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Interview for the youth programme “Jasno in glasno”, broadcast by Radiotelevizija Slovenija

Ljubljana, 03/16/2007  |  interview

For the youth programme “Jasno in glasno”, broadcast by RTV Slovenija, journalist Gorazd Dominko spoke with the President of the Republic, Dr Janez Drnovšek, on the topic of climate change.

Broadcast on 15 March 2007 at 5.30 p.m.

Gorazd Dominko: Mr President, thank you very much for your time. Let's get started. Tell me, when did you first become aware of the fact that mankind is headed for an ecological catastrophe? What event moved you so deeply that you started to deal with it more intensely by drawing attention to it?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: We have all known for some time now that we are polluting the planet. In the last ten years we have been talking a lot about exhaust gases and the heating-up of the earth’s atmosphere. For a certain period of time we have considered that it represented a certain issue, a certain problem that we will somehow manage to solve as part of our development. However, years have passed, and we have yet to do anything of significance about it. Ten years ago, the Kyoto Protocol was signed, but even then it was insufficient. Today we realise that it lags behind actual needs by a substantial margin. What is more, not even the Kyoto Protocol is being applied throughout the world. Some of the largest polluters, such as the USA and China, have refused to sign it. In the meantime we find that climate change is accelerating and becoming increasingly obvious, and that extreme weather conditions and natural disasters are proliferating at an alarming pace. Mankind, however, has not managed to undertake any effective action or change its modus operandi to avoid polluting the atmosphere to such a degree. Therefore I have considerably increased my activities in this field recently, particularly in the last year and a half.

Dominko: How do you, as President, contribute to reducing pollution in your way of living? Do you, for example, turn off the lights regularly each day and use less electricity?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: In general, I use very little electricity, and so I could hardly cut it any further. However, everyone must make a contribution, and so I make the effort as well. I myself, however, can do a great deal more in a wider, international context. I try to focus on this issue because we are running short of time, and it is therefore absolutely necessary to start awakening mankind’s consciousness now and in a very resolute manner, so I plan to implement several related activities in the world in the coming months.

Dominko: Have you seen Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth”?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Yes, I have seen it and I liked it very much. It contributes a lot to the raising of consciousness and awakening of mankind in relation to these issues. And Al Gore is certainly a man who has clearly dedicated himself fully to this task and wants to awaken mankind and directs all his activities to this end; he lectures, travels the world, he made a film and wrote a book about it ….. and because he is a well-known personality, he can of course do a lot more than many other people – people listen to him more and therefore we need more people like him.

Dominko: Yes, I agree.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I believe that people should join in such activity as his, since an individual or even a country like Slovenia cannot do anything in this respect alone. No matter how much attention we pay to exhaust gases and the atmosphere, if the USA and China continue with what they are doing now, they will of course not only pollute their atmosphere but also ours. Therefore, we must do something to stop them. It is there that the battle will be decided. The European Union will have to do more as well, both at its own level and also internationally, because it is precisely at the global level that leadership is lacking in this field. Nobody is filling this void. Mankind must organise itself and take a common stand, but there is no such leadership today. The future of the mankind is at stake, but mankind has not succeeded to-date in getting organised.

Dominko: Thank you very much for the interview.

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Thank you too.