Russian Scientists Reassert Opposition to Kyoto Accord

Published September 1, 2004

At the July 8 conclusion of an international conference on climate change held in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top economic advisor, Andre Illarionov, reaffirmed his personal opposition and the opposition of Russian scientists to the Kyoto Protocol.

Illarionov declared that European Union pressure on Russia to ratify Kyoto is the equivalent of a war on truth, science, and human welfare. As a vivid example of Kyoto supporters’ unwillingness to argue the facts, Illarionov noted in particular the heavy-handed tactics attempted by some of the non-Russian guests at the conference.

The following are excerpts from Illarionov’s remarks, including passages from a question-and-answer session that followed his talk. Subheads have been added for the convenience of our readers.

We have a few minutes left and I would like to tell you about the impressions on the two-day seminar that has just ended.

Over almost a year we have repeatedly asked our foreign partners who advocate the Kyoto Protocol and who insist that Russia should ratify the Kyoto Protocol, and we have invited them to meet and discuss these issues, present arguments and counter-arguments, and discuss them jointly. But we have not received any reply for a year. These people persistently refused to take part in any discussion.

Alarmists Dodging Real Discussion

Nine months ago, at an international climate change conference in Moscow, ten questions concerning the essence of the Kyoto Protocol and its underlying theory were submitted to the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC]. We were told that the reply would be given within several days. Nine months have passed since then, but there has been no reply, even though we have repeated our inquiries on these and the growing number of other related questions.

Instead of getting replies to our questions, we kept on hearing that replies did not matter; what was important is whether or not Russia trusts Britain, the European Union, and the countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol and that have been exerting unprecedented pressure on Russia to ratify it. This is why it was so important for us to arrange a real meeting and a real discussion of real problems with the participation of foreign scientists who have different views, in order to hear the arguments not only of our Russian scientists but also the arguments and counter-arguments from scientists in other countries.

We did get such an opportunity and over the past two days–we heard more than 20 reports, we held detailed discussions, and now we can say that a considerable number of the questions we formulated and raised have been somewhat clarified.

I would sum up my conclusions in [several] points. The first one concerns the nature and the contents of the Kyoto Protocol. This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, international adventure of all times and nations. Frankly speaking, it’s hard to recall something like this of the same scale and of the same consequences.

Real-World Events Contradict Alarmist Predictions

Basically, none of the assertions made in the Kyoto Protocol and the “scientific” theory on which the Kyoto Protocol is based has been borne out by actual data. We are not seeing any high frequency of emergency situations or events. There has been no increase in the number of floods, just as there has been no increase in the number of droughts. We are not witnessing a higher incidence of contagious diseases, and if there is a rise, it has nothing to do with climate change.

If there is an insignificant increase in the temperature, it is not due to anthropogenic factors but to the natural factors related to the planet itself and solar activity. There is no evidence confirming a positive linkage between the level of carbon dioxide and temperature changes. If there is such a linkage, it is [of] a reverse nature. In other words, it is not carbon dioxide that influences the temperature on Earth, but it is just the reverse: temperature fluctuations caused by solar activity influence the concentration of carbon dioxide.

The statistical data underpinning these documents and issued in millions of copies are often considerably distorted if not falsified. The most vivid example of this is the so-called “ice hockey stick,” or the curve of temperature changes on the planet over the past 1,000 years. It is alleged that there were insignificant temperature fluctuations for 900 years but there was a sharp rise in temperature in the 20th century.

A number of scientific works published lately show that in order to produce this “ice hockey stick,” nine intentional or unintentional mistakes were made that led to distortions in initial data and final results.

Kyoto Supporters Attempted Takeover

Second, in respect to the presentation made by representatives of the so-called official team of the British government and the official British climate science, or at least how they introduced themselves at the seminar. I personally was surprised by the exceptionally poor content of the papers presented. Simultaneously, they revealed an absolute–and I stress, absolute–inability to answer questions concerning the alleged professional activities of the authors of these papers. Not only the ten questions that were published nine months ago, but not a single question asked during this two-day seminar by participants in the seminar, both Russian and foreign, were answered.

When it became clear that they could not provide a substantive answer to a question, three devices were used. The British participants insisted on introducing censorship during the holding of this seminar. The chief science advisor to the British government, Mr. King, demanded in the form of an ultimatum at the beginning of yesterday that the program of the seminar be changed, and he presented an ultimatum demanding that about two-third of the participants not be given the floor.

The participants in the seminar [to which Mr. King objected] had been invited by the president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yuri Sergeyevich Osipov. Mr. King spoke about “undesirable” scientists and undesirable participants in the seminar. He declared that if the old program [were] preserved, he would not take part in the seminar and [would] walk out, taking along with him all the other British participants.

He … prepared his own program which he proposed it is available here, and my colleagues can simply distribute Mr. King’s handwritten program to [replace] the program prepared by the Russian Academy of Sciences and sent out in advance to all the participants in the seminar.

Ugly Scenes Disrupted Discussion

A comparison of the real program prepared by the Academy of Sciences and the program proposed as an ultimatum by Mr. King will give us an idea of which scientists, from the viewpoint of the chief scientific advisor to the British government, are undesirable. Mr. King said that he had contacted the British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Straw, who was in Moscow at the time and with the office of the British Prime Minister, Blair, so that the corresponding executives in Britain should contact the corresponding officials in Russia to bring pressure on the Russian Academy of Sciences and the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences to change the seminar’s program.

When the attempt to introduce censorship at the Russian Academy of Sciences failed, other attempts were made to disrupt the seminar. At least four times during the course of the seminar, ugly scenes were staged that prevented the seminar from proceeding normally. As a result, we lost at least four hours of working time in order to try to solve these problems.

And thirdly, when the more or less normal work of the seminar was restored and when the opportunity for discussion presented itself, when questions on professional topics were asked, and being unable to answer these questions, Mr. King and other members of the delegation turned to flight, as happened this morning when Mr. King, in an unprecedented incident, cut short his answer to a question in mid-sentence, realizing that he was unable to answer it, and left the seminar room. It is not for us to give an assessment to what happened, but in our opinion the reputation of British science, the reputation of the British government, and the reputation of the title “Sir” has sustained heavy damage.

Anti-Human Agenda Was Evident

The next point brings us directly to the Kyoto Protocol, or more specifically, to the ideological and philosophical basis on which it is built. That ideological base can be juxtaposed and compared, as Professor Reiter has done just now, with man-hating totalitarian ideology with which we had the bad fortune to deal during the 20th century, such as National Socialism, Marxism, Eugenics, Lysenkovism, and so on. All methods of distorting information existing in the world have been committed to prove the alleged validity of these theories–misinformation, falsification, fabrication, mythology, propaganda. Because what is offered cannot be qualified in any other way than myth, nonsense, and absurdity.

My last point is why it happens and how the whole thing can be described. When we see one of the biggest, if not the biggest, international adventures based on [a] man-hating, totalitarian ideology which, incidentally, manifests itself in totalitarian actions and concrete events, particularly academic discussions, and which tries to defend itself using disinformation and falsified facts, it’s hard to think of any other word but “war” to describe this.

To our great regret, this is a war, and this is a war against the whole world. But in this particular case the first to happen to be on this path is our country. This is not a simple war. The main thing is that we now have obvious evidence that we have got over the past two days–although we had some hints before that time–[in] the approach to Russia practiced by some people attending the seminar, an approach to Russia as a kind of banana republic, an approach to a country that is not a colony yet but about to become it as soon as it ratifies the document.

During the discussion of the economic impact of the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and of when Russia will achieve the 1990 emission level, one of the representatives of this official British team of scientists and government officials said quite bluntly: Russia cannot expect an increase in the population, on the contrary, the population will decrease. And as long as you reduce your population, you can meet the Kyoto Protocol requirements.

Thank you for your attention. The remaining small team is ready to answer your questions.

Q: My question is to the representative from Australia. Unfortunately I did not get his name–

Illarionov: William Kinenmos.

Q: As far as I know, Australia has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Can you tell us if Great Britain and the European Union exerted the same kind of pressure on Australia when it was thinking about whether or not it should ratify the Kyoto Protocol? And how can you explain what is now happening to Russia?

Kinenmos: Very early after Kyoto, the Australian government and the Prime Minister said that Australia was not going to ratify the Kyoto Protocol because of the impact on the economic conditions in Australia. It would mean the loss of jobs and the export of jobs because Australia is essentially a country that has a lot of energy-intensive industries, and their growth would be on energy-intensive industries. So the Prime Minister was very categorical, and he has been since that time, that Australia would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Q: Was there any pressure on Australia to ratify?

Kinenmos: I cannot answer whether in the government area there was pressure or not. There certainly was not pressure as is experienced here in Russia, but very early the Prime Minister said that Australia was not going to ratify, for the reasons that I gave.

Q: Japanese paper Mainichi. I have a question to Mr. Illarionov. Last month when the Foreign Minister of Japan came to Moscow, she met with high-ranking officials of the Russian government, and one of them told her that Russia will soon be ready to get the answer about the Kyoto Protocol ratification issue and he also told her that the answer will be in favor of Japan, pretty much indicating that Russia will be ratifying the protocol pretty soon. Do you think that will happen, and has Mr. Putin made the decision about ratifying or not ratifying the protocol?

Illarionov: I’ll try to answer each part of your question. The first part is, you said that the decision would be taken in favor of Japan. As you understand, a decision in favor of Japan means a refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Because the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol will hit hardest at those countries which had been careless enough to assume obligations to cut carbon dioxide emissions, and Japan was one of such countries.

In February a large international seminar was held in Moscow on the issues of the Kyoto Protocol and climate change, which was attended among others by representatives of Japan, including representatives of Japanese business and the government of Japan. I remember the presentation by a Japanese representative who described how Japan was already doing everything possible to comply with the terms of the Kyoto Protocol. That gentleman said that Japan was doing everything to reduce economic activities in Japan, including the movement of production outside Japan, thus aggravating the economic crisis in which Japan has been for the last 14 years.

It is known that in the last 14 years Japan has been lagging far behind other developed states and instead of bridging the gap between itself and the United States and even Europe, it was [falling farther behind]. So, the introduction of the Kyoto Protocol through ratification, for instance, possible ratification by Russia, would mean that Japan would quickly start to move back to the state in which it was a decade ago; it would be weak, poor, and backward. I don’t think it would be in the interests of Japan.

If the Russian Federation ever decides to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, such a decision will have been taken not only on the basis of substantive analysis, but for some other reasons. We cannot fully rule that out, just as we cannot fully predict climate change on the planet. But in any case, if such a decision is taken, it would deal, I repeat, a very serious blow to Russia, Japan, the European Union, and Canada, the countries and regions which were rash enough to assume such obligations.

Q: The Japanese Information Agency. Mr. Illarionov, a very simple question. Why don’t you go along with the words of your boss, President Putin, who said quite clearly, “We are in favor of the Kyoto Protocol”?

Illarionov: I will permit myself to remind you of the words said by President Putin. President Putin has never said that he supported the Kyoto Protocol. President Putin said on May 24, 2004, that he supported the Kyoto process. So, I am sorry, but you can’t say that I do not support President Putin on this issue.