The Czech president Vaclav Klaus was among the speakers at the opening day of the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, the world’s largest gathering of global warming skeptics.

The event, entitled Global Warming: was it ever really a crisis?, bills itself as an antidote to what it describes as “climate change alarmism”.

In his remarks last night, the Czech leader claimed European governments were in the thrall of environmentalists and even drew comparisons with communism.

Speaking exclusively to bsdlive a spokesperson for Greenpeace said: “The Czech president has a long and inglorious record of saying that the science is wrong but the vast majority of scientists in this area are behind the position that climate change is happening and it is because of the burning of fossil fuels.

“It’s tempting to ignore these people and just get on with the business of reducing emissions for future generations, but they do damage to the agenda. The science is settled on this issue.”

The conference runs 8-10 March.