Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bjørn Lomborg moves to Prague

I was told about a fun interview last night on the Czech Public TV Channel called ČT24 (a news channel of a sort). Click at the screenshot below to watch the 6-minute video:

Transcript (autom. EN)

The host asks about the Kyoto protocol (extended through 2020 in Doha, but covering a minority of the CO2 emitters only; U.S., Canada, Japan, China, and others are out, only the EU etc. will suffer) and they exchange a few words about the reasons of failure of similar efforts. He says that there are more important things to solve, such as the genuine pollution in the air and water.

All these things may have been expected but there's one piece of information that could be viewed as novel – a bombshell of a sort.

They reveal that Lomborg isn't just visiting Prague for a few days: he's moved to our capital for an unspecified and not necessarily finite period of time (maybe until the next elections in Denmark only)! He described himself as a controversial person who has been assured a pleasant life by the right-wing Danish government but this government has been superseded by a less friendly left-wing one, so he became a sort of heretic again!

But more realistically, he wanted to live in Prague for quite some time, we learned. When the host suggested that he moved there in order to be closer to Václav Klaus who is also a skeptic (do you also think that our planet is blue?), Lomborg laughed. He shouldn't have laughed about one part of it because our planet is blue, believe it or not! :-)

The female host was somewhat politically correct, repeating the things that sometime appear in the Czech media as well, like "don't you think that there's a close relationship between pollution and global warming?". But you may see that she doesn't really care about the topic and once she learns that Lomborg isn't your garden variety alarmist and she should adjust her expectations, she has no trouble to switch to similarly friendly questions reflecting the new knowledge about his opinions – because the Czech TV hosts are of course used to skeptics as well and these skeptics are treated as humans – and when they're experts on something, they're treated as experts. For example, her next question is about the importance of interpretations and misinterpretations of the statistics, a sort of a skeptical question. ;-) Lomborg confirms that even things like Sandy are being abused politically.

Time will tell whether the real-world life in Prague will be satisfactory enough for Lomborg. But already now, I am amused by the unusual idea of a political emigrant who moves from Denmark to my homeland.

And that's the memo.


  1. I love when someone like Bill O'Reilly has an expert on and then proceeds to say "you are wrong doctor, and let me tell you why."

  2. Right, but those people usually claim to be experts on politics of a sort which isn't science so it's not shocking he presents himself as a peer or a superior.

    He's entertaining. It happened that my most intense period of Bill O'Reilly watching was H1 of 2000 when he was easily available on some channels on a TV in Santa Cruz :-) and I just chose him among the competition...

  3. Hi Lubos,
    interesting, a Dane in Praha. But apparently Lomborg doesn't speak Czech yet so it will be hard for him to really feel at home.

  4. Right. I would have similar worries. Still, Prague is a bit international.

    He's surely busy now. I checked whether he would attend the party at the Prague Castle tomorrow. His manager informed me he's not available tomorrow - and today, he was giving a talk at CEVRO, too. ;-)

  5. A Danish political "refugee" in Prague, reminds me of the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe who died in Prague 1601.

  6. thejollygreenmanDec 13, 2012, 8:08:00 AM

    Hi Lubos,

    What I found most interesting is the fact the Bjorn Lomborg is a Norwegian yet supplied all his answers in English. So I can deduct the following. There was no Czech/Norwegian translator on duty or available on the night to allow the good professor to answer in his mother tongue. English is most definitely the modern Latin.

    To what family does the Czech language belong? I can follow Dutch and a tiny bit of German, but zero of Czech. Is it closer to Russian, in sound and structure? In other words, almost impossible to learn unless you go and live there for 20 years or so?

  7. Dear Jolly Green Man, Lomborg is Danish but it doesn't matter - both Danish and Norwegian translators are of course rare. However, Lomborg routinely speaks English, anyway. He's equivalent to a native speaker. Yes, English is our time's Latin.

    Czech is a Slavic language, like Russian, Polish, Yugoslav etc.

  8. So did you have a good time at the party? Who got falling-down drunk, who groped the waitress in full view of the international press corps? Details, please!

  9. Sadly to report, my health deteriorated dramatically at the Castle.

    I was feeling just terrible - partly due to the starting "success" of my efforts to get a flu/cold after more than a year except that it doesn't have to be cold what I have. It's only in the throat, not in the nose, and I don't really have a higher temperature, either. A day earlier, I was almost 100% free of flu-like symptoms, but on Sunday, some strong alcoholic beverage (not much) have arguably returned me some of the acute feelings I attribute to Candida. So it was a bad mixture.

    I couldn't stand on my legs at some moment, so I had to sit at the golden chairs in the representative halls of the Castle. Too bad I prepared an annoying evening for my companion, too...

    The jazz on the concert was a bit too complicated and non-melodic for my tastes again, and not only mine.

    I gave Klaus a copy of my translation of Brian's book. He had fun about seeing how younger people such as myself may have screwed health and conjectured – in front of my friend – that it's due to the women. ;-) He had some other funny comments as well, about the new name of his institute etc.

    The ČD trains had temperature about 50 Celsius degrees near the chairs, despite the outside temperature being minus 7 Celsius degrees. I was feeling too weak to fight it, or even undress intensely. Survival was a realistic and somewhat ambitious goal and became an achievement. It's a reminder that it may be a good idea to cancel events in similar circumstances.

  10. Dang, sorry to hear that! Well, I hope you take it easy for a while and above all get well soon :)

  11. Oh Lumo,

    sad to hear that you feel bad.

    Take good care of yourself and get well soon !

  12. Thanks for your wishes, I feel OK now, helped by the fact that I don't have to stand, go through chilling weather, or talk to people - whenever someone calls me, I just send her or him a text message explaining that I won't talk.

    Maybe it was stupid for me to follow my friend's recommendation and drink and eat nothing except for water last night during the party - the refreshment is one of the reasons why I used to go to such events. ;-) I must have been de-energetized, too. And there was probably not enough oxygen in the room etc.

  13. thejollygreenmanDec 13, 2012, 5:16:00 PM

    Hi Lubos, sorry about the Norway Denmark mix up.

    In my mind's eye you sound like Bjorn. Do you have any links to you giving a presentation/talk in English? I would like to hear you talk/giving a lecture.

  14. Lubos, I had a very sore throat last year, lost my voice and no fever, it wasn't a cold or flu either, and my GP told me to suck ice. It did work. You might want to try ?
    I wish you a speedy recovery.

  15. Interesting, Shannon, were you actually told what it *was*? ;-) You never suspected to be in our yeast club, right? :-)

    I actually do think that this thing gets more severe at normal temperatures and less severe in very cold ones but I am not inclined to overexperimentation.

  16. No I am lucky I am not allergic to anything (except nickel on my skin which makes me itchy. I can only bear gold or silver ;-).
    I remember thinking I was getting a pharyngitis and started drinking hot beverages but it was burning my throat like hell ! My GP told me since I had no fever it was just a throat infection and it is cold that I need not heat ! Indeed it was really soothing to drink icy water. You should try ;-)

  17. Dear Lubos,

    it seems Christmas time indeed is the time for miracles.

    This is an article from a German main stream media you surely know which openly states that fighting climate change and global climate conferences are a waste of ressources and ressources are better spent to adopt to climate change.


  18. Good for German readers. But people have to get used to the fact that climate changes whether or not they waste trillions of dollars for idiocies because the climate changes independently of them, too.

  19. Right, Lubos. But even Heisenberg may have still had some confusion in his initial paper on quantum mechanics. I am impressed by your German language skills by the way. :-)

  20. I am also impressed by it, especially its most important component as of today, one that is called Google Translate. Amazing piece of software. ;-)

    I've learned German for one year but today, I would estimate my German skills to be close to the monologue "Ich bin Ivan Mladek"


    This monologue is incredibly LOL for Czech audiences because his whole German is made out of various originally German words that have contaminated colloquial Czech over the centuries and almost everyone knows them, plus a few basic words and nouns. Sometimes he uses Slovak or English words as replacements and when the Bavarian lady gets to the podium, he has no clue what she's saying or even what language she's using (and how to say German in German haha).

  21. To my American ears, I would not have known that Lomborg was not a native speaker without a careful listen.

  22. Jon-Anders GrannesJan 3, 2013, 3:30:00 PM

    UNEP/UNFCCC/IPCC etc etc is about global government or global socialism?

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