Barry Brill: For Billionaires, Climate Lobbying is Hot

Reposted from the Breaking Views Blog

Barry Brill

There was once a time when climate change was about science. No longer.

It is now about money and politics. Not just some of it. All of it.

The peak event of the worldwide money-politics intersection is the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. The 2023 “Global Risks” meeting is being held this week – with a dominant theme (again) being the campaign to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.

Like COP meetings, the Davos meeting is the very epitome of hypocrisy.

More than a thousand private jet aeroplanes serviced last year’s meeting. As Greenpeace says: “The rich and powerful flock to Davos in ultra-polluting, socially inequitable private jets to discuss climate and inequality behind closed doors”.

Private jet flights are by far the most emissions-intensive mode of transport per passenger-kilometre yet invented. Every Davos flight averaged CO2 emissions equivalent to those produced by about 350,000 average cars for a week.

53% of these private flights were for short-haul trips of less than 466 miles, while 38% were under 311 miles, according to the report. The French government has already banned short-haul commercial flights where “green alternatives ” are available and New Zealand may soon follow suit.

There will now be a week of fine dining: air-flown filet, frenched cutlets, truffle ice cream, the very best cheeses. Despite this, Davos Man will continue to staunchly advocate veganism – and eating proteins from insects – to “save the planet”.

Oxfam tracked the investments of 125 billionaires finding that they average 393 Mt of CO2 every year, which is equivalent to the whole of France and “makes the average billionaire’s annual emissions a million times higher than a person in the poorest 90% of the world’s population”.

The only rational conclusion to be drawn from from all this cognitive dissonance is that these wealthy people do not really believe a word of what they constantly preach about climate change.

They demand pain and sacrifice rules “for thee but not for me”. They say one thing and do another. As the old cliche has it: their actions speak louder than words.

So, they must have some other underlying objective. But what is it?

Money, money, money, money….

On Tuesday, US climate czar John Kerry told the Davos gathering that the WEF Climate Strategy was modelled on the global Covid vaccine rollout, and needed a lot more money:

“So, how do we get there? Well, the lesson I’ve learned in the last years and I learned it as secretary [of State] and I’ve learned it since, reinforced in spades, is: money, money, money, money, money, money, money. And I’m sorry to say that.”

Kerry is not touting ‘green’ investments. He is talking to philanthropists about philanthropy:

“We have to do it on a massive basis and the key to that one is philanthropy…. I mean yes technology, yes exciting new initiatives, yes organising winning races politically…but we have to go further.”

Go further than organising winning races politically? What on earth could the WEF have in mind?

An urge to be a super-hero?

In this week’s Newsweek, an Austrian economics professor contends that “Climate Activism Isn’t About the Planet. It’s About the Boredom of the Bourgeoisie”. The opening paragraph reads:

“The downfall of capitalism will not come from the uprising of an impoverished working class but from the sabotage of a bored upper class. This was the view of the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter in 1942. Schumpeter believed that at some point in the future, an educated elite would have nothing left to struggle for and will instead start to struggle against the very system that they themselves live in.”

The op-ed argues that the green movement is not a reflection of planetary crisis but, rather, a crisis of meaning for the affluent.

The favourite fantasy of the Western upper class is that the end of the world is imminent and can only be averted if we fundamentally change the way we live. But “we” does not include the seriously wealthy. No. Their heroic role is to make all this change happen. To be leaders. History will record that it was their vision and grit that ensured the future of the human race.

Prof Schoellhammer says it doesn’t matter to them that every alarmist prediction has proven to be wrong – because facts can be trumped by “morality”. Extreme predictions pander to an ersatz-religion that allows the super-rich to simultaneously enjoy their wealth and lecture the rest of the world from a position of moral superiority.

Inter-generational guilt also plays a role. The Newsweek article reveals that the unspeakable “Just Stop Oil” group, who throw ketchup over priceless paintings, are on the payroll of Aileen Getty, the granddaughter of legendary oil-tycoon Jean Paul Getty. Who knew?

The Rockefeller Foundation, created from fabled oil wealth[1], has pledged to make the fight against climate change central to all of its work, including all of its many operations and investments.

Is this article persuasive? Could swathes of “the top1%” really be so ego-needy or guilt-infused? Are they virtue-signalling, or promoting/protecting their investments?

Buying alarm and panic

John Kerry is quite open about financing the political campaigns of candidates who support draconian climate policies. No left-wing candidate anywhere in the developed world could get elected in 2023 without first prostrating themselves before the shrine of climate change alarm.

But buying politicians is not enough unless they can get re-elected.

Public opinion has to be bought as well, and that is a long hard grind : the press, the electronic media, government officials, celebrities, pollsters, academics, trade unions, bloggers, social media gatekeepers, teachers, influencers, the entertainment industry, etc – in every region and district in the English-speaking world. It all adds up to serious money.

In the last five years, just three US billionaires (Soros, Bloomberg, Bezos) have funded NGOs to employ at least 30,000 full-time-equivalent climate campaigners. The numbers of NGO employees funded by wealthy individuals and charitable foundations worldwide runs into the millions[2]. @SDGaction, an NGO, boasts that its members accumulated 100 million ‘transformative actions’ and stunts in 2021 alone, and thereby changed the world.

These activists work all day, every day, on lobbying everybody, everywhere, to demand more extreme and extensive climate policies. The planned outcome is to overwhelm and control the public debate – or to ensure that there is no public debate – and to spread cultures and politics of chronic self-deception in respect of all issues that are related to climate change. They have been remarkably successful.

The Newsweek article has this scary disclosure:

“At the “Climate Action Summit” in 2018, two dozen billionaire-backed foundations pledged 4 billion dollars for climate-change lobbying.

Some of them, like the Hewlett Foundation, are directly funding journalists at the Associated Press for “climate reporting,” while foundations associated with the Packard and Rockefeller families have been backing the journalistic endeavour “Covering Climate Now,” which “collaborates with journalists and newsrooms to produce more informed and urgent climate stories” and is financing hundreds of media outlets.”

Two years after that Summit, Jeff Bezos alone committed $10 billion to fund activists, NGOs and scientists, because he believes (wrongly) that “Earth’s climate was changing faster than predicted by the scientific community five years ago”.

Just imagine how much propaganda will be bought with that ten thousand million dollars!

For years, billionaire Michael Bloomberg has been quietly funding private attorneys to work in public attorneys-general offices in Democratic states.Those privately-funded attorneys take climate cases against oil companies and the like – in the name of the State.

Forbes reports how billionaires Tom Steyer, Hank Paulson and Bloomberg successfully bribed US climate scientists to re-position the most extreme IPCC scenario (RCP8.5) to be mis-characterised as “business as usual”.

Billionaire Larry Fink has diverted trillions of dollars in BlackRock client funds away from companies that haven’t yet promised to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Big questions

While these few anecdotes have found their way into the press, the bulk of lobbying activity is inherently secretive – sunshine is too effective as a disinfectant. So, I have no doubt that the above examples are merely the tip of the iceberg. They are the well-publicised actions of white American men who are household names (cue Bill GatesMark Benioff,) and exclude the other 2,667 billionaires (cue Laureen Jobs) counted by Forbes magazine.

You might think that this barely-imaginable cataract of cash could buy almost anything in this money-conscious world. Can it buy scientific research grants? Access to scientific journals? Resolutions at conferences of public-sector scientists? The sympathetic ear of UN officials? Consensus at Davos?

What would happen if all this billionaire philanthropy was to be withdrawn from politicians, bureaucrats, environmental organisations, newspapers, broadcasters, etc?

Would there be anything left of the climate change emergency? Or would it quietly fade away?

References:

[1] John D Rockefeller, the world’s richest man a century ago, founded Standard Oil (forerunner of both Exxon-Mobil and Caltex) and is seen as the father of the global oil industry.
[2] “Charities” is now the third biggest employment sector in the UK.

Barry Brill OBE JP LL.M(Hons) M.ComLaw is a former MP and Minister of Energy, Petrocorp director, and chair of the Gas Council, Power NZ, ESANZ, and EMCO. He is presently the Chairman of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.

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strativarius
January 22, 2023 2:17 am

Science was the first casualty. It provides authority for the narrative and the alarm that’s being ramped up on a daily basis.

Keir Starmer wants in with the Davos set…

“”Remarkably, the potential future Prime Minister told former BBC journalist Emily Maitlis at the conference that he prefers Davos to Westminster, saying that the seat of power in London is “too constrained”.

“It’s closed and we are not having meaning… once you get out of Westminster, whether it’s Davos or anywhere else, you actually engage with people that you can see working with in the future. Westminster is just a tribal, shouting place,” the Labour leader said.””

https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2023/01/21/mask-has-slipped-potential-future-pm-keir-starmer-says-he-prefers-davos-over-westminster/

He’s pledged to shut down North Sea gas production – pronto

We’re in for some tough times

Last edited 14 days ago by strativarius
max
Reply to  strativarius
January 22, 2023 7:46 am

When they’re dumping Billions into “lobbying”, and not research, the plan is kickbacks to the politicians of their choice, and not any “solution”.

Bryan A
Reply to  max
January 22, 2023 12:14 pm

I can give those bored billionaires something to alleviate their boredom…
Liquidate all their holdings,
Donate ALL $ave a $100,000 start up nest egg,
Donate some of the remainder to a tech companies as R/D capital
Donate the rest to health research

And take their nest egg and start new businesses from the ground up.

If they’re so bored they need to destroy what made them wealthy, start over and enjoy instead of destroy.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  strativarius
January 22, 2023 8:00 am

Well it is Labour policy that UK electricity should be net zero by 2030 though they have no realistic idea how to achieve that.* He may be gullible enough to believe that shutting down gas production will. Certainly Ed Minibrain, his climate Tsar, seems to think it’s that easy.

*It’s impossible

Last edited 14 days ago by Dave Andrews
Hivemind
Reply to  Dave Andrews
January 22, 2023 2:44 pm

They don’t mean zero carbon emissions, they mean zero electricity. It’s easy to do, just flick the big red switch.

Bill Toland
January 22, 2023 3:39 am

The hypocrisy of the green elite has always been evident. The climate rules that they wish to impose upon everybody else will never be followed by them. All of the greens that I know personally have carbon footprints which are enormously bigger than mine. Their attitude is that they have money and they don’t see why their lives should be compromised in any way. They see the solution to climate change is for poor people to reduce their (already low) carbon footprints so that they don’t have to.

Last edited 14 days ago by Bill Toland
Scissor
Reply to  Bill Toland
January 22, 2023 5:40 am

So many billionaires, so many unaccounted trillions of public money misplaced and still they are not satisfied.

Truly, they would burn down the world to rule over its ashes.

Last edited 14 days ago by Scissor
strativarius
Reply to  Scissor
January 22, 2023 5:52 am

They will never be satiated

“All our environmental problems become easier to solve with fewer people, and harder – and ultimately impossible – to solve with ever more people.”
Sir David Attenborough

https://populationmatters.org/

You may have heard of one of their patrons at least; one Paul Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University. 

Decaf
January 22, 2023 4:37 am

I’m happy when I read these articles. I pass the info along and the more I talk to people about these facts the more people have come clean they don’t believe this climate fear nonsense. I think those duped by the corona, will be quick to sign up as non-believers to climate.

Graeme
Reply to  Decaf
January 22, 2023 4:45 am

I agree but I think we should call ourselves Climate Realists rather than non believers or deniers.

strativarius
Reply to  Graeme
January 22, 2023 5:55 am

Climate anthro-atheist?

It’s all nature, after all

Ron
Reply to  Decaf
January 22, 2023 7:32 am

Deaths from all climate and natural disasters continues to plummet. Pretty hard to cry wolf as the climate continues to improve! Yawn..

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Ron
January 23, 2023 4:41 pm

THERE ARE NO “CLIMATE DISASTERS.”

Please stop playing their game.

Rick C
Reply to  Decaf
January 22, 2023 8:49 am

It is my hope to live long enough to see these billionaires realize that all that money has been wasted on a false and devastatingly harmful cause. I don’t expect there will be any actual contrition or accountability, but maybe they’ll at least shut the hell up.

MarkW
Reply to  Rick C
January 22, 2023 12:51 pm

They’ll just find a new parade to rush to the front of.

Nik
January 22, 2023 4:50 am

“Climate change” has always been about power, control, and money, only.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nik
January 22, 2023 5:33 am

8ndeed, it is about a change in social climate.

SasjaL
January 22, 2023 5:01 am

One of many reasons why lobby activities should be completly banned everywhere. It’s almost only in the interest of financial interests today and few benefits to the public, if any. The lubrication of the politicians makes changes for the better very difficult …

Btw, the Android FireFox web browser do not allow me to accept/store cookies from this web site. Probably due to Al Gores ‘investments’ in the Mozilla org. The result is that I have to login at WordPress everytime I make a comment. Clicking on the cookie ‘close and accept’ only reload the page and nothing else.

MarkW
Reply to  SasjaL
January 23, 2023 3:17 pm

Are you arguing that people don’t have a right to try and influence their government?
Or is your position that only people you disagree with should be banned from trying to influence government?

Tom Halla
January 22, 2023 5:05 am

This is as ominous as the Recovered Memory/Satanic Panic of the 1980’s and early 90’s. Most of the former adherents to the movement avoid ever mentioning their former holy cause.

Marty
January 22, 2023 5:18 am

More years ago than I care to count when I was in college I had a class on utopias. There was an odd consistent flaw that ran through all the utopian dreams. The people who wanted to establish utopias always saw themselves as the leaders of their new society. They would be the philosopher kings who would do all the manipulating. The rules wouldn’t apply to them.

In real life events often don’t work out that way. In Lenin’s worker’s paradise the foot soldiers of Communism died under Stalin. In the French revolution the liberal aristocrats calling for reforms at the Estates General lost their heads. Even on a small scale when an idealistic group of California hippies tried to establish a socialist utopia in rural Tennessee they just wound up living in small town rural poverty. I guess what I’m trying to say is that these Masters of the Universe Billionaires had better be careful what they wish for.

mews
January 22, 2023 5:41 am

Essentially he is describing the British cobra problem often cited as an example of a perverse incentive. Cobra bites were a problem, the British administration in India decided that paying a bounty for dead cobras would reduce the problem. Being smart the Indians started breeding cobras to collect the bounty. The British stopped the bounty payments and the cobras were released, leading to more than ever in the vicinity.

The incentive is not to “solve climate change”, that would mean the funds dry up. The money from the billionaires will solve nothing but it will feed the beast and the sounds from the alarmists will become yet more shrill as they fight for the scraps from billionaires table in an increasingly crowded market.

One line really stood out to be in a recent News article.

Another panelist, United Way Worldwide President Angela Williams, said policymakers need to find more approachable ways to present their ideas. As one example, she said the prospect of banning gas stoves can be a difficult subject for many poor Americans and needs to be couched the right way.

That line I highlighted “needs to be couched in the right way“, openly admitting they intend to help billionaires deny poor people the use of energy to carry on basics like cooking is evil and immoral and done on the back of dodgy and “peer reviewed” claims of science.

Fran
Reply to  mews
January 22, 2023 9:38 am

When I was a kid in India, snake bite was the go to report for inconvenient deaths. Villagers knew having the police in would cost money, so when a fight went wrong or someone hit their wife a bit too hard, it would be reported as snake bite. In 15 years in rural India, I heard of one genuine snake bite death.

Frank from NoVA
January 22, 2023 6:06 am

The single reason why the Great Depression persisted for nearly twenty years was because FDR’s New Deal not only crippled business, but demoralized business owners as well. Consider how much worse of a disaster this would have been had the latter actually thrown in with the New Deal.

Last edited 14 days ago by Frank from NoVA
Duker
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 22, 2023 4:47 pm

The Depression , like those that preceded was caused by market forces . Its always a slow recovery but wasnt 20 years . Roosevelt didnt take office till March 1933, 3 1/2 years after Black Thursday Oct 1929. Clearly the fixes from Hoover werent working as the economy continued to decline into 33
There was a positive GDP growth from 1934 to 1940 ( except for 1938 slowdown) due to the new deal

‘Crippled’ isnt backed by actual facts, just your usual nonsene

Last edited 14 days ago by Duker
MarkW
Reply to  Duker
January 23, 2023 3:20 pm

Actually, he’s 100% correct. The correction may have been caused by market forces, but it was made much, much worse and longer by government interventions.
There may have been the illusion of growth, but it was much, much too slow to actually help people.

Only a socialist would buy into the notion that taking money from people who work, in order to give it to those who would rather not, improves the economy.

Duker
Reply to  MarkW
January 23, 2023 6:06 pm

Illusion of growth ?

GDP increased every full year after Roosevelt took office ( except 38)
It was falling every year , by some big margins , before that time from 1929 by 29% in those few years . Thats massive.
Whats your theory for why that happened for many years after the crash , as Hoover did virtually nothing….your laissez faire economics in action gave a GDP fall of 29%!
After 1938 economic performance improved again because of the government spending as the war in europe broke out.

MarkW
Reply to  Duker
January 23, 2023 10:04 pm

I never denied that the “official” numbers showed a tiny level of growth.
Hoover hiked taxes big time, in an effort to fight the growing deficit.
That utterly killed the economy.

The idea that Hoover did nothing, is one of the lazy lies that socialists keep telling each other.
That and the myth that FDR got us out of the recession.

Tom Abbott
January 22, 2023 7:06 am

From the article: ““We have to do it on a massive basis and the key to that one is philanthropy…. I mean yes technology, yes exciting new initiatives, yes organising winning races politically…but we have to go further.”

Kerry wants to organize winning political races. Yeah, it’s all about money and politics.

max
January 22, 2023 7:41 am

So, the “climate” just has to live with this affront, and WHY AREN’T THEY EATING BUGS???

MarkW
January 22, 2023 7:58 am

I dispute the claim that global warming was ever about science.
Rather it’s always been about control over the masses and the destruction of capitalism.

MarkW
January 22, 2023 8:03 am

Soros is an American billionaire?
Has anyone told him?
Has he ever even set foot in the US?

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  MarkW
January 22, 2023 8:41 am
Duker
Reply to  MarkW
January 22, 2023 4:51 pm

1956 moved to New York city from London , and home is in Westchester NY

abolition man
January 22, 2023 8:21 am

The modern day version of the Four Horsemen may feature Kerry, Gates, Soros and Scwab as the faces of the Apocalypse; but there are thousands of other wealthy elitists riding along in the plundering horde behind the van! Not just the wealthy, most Western politicians and bureaucrats are also fully on board with the disastrous “Green” policies that are bankrupting the middle class while bringing our planet too the brink of a massive die-off; not of numerous species, as they claim, but of humans!
It is time to acknowledge that most Western governments are sliding down the scale from crazy into outright psychopathy! This could not be happening without a concerted effort to cover up crimes and corruption, not just by the aforesaid governments, but also by a fully docile and compliment media! I highly recommend that readers of WUWT do some research into methods of identifying and dealing with the criminally insane! As one of the few refuges for sane and reasonable discussion and analysis, it behooves ALL of us to learn how to recognize psychopaths so that we can name them and their destructive actions! In particular, I would recommend the Triggernometry podcast with psychiatrist Kevin Dutton, and any of Jon Uhler’s interviews with various hosts regarding his work in prisons with sexual predators!
If we are not successful in staving off the attacks on freedom and prosperity that are at the core of GangGreen and Build Back Better, the world will be pushed into a new, high tech version of feudalism which could takes generations or even centuries to overcome!

MarkW
Reply to  abolition man
January 22, 2023 12:55 pm

Then there is Bezos who spends 10’s of millions in order to game the electoral system to make it easier for Democrats to win.

nailheadtom
January 22, 2023 9:33 am

In the pre-modern world, leaders, most of their names lost to history but others like Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Charles Martel, Genghis Khan will be famous forever. These leaders shared to a large extent the conditions and life styles of their subordinates and subjects. They either took part in the battles fought by their armies or directed and observed them from close range. The decisions made by them in other areas included the responsibility for the results. Failure could be fatal.
Modern “leaders” are insulated from the normal hazards of life while enjoying an opulent lifestyle and through the political and bureaucratic process not held responsible for bad policies and decisions. Losers of elections don’t really lose, they are warehoused in academia or the state bureaucracy until the currents of opinion have changed.
Some of the Davos attendees this year represent important government institutions. The head of the US FBI, Christopher Wray, was there this year. Was his presence an official appearance of an important US government figure or a private excursion? Who paid for the trip? Did this department head go to Switzerland on vacation, sabbatical or as part of his job description?

astonerii
January 22, 2023 10:01 am

Actually ‘climate’ change has never been about science. It has always been about politics and Malthusian anti-humanism. They started with a goal and then tried to force sciency ideas to get to that goal.

If solar power proved to be capable of supporting a thriving human society it would suddenly be evil just like coal, oil and natural gas as well as nuclear power is. The reason is that the goal is to reduce humanity to a tiny fraction of its current population.

antigtiff
January 22, 2023 10:02 am

Science must equal the truth…or it doesn’t work…and is not science. man made CO2 is not a problem for climate but is totally accepted world wide as the problem…the false claim against CO2 must be stopped.

slowroll
January 22, 2023 11:21 am

I suspect that the billionaires support for “climate change action” is more driven by their desire to avoid the torches and pitchforks of the rabid followers. They want to be Seen as the moral leaders, rather than the exploiters that the lefttards claim.

Hivemind
Reply to  slowroll
January 22, 2023 2:51 pm

Perhaps, but I think they’ve found a way to monetize their support.

ResourceGuy
January 22, 2023 11:28 am
garboard
January 22, 2023 1:18 pm

two summers ago i took people out for daysails in maine . one day i took out a fellow who was a lawyer for george soros . worst tipper of the summer .

sherro01
January 22, 2023 3:16 pm

Root cause analysis points to the overall problem, a deliberate corruption of due process.
Society has long created laws and regulations and social guidelines so that cowboys do less harm to those around them. Billionaires are buying their way out of these and are not being punished.
If charity spending is tax free, do not allow tax avoidance if there is no charity involved.
It State Attorneys are to be appointed by a process, punish those who game the system.
If an official is paid to look away, sack and punish the official.
If voters ask the Supreme Court to investigate voting irregularities, sack them if they refuse.
In common terms, this is part of cleaning the swamp.
If it is not done now, it will worsen to the stage of armed conflict.
It is not going to be easy, but that makes it a more worthwhile ambition.
Geoff S

observa
January 22, 2023 4:53 pm
Javier Vinós
January 23, 2023 3:10 am

There was once a time when climate change was about science. No longer.

I couldn’t agree more. Everywhere science has taken the backseat in climate discussions. Even at WUWT where fewer and fewer articles are about the science of climate change.

MarkW
Reply to  Javier Vinós
January 23, 2023 3:24 pm

If what you want is a site that is hard science, all the time, you are free to start one.

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