Guest post by Michael Kile
If Machiavelli set out to devise a strategy to drive the greatest wealth transfer in history, monetizing “climate change” on the pretext of saving planet Earth from an anthropogenic apocalypse would be at the top of his list.
Globalists and climate controllers are very keen on it too. One of them is former “rock-star” central banker, Dr Mark Carney, OC, the UN Secretary General’s new Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance.
Dr Carney: A market in the transition to net zero is now being built…which can accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. It’s turning an existential risk into one of the greatest commercial opportunities of our time. It’s now within our grasp to create a virtuous cycle of innovation and investment for the net zero world that people are demanding, and that future generations deserve. In this way, private finance can bend the arc of history towards climate justice…..and the Glasgow of COP 26 can be reunited with the Glasgow of Adam Smith. (Reith Lecture 4, transcript, page 6, December 26, 2020)
A “net zero world that people are demanding” is a tactic as old as Methuselah. Scare sufficient folk – especially the young – into believing what you want them to believe and soon they are pressuring countries, corporations, pension funds and the gullible into supporting your Net Zero ideology in the name of “climate justice”.
Changes in the weather were once attributed to gods or demons, but no longer. Many folk now assert ad nauseum the developed world is the primary cause of most – if not all – atmospheric variability. The dodgy pseudoscience of “attribution” has fooled them, with help from UN agencies and a MSM obsessed with crises, both real and imagined.
A new religion has been created in the process. Nasty predictions proliferate at a rate not seen since the age of Jeremiah. Follow the weeping prophets and you could reap large profits from one of “the greatest commercial opportunities of all time”, or at least since the Dutch tulip mania. In the utopia of Net Zero everyone will be a winner. All that is required to realise this Green fantasy is an arbitrary price on “carbon” (dioxide) north of US$75 a tonne. As for private finance, be alert. It could include your savings.
Dr Carney: To unlock that market, which could be worth more than $100 billion a year, we need the right infrastructure to connect demand from companies who have or are putting in place net zero goals, with supply of offsets in countries around the world. A new private sector taskforce is working to create this critical market in time for next year’s Glasgow summit. (Reith Lecture 4, transcript, page 6, December 26, 2020).
On Christmas Day last year, two billion people celebrated a divine birth in a manger a long time ago. The next day there was another miracle, an immaculate conception at BBC Radio 4.
A few economists, bankers, bureaucrats and carefully chosen alarmists zoomed in to hear about a “market solution to the climate crisis”. Yes, we can be saved from our sins of emission. Redemption is possible, but only if we have faith, change our values and get with the Great Reset.
Big Climate wants a binding “ratchet mechanism” for recalcitrant countries at the Glasgow UN Conference of the Parties (COP26) in in November. Together For Our Planet evangelists, Extinction Rebellion zealots, President-elect Biden and possibly some of NASA’s brainwashed Climate Kids, are ecstatic at the prospect.
Few can resist the Great Hubris. Promoting salvation – with funny-money and virtue-signalling – is more fun than exposing a global boondoggle. A new chapter is being written for a future edition of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
The BBC Radio 4 event was the climax of The Reith Lectures 2020. Dr Carney, a former Governor of the Bank of England and Canada, was guest speaker. His theme: “how we get what we value”.
The key message was be prepared, for the “world didn’t prepare enough for the pandemic, climate change, and the 2008 financial crisis,” at least according to this Radio 4 tweet.
We have to change the attitudes that led to this “trio of crises”, said Dr Carney.
If we value the present much more than the future then we are less likely to make the necessary investments today, to reduce risk tomorrow.
So despite a history of financial crises that stretches back centuries banks didn’t build adequate rainy-day buffers in advance of the global financial crisis [of 2008].
Or despite overwhelming scientific evidence, society is still underinvesting in addressing climate change, even though actions today will be less costly than those required in the future.
And despite varied and ample warnings, we didn’t invest adequately in preparedness or healthcare capacity for a pandemic.
These tragedies of the horizon won’t be addressed by fixing market imperfections alone. (Dr Carney, Radio 4 tweet, December 3, 2020)
The trouble with “tragedies of the horizon” is that it’s hard to prepare for the future, especially “known unknowns”. Hence we value the present. Dr Carney called it our “recency bias”.
Hindsight has 20/20 vision. If the world “didn’t prepare enough”, maybe it was because foresight is often blind or myopic. Perhaps there are just too many crises that lack simple solutions: atomic weapons, cyber warfare, electoral fraud, human inertia, etc.
As for the mantra that present actions are “less costly than future actions”, it is surely only true if we know what the future will be with great confidence.
What about the “overwhelming scientific evidence” and “remorseless logic of climate physics”? Could it be that what we have here is more “precautionary principle” – not a principle of science – than proof of causation?
That the climate is changing is hardly surprising. It has been doing so ever since the planet acquired an atmosphere. What is surprising is that so many blame it on “carbon” when the controversy is actually over 0.04 per cent of an invisible trace gas, carbon dioxide. Given its vital role in photosynthesis, yearning for a Zero Carbon world is an odd aspiration.
Dr Carney is right: “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”. So plucking future temperatures out of dubious climate models is a big call, as are speculative scenarios about melting icecaps, acidifying oceans and so on.
Dr Carney: Our oceans have become 30 percent more acidic since the Industrial Revolution. Sea levels have risen 20 centimetres over the past century, with the rate of increase doubling in the past two decades. The pace of ice loss in the Arctic and Antarctic has tripled over the last decade. Extreme climate events, hurricanes, wildfires, and flash flooding are multiplying. What had been Biblical is becoming commonplace. (Reith Lecture 4, transcript, page 2, December 26, 2020)
There’s a whiff of argument by false analogy here too. If A is like B, and if A has property P, therefore B has property P. This is true if and only if A really is like B.
Covid-19 is not like climate change, except in a general sense: both are natural phenomena that potentially affect everyone. Both can be ramped easily into a future scare.
Specifically, of course, they are different. Covid-19 is the DNA genome sequence identified by Chinese researchers early last year, and its mutations. Climate change is whatever you want it be: for example, that extreme weather event last year for which the developed world allegedly should pay loss and damage compensation.
Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics at City University, New York, thought so too.
Professor Krugman: Well, Mark, I’d like to ask you to, if possible, argue me out of the pessimism that I’m feeling right now. The overarching issue, you’ve alluded to that, you know, beyond COVID climate change it’s the fundamental place where we need to bring values into effect, we need to get beyond just individual self-interest in our collective interest. If you asked me a year ago, I would have said that the reason we have such a hard time dealing with climate is that it is kind of custom-made to play into our short-sightedness. It’s an issue where the consequences of individual actions are very diffuse. They may be enormous but they’re very widespread, and the time horizon is very long. But COVID is everything that climate is not. The effects are pretty easily traced. We can actually link, you know, infections, deaths, to specific parties, specific events, quite quickly, and then there’s the timescale. Instead of playing out over decades it plays out, often, over weeks. If we can’t do this, if we can’t respond effectively to this kind of crisis, what hope is there for us being able to do the right thing for the even bigger crisis of climate change?
Dr Carney: I think there’s a couple of things that provide some hope, some possibility, but absolutely no assurance. (Reith Lecture 3, transcript, page 8, December 26, 2020)
There’s another difference. Experiments and trials are possible with Covid-19, as Dr Kevin Fong explains here: Breakthrough: the race for the Covid vaccine. Try moving a small planet into your laboratory.
Even a few peer-reviewed papers, such this one -“Causal Counterfactual Theory for the Attribution of Weather and Climate-Related Events” – acknowledge the challenge. Researchers have to conjure up a “counterfactual world”, a hypothetical “control” world assumed to be impacted only by natural “forcings” and variability, to make their case.
Most unfortunately, in the climate sciences, no such sample of Earth-like climate systems is accessible to natural observation and even less so to experimental testing … With such strong limitations on the natural observation side and with in situ experimentation inaccessible, we are left with the only remaining alternative: so-called in silico experimentation. (A. Hannart et al, American Meteorological Society, January 2016, p. 100-106)
In silico, Latin for “in silicon”, refers to “experiments” performed solely on a computer, such as computer modelling. However, there’s “another serious difficulty”:
climate models, including the most detailed GCMs, are simplified representations of reality that are affected by both numerical and physical modeling errors. Thus, the real causal effects may differ from the model causal effects. (Hannart et al, p. 106)
Such admissions seldom appear in the orthodoxy’s media releases. They are the dark secrets in Big Climate’s attic.
Historian Niall Ferguson asked this question:
Mr Ferguson: Well, Mark congratulations on these lectures. As a Glaswegian I was very happy to hear Glasgow and Adam Smith feature throughout. You referenced Greta Thunberg but didn’t make any mention of Bjorn Lomborg. I thought that was a pity because he’s another influential Scandinavian whose views in some ways seem closer to yours, after all, Greta Thunberg called in Davos in January for an immediate cessation of emissions and we immediately found out what that would mean economically because COVID-19 forced very drastic reductions in economic activity. It reduced emissions but it created massive unemployment, so I wonder if you could say a few words about Lomborg’s views, particularly in his most recent book, False Alarm.
Dr Carney: I haven’t read Bjorn Lomborg’s latest book. But I’ll say this, that one of the things about his approach, which is a sort of, which is a classic economic approach, which is actually what I’m arguing against. But I want to say it was 15 or 20 years ago when he came out with his, “Don’t worry about the Climate”. How’s that working out for us? (Reith Lecture 4, transcript, page 8, December 26, 2020)
As for financial markets, it seems ironic that many central banks – who did not see or predict the 2008 crisis – now have incorporated Dr Carney’s infatuation with climate change into their mission statements. Once upon a time they focused on managing inflation, now they arguably are creating it.
Dr Carney: “Some people did see it coming but those who were in authority tried to convince themselves that it was unlikely to happen, as opposed to asking the question what happens if it happens?” (Reith Lecture 2, transcript, page 14, December 9, 2020)
Steve Baker, a Conservative MP for Wycombe and member of the UK Treasury Select Committee, was worried about magic money and the free-lunch syndrome.
About one in every five US dollars that exists today was created ex nihilo last year. The central bank pledge to keep interest rates ultra-low for a very long time has created asset-price inflation in many markets. According to Jeremy Grantham, we’re witnessing ‘one of the great bubbles of financial history’. Do the banks have an exit strategy?
Mr Baker: Mark reminded us that public money is not unlimited but the pandemic’s accelerated a phenomenon we’ve seen over the last decade. It’s become the norm for the governments to issue debt and for another part of the state, the Central Bank, to buy that government debt out of newly created money from nothing. With this money the government pays its obligations. Now, I would say this encourages people to believe it’s possible for there to be such a thing as a free lunch.
Anita Anand (presenter): It’s one of those things we’ve heard, you know, there’s no magic money tree, but now we seem to have discovered a magic money tree. Is your worry that culturally we can now not un-discover said magic money tree?
Mr Baker: That’s absolutely right. ….I do think what we’ve seen here now is that government finances are where they are, we’re able to finance this deficit because of the extent of QE, and I think that is teaching the public there’s a free lunch, that there’s something for nothing. (Reith Lecture 3, transcript, page 6, December 16, 2020)
In the arcane world of central bank “values” it’s also permissible to penalise prudent savers by depriving them of a fair rate of interest, while encouraging governments and speculators to borrow even more money. Their argument: trust us, for it will deliver “greater good” in the future.
Addressing an audience of bankers and financiers at Coutts Bank in July 2019 about the “risks and rewards” posed by climate change, Dr Carney argued that capitalism could help “save the planet”. It was part of the solution.
Is that why he jumped out of the monetary frying pan into the climate fire? Later that year, António Guterres, the UN Secretary General, announced his appointment as a Special Envoy. It was a long way from Fort Smith, his birthplace in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
Perhaps there is another reason. Somewhere in a feminist manifesto it is written: “behind every great man is an even greater woman”. On his appointment as the Bank of England’s youngest governor eight years ago, his wife Diana Fox Carney was described by Jon Swain in The Daily Telegraph as an eco-warrior who says banks are rotten”. (November 26, 2012)
Journalist Homa Khaleeli (here) wrote at the time that Ms Fox Carney was “keen to get her opinions heard; some of them had a “distinctly left-wing slant.” She was – and probably still is – an “environmental campaigner”.
There was another media moment last December. Prince Harry suggested Covid-19 was nature’s way of punishing humankind for creating climate change.
“Somebody said to me at the beginning of the pandemic, it’s almost as though Mother Nature has sent us to our rooms for bad behaviour.” He urged people to imagine being a raindrop to help repair the Earth.
Prince Harry: Every single raindrop that falls from the sky relieves the parched ground. What if every one of us was a raindrop? If every single one of us cared? We do, because we have to, because at the end of the day nature is our life source. (Reuters, December 2, 2020)
What if, indeed. That’s quite a lot of water. There are 7,800 million people on the planet today, with about 10,000 million projected by 2050, Net Zero’s target year.
The expanding human biomass also worried Bertrand Russell, the BBC’s first Reith lecturer. He wrote an essay on it in 1963, when there were only 3,200 million of us. Of all the long-run problems facing the world, ‘this problem of population is the most important and fundamental, for, until it is solved, other measures of amelioration are futile” (Population Pressure and War).
What if nature is punishing us for our proliferation, not climate change. What if we are the elephant in the global greenhouse?
After all, population growth and demand for protein is driving industrial-scale animal farming, Chinese live-markets and the spread of zoonotic diseases like Covid-19. Three out of four new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals.
What if you have not taken the St Francis Pledge or signed the Catholic Climate Covenant? What if you want to go further?
What if today’s climate alarmism is driven more by fear of the unknown – and the unknowable – than verifiable data?
What if the only vaccine that can inoculate us against climate-controlling grandiosity – the UN calls it “ambition” – is a daily dose of humility?
What if the planet’s climate – like corona virus and anthropogenic population growth – is beyond our control? What if nature controls us, not vice versa?
February 15, 2021
A version of this essay was posted at Quadrant Online on January 20, 2021.