Name: Jilong Rao
What is your background?
I realized the harmony of both Eastern and Western moral values in my childhood. Reading taught me influential thinkers from China and the West shared similar ideas about natural philosophy and natural law. In 1957, when I was a sophomore in college, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) labeled me a rightist. They then sent me, at the age of 18, to do hard labor in the jungles and coal mines. In 1962, they dropped the charges against me for deliberate anti-Party behavior. But their Dang’an* still recorded me as a rightist who is ideologically anti-party and anti-socialism. It means they allowed their university to control me.
I secretly wrote a book, at nighttime, during the bloody ten-year catastrophe (Cultural Revolution). Science Press published my book Thermodynamics in Geochemistry in Beijing in 1979 after the Cultural Revolution. By the end of 1983, I left China to work as a visiting professor at the University of Toronto in Canada. A grant chaired by professor Greg Anderson paid for my living and research. This started my new life, that had relative freedom in Western academia and was not completely under the CCP’s control.
Since 1985, I have cooperated with professor Yves Tardy of Université Louis Pasteur, France. After years of preparation, China and France officially started a joint scientific program for global environmental modeling since 1988. We were named chief scientists of the program. At that time, I was the chairman of the Department of Environmental Science at Qingdao University and a professor at the Beijing Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The U.S. NSF was also involved in the program in terms of funding and researchers. The June 4 massacre in 1989 brought the entire program to be aborted.
Early 1990, I accepted a research position at Yale University. Several grants from NSF and DOE, chaired by professor Robert A. Berner, paid for the position. This help enabled me and my wife to leave China quickly after the June 4 massacre. I then received my PhD from Yale University in 1994. For 30 years, I constantly warned the academic and political circles to be vigilant against the threat of communism. Unfortunately, these warnings didn’t work. Hence my book Cultural Distortion: Evolution of Socialism and Crisis of Civilization in My Eyes emerges.
Since when and why are you interested in climate change?
Since 1985, when Professor Yves Tardy and I started to prepare the scientific program for global environmental modelling. We focused on the field of computer modelling and analyses of the global geochemical cycle. It was also preparing the installation of permanent observations of global environmental change in large river basins. This program studies many geological factors and their effects on geochemical cycle. In fact, those are also on both the solar heat on the Earth’s surface and the heat distribution on Earth. These changes will affect the circulations of the ocean and atmosphere. Such circulations themselves are not our focus in the program, even though they are much more important than the greenhouse effect in term of climate change.
Later, IPCC (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement got my attention. I felt something was terribly wrong since then…
How did your views on climate change evolve?
My personal view on climate change has been stable since I became an earth scientist. Climate changes over time. There has always been and will always be climate change (until Earth’s Doomsday). The biggest climate change on earth was the Ice Age. There have been at least five significant ice ages throughout the Earth’s history. The last glaciation ended about 12,000 years ago, and the earth is currently in an interglacial. Climate change involves too many complicated physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes, which are far from being understood fully by humans now. Nature controls all key drivers of climate change.
We (me and some peers) believe that humans do not yet have the ability to accurately predict or change future climate. Someone may not think so, this is normal. People can exchange different opinions to promote scientific development. But no government should set any ‘policies’ based on the opinion of one side.
Is climate change a big issue in your country and how do you notice this?
First, we must clarify the term climate change in the context of this question. Decades ago, someone confused people by changing deliberately their claim of ‘man-made global warming’ to ‘climate change’. This is a usual trick, which has changed the meaning of many words with political conspiracy. Similar language chaos has occurred in other fields as well, and more is coming. Some people want to change the entire culture eventually. The so called climate emergency is part of environmentalism that does evil, using people’s good wishes of protecting the environment.
Now to answer your questions about America’s climate change issue……this administration has developed a fundamental national policy based on the Climate Emergency. This has given rise to a series of self-harmful and even suicide policies. So, the United States is in rapid decline. They are putting this great country and the world in grave danger.
What would climate policy ideally look like in your view?
My direct answer: none. If I were the climate minister, I would resign immediately. No country should have such a ridiculous government position. Sadly, we are forced to use the term ‘climate policy’ due to the absurd behaviour of ridiculous politicians and pseudoscientists. Climate changes over time. Nature controls all key drivers of climate change, not humans. So, no government is qualified to formulate any climate policy. Of course, government may have policies to handle weather disasters. These policies should be more scientific.
What is your motivation to sign the CLINTEL World Climate Declaration?
Cultural distortion is destroying human civilization while numbing its victims. One of its manifestations is the creation of social chaos in the name of science. For exposing pseudoscience and saving the next generations, time is running out. CLINTEL is a powerful platform for this mission. Thank you very much for writing the Declaration and organizing this signing event.
*The Chinese word Dang’an literally means record/archive. It is a political archive system that records the political attitudes and performances of the people in mainland China. The CCP’s cadres establish and edit it and the relevant people themselves have no right to consult it.