10 June 1998
Sir Arthur C Clarke, CBE, Author, Chancellor, University of Moratuwa, Chancellor, International Space University, Fellow, Kings College, London
Contribution to the Debate in the form of a copy of a letter to Judge C. G. Weeramantry Vice President, International Court of Justice, The Hague
8 October 1997
It is indeed a privilege and an honour to have myself quoted in a ruling of the International Court of Justice! I much appreciate you sending me a copy of the September 25, 1997 judgment on the "Gabcikovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary/Slovakia)".
It certainly is an incredibly complex case and I did no more than glance at the other parts of the document. I found your own ruling extremely interesting and very relevant to the state of the world today, in particular to the recent smog disaster in South-East Asia, which will surely be the subject of submissions to your court.
Also in the same mail I received another document which deals with an even graver matter which the court is already concerned with - the question of global warming. My friend Professor F.S. Singer (who I brainwashed fifty years ago into becoming a space cadet, with such effect that he later became Chief Scientist of the U.S. Weather Organization) has just written a book (Global Warming: Unfinished Business, to be published shortly by the Independent Institute, Oakland, California) which I think should have widespread circulation. He flatly contradicts many of the assertions made in this very complex field, and points out the danger of legislation, which may not only be disastrous to many countries in the developing world, but which may actually do more harm than good if enforced.
I am sure you will endorse a statement which I came across many years ago: I have yet to see any situation, however complicated, which on careful examination does not become even more complicated. This is certainly true of the global warming problem, and ironically I have also received a video tape entitled How to avert the coming Ice Age which presents yet another argument. It is generally agreed that we are now in an interglacial period (Civilization is an interlude between Ice Ages - Will Durant, Story of Civilization). Even more alarming, there is considerable evidence that the switchover can take place not in millennia or even centuries - but in decades! A video tape titled Stopping the Next Ice Age, put out by Hamaker-Weaver Publishers (P O Box 1961, Burlingame, Ca 94010) argues that increasing the CO2 content may actually trigger the next Ice Age!
My friend and neighbour, the aeronautical/agricultural engineer, Ray Wijewardene, who I expect you know, has pointed out something that I had not realized viz. that the Stirling (hot air) engine, which was invented almost two hundred years ago, is more efficient than internal combustion engines, and much less polluting, since any source of heat can be used, and the combustion products are not incorporated in the power cycle. It is a mystery to me why this has not been developed for automobiles: presumably the vested interests are too great. Also, it requires virtually no lubrication, so Big Oil would be doubly unhappy!
If have been asked to address the leaders of ASEAN at their summit conference in Kuala Lumpur, December 14-15 (the day before my eightieth birthday!) As I can no longer travel because of Post-Polio Syndrome and other illnesses, I am making a thirty minute video tape. As the subject is ASEAN 2020, I will obviously be raising some of these issues.
There is perhaps an even more important matter I am concerned with the dawning age of Infinite Energy. After initial skepticism, I am now convinced that the claims of the Cold Fusion advocates are well founded far too many results from reputable labs have confirmed the existence of new energy sources, many of them probably nothing to do with fusion. I attach a leaflet which will give you a quick overview.
Some of these systems are now about to go commercial, and have secured investments of many millions of dollars. This implies nothing less than the end of the fossil fuel age, with all its enormous political/economic repercussions, especially in the Third World. On the positive side, it could mean the end of such disasters as the South-East Asia smog alert, the pollution of our cities - and even give us the power to avert another Ice Age!
I am sorry this has turned out to be a rather long brief - though as a lawyer, you must be inured to this sort of thing!
I look forward very much to your reaction, and to meeting you on your next return to Sri Lanka.
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