Tuesday 2 June 2009

Derk-Jan Eppink & the Green-Right

Derk-Jan Eppink klimaatreligie
Derk-Jan Eppink
In spring, Dutch ex-journalist Derk-Jan Eppink joined the Belgian party Lijst DeDecker (LDD) to become a leading candidate on the party's list for the upcoming elections for the European parliament of next week.
(yes, apparantly it's possible a Dutch citizen candidates in Belgium)

As, if the polls are right, Eppink next week probably is going to be elected into the European parliament, it might be interesting to have a closer look at his views.

I've posted before on this blog that his party LDD is circling around climate skepticism, and Derk Jan Eppink is no exception to this rule.

There's a good post in Dutch already adressing some of the things he said.

In February, Eppink wrote an opinion piece (in Dutch) for the newspaper De Standaard, which clearly is showing what can be expected from the man. Some snippets (my translation)

The green-right thinks positively about the environment

Ecology is a religion without God in which politicians get dragged into a climate of fear. (...) That is why a party like LDD chooses for green-right. In contrary to the others, like the Open VLD [the other Flemish liberal party] which started moving to the left for the envoironmental topics until they became ideological neighbours of Groen! [Flemish green party]
Therefore it's not strange this weekend Open VLD is having a congress on climate change. It may sound like a discovery, but climate has been changing ever since earth exists. Greenland is called Greenland because in the past the country was green.
The central question in the debate is : does climate change because of man or not ? That question hasn't been settled : some scientists say it does, other say it doesn't. Some scientists say the heating [sic] of the earth is caused by solar activity, not man. In conclusion : we don't know.
A good environmental policy is hindered by a theological debate on climate change ruled by ecological fundamentalism. Who doesn't support the thesis that climate change isn't real, is depicted as a heathen, a non-believer or a denialist. The discussion isn't about a good policy, but 'good or evil'

[in the rest of the article, Eppink pleads for the use of Nuclear energy, and an optimistic belief in Technical Development (with a mention of Lomborg) and some fulminating against emission-trading]

Personally, I think Eppink misses the point in the final part i translated. It's not a question of 'good' versus 'evil', but about 'reality' versus 'self-delusion' : science does not get attacked on the grounds that the result is unwanted.
Some creationists created an alternative universum with their own education, their own universities, their own filtered version of wikipedia with comforting lies (conservapedia) and their own creationist museum.

I have the feeling that, in a smaller extent, something similar is being done by free-market fundamentalists. That's not the world i choose for.

Bart & Bart
A couple of days after Eppink's piece published, a reply was written by Bart Martens (member of the Flemish parliament for the social-democratic party SP.a) & Bart Staes (member of the European Parliament for the ecological party Groen!).

In their reply , the two Barts also focus on some more things said by party leader JMDD, who clearly has denied scientific findings on more subjects (second-hand smoking, particulate matter, ...)

As a scientist, i can only hope in future the young party LDD still is, will grow into a more mature view on scientific reality.

The column of Tom Nagels
Eppink's article, encouraged Belgian author and columnist Tom Naegels to write a text (in Dutch) called A viking with a diploma

Naegels isn't adressing climate science but using the thought of Green-Greenland to play and take a trip through fantasy.

Yet in his text he does insert this fragment :
Nowhere [in literature] one can read that, at any given moment in time, Greenland really was Green. Or wait, actually you can read this, on obscure blogs sometimes people will make such claims.
But a respectable man like Eppink, having been a journalist, propagated by his party as being an 'intellectual' - a man who wants to become a member of the European Parliament, such a man wouldn't dare to use such sources, would he ? Not on a subject as important as climate change ?

That would equal a situation where the foreign-matters department of the De Standaard [newspaper] would get her analysis of the humanitarian tragedy in Eastern-Congo based on what's written on the blog of Getikt Rikske, 't Zat Flikske ("Crazy Ricky, the Drunk Cop", of course Naegels is just looking for the rhyme)
Without even writing anything about the subject of climate change Naegels managed to detect the point where most climate skepticism already awfully goes wrong : verifying if what you read is correct and if you are not just blindly repeating without verifying if what you read actually is right or not.