by FRANCO BATTAGLIA
It is not the CO₂ levels that influence temperatures but the exact opposite
The Greek academic: It’s the hen or egg dilemma applied to the climate. Italy? Beautiful but it’s difficult to do science
Demetris Koutsoyiannis is Professor Emeritus of Hydrology at the National Technical University of Athens.
He was Dean of the School of Civil Engineering, Head of the Hydrology department and of the Water Resources Development laboratory. In 2009 he was awarded the Henry Darcy Medal by the European Geosciences Union, and in 2014 the Dooge Medal, an international hydrology prize, bestowed by the International
Association of Hydrological Sciences, UNESCO and the World Meteorological Organization.
He was also a professor of Hydraulics at the post-graduate technical training school for officers of the Hellenic Army, and a visiting professor in London, at the
Imperial College, and in Italy, at the Sapienza University of Rome and the University of Bologna.
On his last visit to Italy he was slapped in the face.
Tell us about your latest experience in Italy, professor.
In 2019 I was invited to two Italian universities, in Rome and Bologna. In Rome I gave a lecture on time irreversible processes; yet, curiously, most of the questions I was asked were about climate. In Bologna I had initially proposed a lecture on stochastics, but the university asked me for a topic suitable for a more general audience, and, among the various alternatives I had proposed, they chose the climate. Curiously, my lecture attracted the attention of a daily newspaper (La Repubblica) and a blog connected to it – Oca Sapiens, edited by some Sylvie Coyaud. They labelled me a “denier.” I must say that I enjoyed this label, even though I know that it is fully consistent with Goebbels’ “principles of propaganda”. The Oca blog, in addition to the usual nonsense one reads in this type of blog, contained several “revelations” which were gross lies.»
The Oca wrote that I had received a prize worth tens of thousands of dollars from “Big Oil & Coal”, that is, from an organization connected to multinational oil and coal. Furthermore, Oca provided instructions to professors and students of the university to undertake activism during my lecture.
It also happened to me with a conference that I was supposed to hold at the Accademia dei Lincei and which, following the rumblings launched by La Repubblica, the Academy cancelled.
In fact, the university cancelled my lecture. Perhaps they were intimidated by that propaganda. Or perhaps they wanted to protect me, even though I told them that I had no fear: having been the Dean of my School in Athens, I often had to manage student protests, sometimes even violent ones.
If it can console you, know that others, after having complained and filed lawsuits, obtained compensation and public apologies; two years ago La Repubblica deleted that blog. But tell us about your research on climate.
Allow me to start by describing the latest result, published in an article where the causal problem between the increase in CO₂ and the increase in temperature is compared to the hen or egg problem. This is a continuation of two articles (published by the Royal Society), which deal with a new stochastic methodology that has several applications, one of which is on the climate system.
Since the latter attracted widespread interest, we proceeded to delve into the temperature/CO₂ case, which can be thought as a hen/egg type problem because each of the two can be the cause of the other.
However, what emerged from our study is that variations in CO₂ concentration cannot be the cause of temperature variations, but exactly the opposite. This direction of causality is valid for the entire period covered by modern instrumental observations (more than 60 years) on all time scales. We have shown that, compared to what was happening in 1750 (i.e. at the minimum of the Little Ice Age), today there are additional carbon emissions, but only 1/6 of them are due to fossil fuels used in human activities, while 5/6 are perfectly explained by the natural increase in temperature.
That first the temperature increases and then the atmospheric concentration of CO₂ is well known throughout the geological history of the planet: a warmer climate leads to greater emissions from the enormous quantity of CO₂ dissolved in the oceans. You have found that it is also valid today, and that the anthropic contribution is a minority.
What were the reactions of colleagues?
Not everyone was convinced of our work but, of these, the activists immediately mobilized by putting pressure on the Royal Society to retract our works, already accepted and published. This behaviour is deplorable: on the subject of climate, any research that contrasts with the mainstream narrative tends to be rejected or, if it manages to penetrate between the cracks in the wall erected by the system, and to get published, then the activists push for the work to be retracted.
Have you ever had articles already accepted and published retracted?
No,this hasn’t happened to me. I have been publishing papers on climate for twenty years and so far none of my works has been retracted despite intensive attempts. But I know that this tactic has been effective in many other articles by my colleagues. We live in an era of decadence, where diversity in everything is encouraged and promoted – for example we are informed of 68 different genders among which people should feel free to choose – but diversity of scientific opinions is strictly prohibited. Science, which was once the free search for new knowledge, has now been pronounced “settled”.
Yes, moreover in a field – that of climate – which is still in its infancy. In your opinion, is climate change a political agenda?
Yes, that’s it. Climate politics was founded and developed by the Rockefellers – yes, the very personification of the “Big Oil” evoked by Oca. It was launched into international politics in 1974 by their affiliate, Henry Kissinger, and is currently coordinated by Kissinger’s student, Klaus Schwab, through the World Economic Forum and the United Nations. One of the most ironic facts is that the most fanatical supporters of the agenda consider themselves leftists: I imagine that Antonio
Gramsci, whom I read and admired as a student, is turning in his grave.
How did you react to the Italian experience?
I perceived the events in a very positive way, as a source of inspiration, if you like. They gave me the opportunity to study the related historical developments, in Italy and in the world, and the relationship between science and politics and, in particular, the totalitarian facets of politics. I also wrote a work, available on the internet from my web page, which I presented at a lecture at the University of Bologna.
Can you tell us about it in brief?
I compared historical fascist practices with modern activism, which clearly violates the Italian Constitution, whose article 33 says that art and science are free, and free is their teaching. I compared the consensus of professors in Mussolini’s time (obtained through an oath of loyalty to the fascist regime) with the modern presumed consensus on climate, obtained through more modern methods, which still include the traditional practices of silencing or eliminating any opinion that is discordant with the narrative that those who hold the power to control information intend to convey. I continued this research by focusing on the history of the climate change agenda and managed to find its historical roots, which I later presented in Athens in a lecture entitled “The political origin of the climate change
agenda”. Since the cancellation of my lecture in Bologna, I have produced ten articles on the climate.»
Do you retain any resentment towards Italy?
On the contrary! I admire the Italian hydrological community, which is the most advanced in Europe. On a professional level, I have more friends in Italy than in Greece. And, of course, I love Italian food and wine, the best in the world. If I didn’t live in Greece and had the choice, that would be Italy. But beware, both Italy and Greece have been seriously affected by modern intellectual and moral decadence. Furthermore, it certainly cannot be said that our countries are sovereign: I see them rather as vassals and intellectually hegemonized by a low-level culture developed elsewhere. I imagine that Gramsci wouldn’t like this either. I believe that the people of both our countries have a responsibility, greater than other peoples, to resist decadence and once again promote the classical ethical and intellectual values that our ancestors developed and which have been the foundation of modern civilization.