the United Nations to try to stop this increasing CO2 level; but you can also see, after 25 of these extensive, extensive conferences, nothing happened.
But, we also know that all these extensive and expensive measures against increasing CO2 have never saved one life. So, why have political leaders not learned anything from this knowledge? All they seem to be doing now is holding meetings about reducing CO2 and forgetting to take the measures we are sure will work.
Now, of course we cannot say: “The more CO2, the less climate-related deaths”; because more CO2 has a completely different cause than the decreasing climate-related deaths. So, you cannot just say that more CO2 causes less climate-related deaths, only [the] other way around! It’s actually ridiculous. But, keep in mind, a similar fundamental cause-effect mistake initiated the founding of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)!
Let’s go to our conclusion: Climate adaptation provides high benefits at low cost. That is a fact. So, why is this not done? Why are green politicians still talking and talking about high-cost CO2-mitigation projects? Why do they still pour billions of tax revenues into biomass plants and wind turbines, instead of investing in badly needed locks, pumping stations, and inland dikes?
Dear Citizens, please wake up! We understand the problem. We know the solution. We have the technology. We also have the money. So, what are we waiting for? And keep in mind, when I say “problem,” it’s not only a fight against flooding, but it’s also our fight for a safer living environment in general, and a better education, and more independent scientific research, etc., etc.
So, what is the next logical step? My urgent advice is: Don’t allow green politicians to spend our money on ideological CO2 projects; they actually have the least priority. And, be aware, if we do nothing, the flooding in Europe is a ‘harbinger of the future’ for the entire world if the Great Reset comes into force.
Ladies and gentlemen, I sincerely hope that the July flood in Europe will open up the eyes of the Green politicians and will have a major effect on their priorities and]on our future, because, we talk about not their future, but our future.
Thank you very much for listening to me.