István Markó (1956 – 2017) was a professor and researcher in organic chemistry at the Université catholique de Louvain. Prof. Dr. Marko was an outspoken defender of the skeptical view on the issue of human-caused/anthropogenic global warming, appearing in numerous French-language media on the Internet, in public debates and diverse English-language blog postings. He also joined with Anglo-Saxon climate skeptics, publishing several articles together on Breitbart News.
Grégoire Canlorbe: Climate activism is thought of as Marxism’s Trojan horse, a way for its followers to proceed with their face masked, in the never-ending holy war that Marxism claims will be necessary to establish communist totalitarianism. Yet it was actually Margaret Thatcher, the muse of conservative libertarianism, who kick-started the IPCC. How do you make sense of this?
István Markó: More precisely, Margaret Thatcher, although a trained chemist and therefore aware of the mendacious character of such an allegation about carbon dioxide (CO2), was the first proponent to use the excuse of climate implications posed by CO2 to achieve her political ends. At the time, that is, in the mid-1980s, Thatcher was waging war with the almighty coal union. In those days, the UK coal unions were remunerating themselves with public monies and by lobbying via the Labour Party had managed to pass an enormous number of laws and subsidies to keep an industry afloat that was no longer profitable on its own.
While facing a strike by the British miners, chaired by Arthur Scargill, (nick-named “Arthur the Red”) who was later to found and lead the Socialist Labor Party, Thatcher thought it worthwhile to enshrine the thesis of warming linked to CO2 emissions to wind up the trade unionists holding her country hostage. But she was not really the initiator of the IPCC. The “kick-off,” as you call it, came more from personalities who were involved in hard ecologism, such as Norwegian Gro Harlem Brundtland, who chaired the UN Commission responsible for the famous 1987’s report “Our Common Future,” or Canadian Maurice Strong, who ranks among the founding members of the IPCC.
The belief in a catastrophic greenhouse effect due to CO2 emissions provided Thatcher with an additional asset, in her arm wrestling with the union, to set up the United Kingdom to get out of coal and to transition to nuclear energy. It was a belief she knew to be unfounded, but one she largely helped to entrench and popularize. One can, admittedly, deplore Thatcher’s strategy based on a perversion of science. The fact remains that, at that time, the electric power generation industries, notably that from coal, did not do so under very clean conditions. Even though CO2 has absolutely nothing to do with a poison, there existed then a real pollution associated with coal burning due to a lack of modern emission control technology.
Indeed, the combustion of coal not only produces innocuous CO2 emissions, it is accompanied by sulfurous and nitrogenous waste, produces SO2 emissions, SO3 emissions, and NOx emissions, ejects fine particles, and leaves nominally radioactive ashes (despite the fact that the epidemiological evidence and data for any serious health harms are still very controversial and hard to come by). Since the 1980s, the treatment of industrial pollution has however evolved. Today an electrical utility power generation plant that uses coal as a raw material now results in very little environmental pollution.
Grégoire Canlorbe: According to you, a person sensitive to pastoral charms, smitten with lounges of greenery and variegated grass beds, can only celebrate the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air. Could you come back to the necessity to stop demonizing CO2 as a “Satanic gas” in view of the objective data of chemistry?
István Markó: Again, CO2 is not, and has never been, a poison. Each of our exhalations, each of our breaths, emits an astronomical quantity of CO2 proportionate to that in the atmosphere (some >40,000 ppm); and it is very clear that the air we expire does not kill anyone standing in front of us. What must be understood, besides, is that CO2 is the elementary food of plants. Without CO2 there would be no plants, and without plants there would be no oxygen and therefore no humans. The equation is as simple as that.
Plants need CO2, water, and daylight. These are the mechanisms of photosynthesis, to generate the sugars that will provide them with staple food and building blocks. That fundamental fact of botany is one of the primary reasons why anyone who is sincerely committed to the preservation of the “natural world” should abstain from demonizing CO2. Over the last 30 years, there has been a gradual increase in the CO2 level. But what is also observed is that despite deforestation, the planet’s vegetation has grown by about 20%. This expansion of vegetation on the planet, nature lovers largely owe it to the increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
If we study, however, what has been happening at the geological level for several million years, we realize that the present period is characterized by an extraordinarily low CO2 level. During the Jurassic, Triassic, and so on, the CO2 level rose to values sometimes of the order of 7000, 8000, 9000 ppm, which considerably exceeds the paltry 400 ppm that we have today. Not only did life exist, in those far-off times when CO2 was so present in large concentration in the atmosphere, but plants such as ferns commonly attained heights of 25 meters. Reciprocally, far from benefiting the current vegetation, the reduction of the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere would be likely to compromise the health, and even the survival, of numerous plants. To fall below the threshold of 280 or 240 ppm would plainly lead to the extinction of a large variety of our vegetal species.
In addition, our relentless crusade to reduce CO2 could be more harmful to nature as plants are not the only organisms to base their nutrition on CO2. Phytoplankton species also feed on CO2, using carbon from CO2 as a building unit and releasing oxygen. By the way, it is worth remembering that ~70% of the oxygen present today in the atmosphere comes from phytoplankton, not trees: contrary to common belief, it is not the forests, but the oceans, that constitute the “lungs” of the earth.
About the supposed link between global warming and CO2 emissions, it is simply not true that CO2 has a major greenhouse effect. It is worth remembering, here too, that CO2 is a minor gas. Today it represents only 0.04% of the composition of the air; and its greenhouse effect is attributed the value of 1. The major greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is water vapor which is ten times more potent than CO2 in its greenhouse effect. Water vapor is present in a proportion of 2% in the atmosphere. Those facts are, in principle, taught at school and at university, but one still manages to incriminate CO2 alongside this learning, in using a dirty trick that presents the warming effect of CO2 as minor but exacerbated, through feedback loops, by the other greenhouse effects.
Grégoire Canlorbe: Many theories that claim to be scientific amount to an elaboration, more or less rigorous from the logical point of view, more or less robust from the experimental point of view, destined to justify some feelings inherently found in those very theories. Besides, people letting themselves be swayed by their feelings rather than by arguments, the persuasive power of a theory will come essentially from the feelings it expresses—and not from the logico-experimental varnish that covers them.
Beyond political interests, what then are the feelings that inspire the anthropogenic global warning thesis and that render it so appealing?
István Markó: As a scientist, I naturally hope that I can manage to confine myself into the field of what Vilfredo Pareto used to call the logico-experimental method, and that I do not let myself be skewed, without my knowledge, by feelings interfering with the seriousness of my theories and the validity of my experimentations. But my feelings are very certainly at stake when I examine the militant’s speech about the thesis of anthropogenic warming and the strange influence it exerts on governments and public opinion.
To begin, I believe in science: I mean that I believe in the possibility of objectively knowing reality through science. I believe that there are truth and falsehood, that science allows us to distinguish between the two, and that truth must be known; that scientific knowledge must be placed in the hands of the population. I also believe in freedom. I believe that every man is entitled to lead his life and to manage his goods as he sees fit, that he is the only possessor of himself, and that statist socio-economic control is as morally reprehensible as it is harmful in its social, economic, and environmental consequences.
I note two things distressing me: firstly, the population is increasingly misinformed scientifically; and secondly, the media and governments take advantage of this to propagate a theory that is doubtful, namely that of anthropogenic warming, and to promote coercive measures on its behalf. Few people take the time to get vital information about the actual CO2 footprint; and few people, more generally, are still interested in science. I deeply regret that our Western societies have succeeded in cultivating such mistrust of science: such a reluctance to have confidence in its capacity to know the world objectively and to transform it positively.
The theory of anthropogenic warming claims to be scientific; but if people accept this theory, if they hold it to be true, it is clearly not out of interest for science. Such a fragile theory, in view of the CO2 facts I have presented to you above, could never have been accepted by people who truly care about science; and who possess a deep understanding in that field. In my eyes, there are two main reasons—or if you prefer, two main types of feelings—that make people let themselves be seduced by the theory of anthropogenic warming so readily. In the first place, the Catholic religion is in decline in the Western world; and what I call ecologism comes to replace it.
In the second place, Westerners have a pronounced taste for self-flagellation; and the theory of anthropogenic warming provides justification for that tendency, possibly anchored in our Judeo-Christian heritage. So, on the one hand, we have religious feelings: faith in a new system of thought, which is ecologism; the veneration of a new divinity, which is benevolent and protective Nature. On the other hand, we have a feeling of guilt, expressed in our conviction that, if the climate warms up, it is our fault; and that if we do not immediately limit our CO2 emissions, we will have sullied and disfigured our planet.
Grégoire Canlorbe: The following facts are commonly presented to us as proving the planet is warming, whether it has anything to do with the toxicity of CO2. Firstly, the level of seas and oceans would increase year after year, engulfing entire islands, while the level of glaciers and polar caps would decrease; secondly, temperatures would register a gradual augmentation, while the frequency of extreme weather events and the area affected by droughts would also reach increasingly high levels; thirdly, the resurgence of some diseases such as that of anthrax, in Russia, would follow the return of bacteria freed by thawing of permafrost in the north.
Which of those commonly accepted facts do you judge to be substantiated?
István Markó: Over the last 12,000 years, what we have witnessed is an oscillation between warm and cold periods, thus periods with rising and declining sea levels. Incontestably, sea and ocean levels have been on the rise since the end of the Little Ice Age that took place approximately from the beginning of the 14th century until the end of the 19th century. At the end of that period, global temperatures started to rise. That being said, the recorded rise is 0.8 degrees Celsius and is, therefore, nothing extraordinary. If the temperature goes up, ocean water obviously dilates and some glaciers recede. This is something glaciers have always done, and not a specificity of our time.
Thus, in Ancient Roman times, glaciers were much smaller than the ones we know nowadays. I invite the reader to look at the documents dating back to the days of Hannibal, who managed to cross the Alps with his elephants because he did not encounter ice on his way to Rome, (except during a snow storm just before arriving on the Italian plain). Today, you could no longer make Hannibal’s journey. He proved to be capable of such an exploit, precisely because it was warmer in Roman times.
Sea levels are currently on the rise; but this is an overestimated phenomenon. The recorded rise is 1.5 millimeters per year, namely 1.5 cm every ten years, and is, therefore, not dramatic at all. Indeed, it does happen that entire islands do get engulfed; but in 99% of the cases, that is due to a classic erosion phenomenon and not to rising sea levels. As far as the Italian city of Venice is concerned, the fact it has been faced with water challenges is not due to any rise of the lagoon level; and is just the manifestation of the sad reality that “the City of the Doges” is sinking under its weight on the marshland. Once again, the global sea and ocean levels are rising; but the threat effectively represented by that phenomenon is far from being tangible. I note that the Tuvalu islands, whose engulfment was previously announced as imminent, not only have not been engulfed, but have seen their own land level rise with respect to that of waters around them.
Still another phenomenon we tend to exaggerate is the melting of the polar caps. The quantity of ice in the Arctic has not gone down for 10 years: one may well witness, from one year to the other, ice level fluctuations, but on average that level has remained constant. Right after the Little Ice Age, since the temperature went up, the Artic started to melt; but the ice level in the Arctic finally settled down. Besides, ice has been expanding in Antarctica over the last 30 years; and similarly, we observe in Greenland that the quantity of ice increased by 112 million cubic kilometers last year. On a global scale, glaciers account for peanuts, with most of the ice being located in Antarctica and on Greenland. One cannot but notice an almost unchanged ice level over hundreds of years.
Many other climate myths and legends exist. From storms to tornados, extreme events are going down all around the world; and when they occur, their level is much lower, too. As explained by MIT physicist Richard Lindzen, the reduction of the temperature differential between the north hemisphere and the equatorial part of our planet makes cyclonic energy much smaller: the importance and frequency of extreme events thus tend to decrease. But once again, the rise of temperatures shows a magnitude considerably lower with respect to that we currently project.
If you look at satellite data and weather balloon measurements, you then note that the temperature rise around the world is relatively modest; that it is much lower than the rise that is predicted for us by authorities, and that these predictions rely on calculations that are highly uncertain. This is because the simulation inputs cannot take into account past temperatures (for which there is no precision data), except by subjectively adjusting x, y, z data that are not always known. The recent temperature spikes measured by satellites and balloons are part of a classic natural phenomenon which is called El Niño. This short-term phenomenon consists of a return of the very warm waters at the surface of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The heat thus liberated in the atmosphere pushes up the global temperature and CO2 plays no role in that process.
Another issue I would like to raise: present deserts, far from expanding, are receding; and they are receding due to the higher quantity of CO2 available in the air. It turns out that greenhouse operators voluntarily inject three times as much CO2 in the commercial greenhouse as it is present in the atmosphere. The result we can observe is that plants grow faster and are bigger, that they are more resistant to diseases and to destructive insects, and that their photosynthesis is way more efficient and that they therefore consume, less water. Similarly, the rise of CO2 level in the atmosphere makes that plants need less water and thus that they can afford to colonize arid regions.
Regarding diseases and other weird phenomena hastily attributed to climate warming, there is a website—“globalwarminghoax.com,” if I recall —that collects the different rumors and contemplations on this theme. The fact that masculine fertility decreases; the fact that birds’ wings shrink; the fact that a shark showed up in the North Sea; absolutely anything is likely to be connected to climate change if one displays enough intellectual dishonesty. That is where honest journalists come into play: your role is to investigate on the true reason of phenomena and to demystify the ready-made thinking that financial and political forces ask the media to channel slavishly.
Climate-related diseases are relatively rare; and even malaria does not directly depend on the climate, but rather on the way we enable the parasite to reproduce and the mosquito to flourish in the place where we are located. If you find yourself in a swampy area, the odds you will get malaria are high; if you have drained the system and you no longer have that wetland, the odds you will catch the disease are very low. In the end, automatically blaming the resurgence of some disease on climate change comes down to removing the personal responsibility from the people involved: such as denying that their refusal of vaccinations, for instance, or their lack of hygiene, may be part of the problem.
Grégoire Canlorbe: In his 1993’s speech, in Liechtenstein, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was alarmed by the disadvantages associated with the blossoming of industry and mass consumption. “The first neglected point, only recently discovered,” he affirmed, considering both the communist regimes and also the capitalist economies, “is that an unlimited Progress does not sit well with the limited resources of the planet; that nature must be preserved rather than overly exploited; that we are making a flashy rampage through an environment that is also our common destiny.”
Solzhenitsyn claimed the abundance of inexpensive consumer goods, the progress of industry, the pursuit of material ease, all that has desiccated the soul of Westerners. “The victory of scientific and technical civilization has breathed a sort of spiritual insecurity into us. Its gifts enrich us, but also hold us in slavery. All is interests, we are compelled to look after ours, all is struggle for material goods; but an inner voice tells us that we have left there something pure, superior, and fragile.”
How do you respond to that archipelago of acerbic views?
István Markó: Solzhenitsyn’s analysis, which castigates what he calls “the scientific and technical civilization,” seems to me to be imbued with a curious defiance with respect to science and the technological progress: that same mistrust, in fact, which has spread like wildfire in our Western societies. I imagine that Solzhenitsyn’s pessimistic bias stems from his dark and painful life under the Soviet regime. I do not know whether one should also recognize in his speech typically Orthodox-Slavic traits of thought: be that as it may, his anguish before the scientific, industrial, and material development is somewhat reminiscent of some passages by Dostoyevsky.
To begin, those who convey the idea that the finite character of resources renders infinite growth impossible, leave out of account the ability of the human being to innovate in our technology, to enrich our knowledge of nature, and to enhance our extraction strategies. Let us take the case of this finite resource that is petroleum: one notices, firstly, that new reserves are regularly discovered; secondly, that the depleted oil reserves, (originally tapped by conventional drilling) are exploited by more advanced methods which improve the yield and recovery rate of remaining, formerly unrecoverable oil; and thirdly, that the “peak oil,” which Malthusians constantly say is about to be reached, is constantly postponed. On the other hand, humankind devises recycling methods that let us glimpse the possibility, in a more or less surrealist future, to build growth on perpetually and integrally recycled resources.
I agree that we must preserve our environment; and avoid over exploitation. But what we must also understand is that Nature does not give anything spontaneously: resources are not available by themselves; they must always be fetched, extracted, by means of some technology. Moreover, Nature is not hospitable by itself. To survive and prosper, we had to adapt to our environment, and adapt our environment. The environmental record of communist regimes, which fail, or have failed, in everything, is indeed disastrous; and Solzhenitsyn’s mistrust of “the scientific and technical civilization” arguably comes from there.
To blame mass consumption and industrial progress as such leaves me perplexed, were it only because it is waste, not consumption itself, which is the real problem. As much as the struggle against waste seems to me to be well-founded and necessary, the struggle against the “consumer society,” which happened to inspire a certain terrorism, seems to me irrelevant. I recall that it is notably mass consumption derived from the industrial exploitation of fossil resources that have liberated Western society from poverty and from a whole series of tasks that previously degraded him. The victory of medicine, which is so often praised, would never have been possible, without the chemistry of fossil resources. It is the chemical and industrial advances in pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers that have enabled us to master our environment.
Unless one deems degrading and enslaving the very fact of improving our living conditions, none can seriously blame science, technology, and consumption for holding us in slavery. Solzhenitsyn’s criticism seems to avoid denying the economic and sanitary benefits of “progress.” That is, it seems to focus on the psychological consequences. But even from that point of view, one easily exaggerates the deleterious effects associated with scientific and technological development and the resulting material comfort and mass consumption. Pathological behaviors, such as addiction, are the work of a minority of consumers: they are therefore exceptional and accidental; and not a sort of congenital disease of “consumer societies.”
As to the idea that having a comfortable life would create in us a moral desert, that it would make us greedy and heartless, this notion does not stand up to scrutiny either. It is enough to note to what extent people in opulent societies give to charitable organizations of all kinds. Ironically, Asian societies, which have remained faithful to their spiritual traditions, today cultivate a much greater respect for science and technology than that which prevails in the secularized West. It is therefore false to claim, as Solzhenitsyn seems to do, that the spirituality of people atrophies as their way of life is more centered on science and technology.
That said, there are indeed psychological drawbacks that I think can be legitimately attributed to material comfort. Over generations it gradually disposes people who take their comfort for granted, to lose sight of the inhospitable and dangerous world in which they live. Blinded by the ease of their standard of living, and the facilities stemming from their scientific, industrial, and technological advancement, Westerners have finally forgotten a fundamental law: this world gives nothing without effort. Again, the reason we are able to inhabit this planet in conditions that are so favorable to our health and to our hygienic wellbeing, as well as to our economic and demographic development, is that we have rendered our environment hospitable.
Gaia does not take us under her protection; nor is she that delicate and innocent goddess, offended by blood and toil, raped by factories, mines, and urban groups, which ecologists celebrate. I mentioned above the colonization of deserts by plants thanks to the greater amount of CO2 available to them. Colonization genuinely comes from Nature itself, not the human being; it is not so much that humans “invented” colonization, or industry, commerce, war, or even infanticides; we only inherited those behaviors from Nature. If the reader does not take me seriously on infanticides, let him think of the polar bears that do not hesitate to kill their own offspring and to take their heads away for the evening meal.
Grégoire Canlorbe: You seem to have a very special tenderness for China, where you have travelled extensively. The Chinese generation IV nuclear system particularly seems to catch your attention. Drawing on your onsite experience and your research, do the environmental/energy policies of China and its semi-planned version of a capitalist economy deliver, in your eyes, superior results than those obtained in Russia and in the Western world?
István Markó: As a visiting professor at two Chinese universities, I have extensively travelled in China; and I must confess, as you say, that I have a special affection for that country. Russia’s openness to the capitalist economy was far too brutal and hasty: it led to what I would be tempted to call mafia-type capitalism. The Chinese understood this well. Instead of “liberalizing” like mad, with those unfortunate consequences, they have preferred to opt for a smooth transition from communist totalitarianism to semi-planned capitalism.
Key members of the Chinese government are all trained as scientists or engineers: they are leaders who can reason in a logical way, who can analyze and dissect a problem scientifically; and since they do not have to worry about organizing an election campaign every two or five years, they are in a position to make decisions over the long term. That type of elite production is an undoubtable force of Chinese capitalism; and the development of fourth-generation nuclear, as you rightly point out, is one of the great successes to their credit.
Having said that, I feel obliged to state that I am not candid about the fate of political and social freedoms there. I note, however, that freedom of expression is advancing at breakneck speed. In particular, I witnessed demonstrations in Tiananmen Square that were in the purest European style, and that did not result in any of the participants being shot or beheaded. In 1993, a doctoral student who wanted to come to Belgium could only do so if his family remained hostage on Chinese soil. Today, there is no longer any problem for his family to accompany him.
On the Chinese internet, speech is uninhibited; and nearly each young person owns one, or even two mobile phones, things are said and transmitted at a phenomenal rate. There are, admittedly, restrictions, but not more in China than elsewhere. Admittedly, Google and Facebook have been blocked, but the fault lies with the owners. I do not contend that China is the paradise of freedom: all I want to point out is that China is evolving towards freedom and that it respects science, while in the West, we are evolving towards communism, the atrophy of freedom of expression, and contempt of science. Donald Trump seems to know that; and he seems to be the natural alpha leader that America needs to stamp its process of decadence, and to maintain its leadership against the Chinese competitor.
Two things deserve to be said about the ecological balance of China. Contrary to what is suggested by a certain pessimistic prejudice, the Chinese are increasingly rich. One notices the emergence of a veritable middle class, and as they get richer, their environmental concerns increase. But the Chinese, both elites and “ordinary citizens,” do not care about global warming – their concern deals with air quality, the preservation of forests, the safeguard of threatened species, and not with a hypothetical warming of the climate that should be counteracted. Moreover, the Chinese have understood that the future of electricity and power generation lies in nuclear or fossil energies, and certainly not in intermittent ‘renewable’ energies.
The wind industry, over which ecologists swoon, produces highly unpredictable output, depending on the intensity of the wind. Even under good atmospheric conditions, wind delivers too little electricity to be a profitable industry on its own. Warren Buffet, who owns one of the largest wind farms in Iowa, said it without embarrassment: “On wind power, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. This is the only reason to build them. They do not make sense without the tax credit.” The ecological balance is just as bad: onshore wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands, even millions of birds and bats per year. As for wind turbines at sea, they kill many marine mammals, again in the utmost indifference of ecologists.
We are plagued, in Europe, by a morbid fear of nuclear power. The Chinese, but also the Russians and the Indians, know that this fear is irrational, and that renewables that can only provide intermittent energy, are not a viable alternative. They are developing their nuclear industry at a brisk pace and are already experimenting with the next-generation, thorium-fueled nuclear reactor. As for the Germans and the French, and soon the Belgians, alas, they are regressing! They are horrified by the Fukushima accident, encouraged by silly elites, and so they are destroying their wonderful energy/power generation industrial parks, becoming the laughing stock of emerging countries. I recall that the earthquake and the tsunami of 2011 certainly caused numerous victims, about 20,000 deaths. But no one has died because of the nuclear industrial accident as such.
In the United States, there currently happens to be an upsurge in funding for what one calls small modular units. But China assuredly possesses leadership in the nuclear industry. They are in first place before the Russians and the Indians. The Chinese regularly build nuclear power plants, having become masters in that field, they do so faster and faster. They are, today, in the process of devising two thorium-based nuclear pilots. They know that its combustion results in highly radioactive products, with long life spans; but they have managed to solve that problem and find a way to obtain ultimate products that are very weakly radioactive.
Besides this, the Chinese are on the way to becoming leaders in the conquest of space. They built their own platforms, which they managed to send into space and they also have their own launchers, which are extremely reliable, and which are much cheaper, for example, than the Ariane launchers. If the Chinese are such high performers and so innovative, it is because, like the Indians and the Russians, they have faith in science: they have faith in the ability of science to embellish their future and to create a better world. In Europe, there was a time when we, too, had faith in science; and faith in an evolution of our societies that would rest on science. Today we have not only turned our backs on science, we are choked and infantilized by bureaucrats who suck the living forces of the old continent.
Grégoire Canlorbe: According to a recurring affirmation on your part, the panda (a short while ago endangered) constitutes an “error of nature.” You see it as a creature too ill-adapted to its environment and too convoluted in terms of survival or reproduction strategies. Could you tell us more about it? Ultimately, where does the responsibility of human beings stop and where does that of Mother Nature herself begin in her children’s extinction?
István Markó: It occurred to me to come up with the expression “error of nature” to qualify the panda. Belonging to the family of Ursidae, the panda is normally an herbivore. It feeds almost exclusively on bamboos, a certain type of bamboo, in fact, which has a variable energy capacity according to the time of the year. Moreover, the panda is a solitary animal, which avoids seeking the company of its congeners, and which therefore rarely leaves its own territory. Those two facts concur to render the reproduction of the panda highly unlikely. On top of this, it is more unlikely as the fertility time of a female panda is only about three days per year.
Firstly, when she is fertile, the female must move off to meet a male disposed to mate with her, and she must do quickly. Secondly, when she ends up with a male, the latter declines the proposition in nine out of ten cases, and this is because at that time of year, their bamboo food source has very poor energy quality. The male panda therefore prefers to rest. No wonder as his testosterone level, at that time of year, is also very low. In addition, pandas care very little about their children. For all those reasons, I think that the panda is a naturally endangered species: a species condemned by nature and saved by the human being.
Among the species that disappear every year, some do so for natural reasons, others owe their extinction to the activity of the human being. That second scenario is the minority, in reality. As in the case of dodo, the species that disappear, or have disappeared, through the fault of the human being are generally insular. Once their biotope has been reduced, they have few possibilities of defending themselves. It is utterly true that there are about 800 species, over the last 600 years that may have disappeared, but the figures that we are hammered with ad nauseam, by environmental activists, the tens of thousands of species supposed to disappear every year, are essentially pulled out of a magical hat.
One day I wrote an e-mail to WWF asking them to enumerate, preferably in Latin, the names of the species that disappeared in the current year, as well as to indicate the location of the cadavers. To this day, I have never received an answer! And for a very simple reason, NGOs want to frighten us and make us feel guilty with baseless allegations. In addition, we should remember it so happens quite regularly that species believed to have disappeared resurface – the coelacanth, for instance, but also the Guinea wolf.
Grégoire Canlorbe: The utopia of a worldwide caliphate, revived in the era of information and of the instantaneous and globalized networking, is all the less anachronistic as it echoes the Gaianist and “warmist” dream to confine the reins of sustainable development to a global government. Do you see a convergence of struggles looming between totalitarian ecologism and Islam?
István Markó: Many persons, generally those coming from the former Eastern Bloc, let themselves be seduced by the idea that the resolution of our environmental problems would be that of global governance. In many respects, ecologism is also the communism of the 21st century. In the same way as Islam, it occupies the place left vacant by the decline of Marxism-Leninism. I do not know if a convergence of struggles between Islamists and ecologists will actually take shape; however, I note that we already have the equivalent, on a smaller scale, of the global ecological caliphate. I am thinking of the European Union, which gives us a foretaste of the bureaucratic, global, and totalitarian governance that the United Nations manifestly endeavors to establish.
Since we are talking about globalization, envisioned in its political aspect, the prospect of a world government, but also in its economic and, say, informational aspect—the networking, sometimes instantaneous, of humans, goods, and ideas—I would like to opine a possible perverse effect. As cultures and mentalities mingle, the Westerners’ ecologist (or Gaianist) religion, as well as their penchant for repentance, seem to even reach some of the Asian peoples. Japan, which emerged spiritually emasculated from the Second World War, is more conducive to letting itself be invaded by that Western sanctification of the self-denial of ecologism.
Grégoire Canlorbe: At the Austrian World Summit, in June 2017, Arnold Schwarzenegger described the fate he would reserve to a climate change skeptic in a scenario as follows. “In a movie, it would have been simpler. One would have said: ‘Who thinks the greenhouse gases are not polluters?’ And the one who would have answered: ‘Yes, I do.’ I would have strapped his mouth to the exhaust pipe of a truck [and] turned on the engine.”
As for you, what treatment would you appreciate to see a devotee of anthropogenic warming enduring on screen?
István Markó: Having myself practiced bodybuilding in my youth, I am a great admirer of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the man and his cinematography. But I suspect his chemical knowledge, at least what he shows of it, to be a bit light, in contrast to that of Swedish screen star Dolph Lundgren, who at least graduated in chemical engineering. When it comes to getting an enlightened advice in politics or philosophy, I would rather trust Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Arnold expresses himself here completely ignoring that all greenhouse gases are not poison. To strap a car’s exhaust pipe to the mouth of someone and to turn on the engine will only result in blowing up the lungs of the person, which does not have much to do with the greenhouse effect. For my part, the worst ‘punishments’ I would wish upon a devotee of anthropogenic warming, on-screen or in reality, is to be confronted with honest information, data and figures that are not manipulated, which oblige him to recognize the vacuity of his dogma.
Going back to Arnold, among the gases that come out of a powered engine, one finds some that are noxious pollutants—for example, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, or ozone—but carbon dioxide is not part of them. Amongst those polluting gases, all do not have a greenhouse effect. Regarding sea level rise, in many places, notably in Europe, the level of the earth is rising with respect to that of waters. This is a classical geological phenomenon which is known as rebound, due to the fact that at the end of the last glaciation, the enormous quantities of ice that covered the European and North American continent melted, allowing the land that was pushed down by their weight to rise slowly.
We are told that the level of water will increase throughout the world and increase to the point that it will overwhelm a large part of our continents. As Hans von Storch, one of the world’s leading climate modelers, has shown, the models supporting those forecasts are, for 98% of them, totally false. We are told that the air we breathe in the big cities has never been so polluted. One only must review the documents oneself about the air that people used to breath in London in the 1960s to realize how much urban pollution has diminished. In Peking, often castigated for poor air quality, there happens, every now and then, a fog reminiscent of the London smog. But even that pollution in Peking is far from competing with that which, a short while ago, reigned in London.
We are warned against glyphosate, we are called upon to banish it, but I am ready to drink ten grams of glyphosate in front of you. The truth is that glyphosate is a product half as toxic as salt. In practice, it is not more polluting for our environment than it is carcinogenic to our organism. Behind the anti-glyphosate campaign, you find all kinds of NGOs that I call eco-terrorists; and that are ready to do everything, even banishing scientific truth itself, to destroy Monsanto. I am neither a partisan nor an enemy of that firm, but I deplore the unjustified animosity surrounding a truly brilliant product. This animosity is fueled by a shameful propaganda on the part of the Avaaz and other Greenpeace type groups.
Grégoire Canlorbe: Thank you for your time. Would you like to add a thing or two?
István Markó: I would like to thank you for the relevance of your questions. I was recently in Santa Barbara, California, where I had the opportunity to eat with plates and cutlery made of corn, which are thus biodegradable. This is an initiative that I welcome, and that has nothing to do with the vain, costly, and spiritually lethal struggle against CO2 emissions. If there is one final message I would like to convey, it is that we have to be concerned about the real ecological problems — noxious pollutants, unmanaged waste, untreated human sewage. We have to cease letting ourselves be manipulated by causes that purport to be good for our planet, but that are simply pretexts for enslaving and tying up humanity.
God knows there are abominable things happening to our planet! Think about the pollution of the oceans and the “seventh continent;” think about the extinction of some marine species like codfish, which is the victim not only of overfishing, but of the proliferation of seals whose hunting has been prohibited. We must preserve our environment, it goes without saying. We must also exercise our critical mind and identify the real problems, otherwise our good feelings for ‘saving the planet’ are only arrogant, hypocritical, and stupid tears.
The agreement of the Paris COP 21 was not signed to save the planet and to prevent us from roasting due to an imaginary temperature increase of +2°C. Behind all that masquerade is hidden, as always, the ugly face of power, greed, and profit. All the industrialists who are in favor of that commitment, which will ruin Europe and immensely impoverish its citizens, do so for the good reason they find in it a huge and easy source of income. As for NGOs, when they are not simply motivated by greed, their motive consists in a resolutely Malthusian ideology. Their object is to return the world to a very small population, on the order of a few hundred million people. To do so, they impoverish the world, remove the power of fossil fuel energies, and thus ensure that the number of deaths increases.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn meeting Margaret Thatcher in 1983
That conversation was originally published by Watts Up With That, the world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change, in October 2017. An edited version was also published by Breitbart News Network, in October 2017.
 « Ecologism is a new political ideology based on the position that the non-human world is worthy of moral consideration, and that this should be taken into account in social, economic, and political systems. » Brian Baxter http://press.georgetown.edu/book/georgetown/ecologism
 The island shores are eroded by the persistent pounding of the ocean waves. This is perceived as ‘sinking’ or as ‘sea level rise’ but upward creep of the waters is is due to island soil being washed away.
 Historic temperatures are determined by ‘proxies’ – using broad estimates drawn from various geological, carbon-14, tree-ring or other natural indicators. Modern thermometers were invented in the early 1700’s. Still today with high precision instruments, no measurements less than 1°C can be accurately measured. Marko famously wrote of the 2016 ‘hottest year ever’ claim by the WMO that : “The World Meteorological Organization – another emanation of the United Nations and which is also, like the IPCC, an intergovernmental forum – declares 2016 the year the warmest of history. Knowing that 2016 is supposedly hotter by 0.02°C than 2015 and that the margin of error on this value is 0.1°C, we see the absurdity of this statement. For those who don’t understand, this means that the variation in temperature can be of + 0.12°C (global warming) or -0.08°C (global cooling). In short, we can’t say anything and WMO has simply lost its mind.”
 The Belgian martial arts expert and movie star is known for his support of Trump and for his concern for the protection of natural species.