Having spent many hours following Davos live, followed by a further bunch of hours ploughing through the opinions and comments from people who were there (a rum bunch indeed!), I’ve decided to pass on my own thoughts and opinion of the Forum, and particularly its showpiece, the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The first and only Industrial Revolution I’m aware of, began at around 1760, when the CO2 in the atmosphere was at a nice comfortable 280 ppm having fluctuated between 180/280 ppm every hundred thousand years or so for at least the previous million years. It did indeed harness steam power which enabled us to replace muscles with machines, and it also kick started the changes that have brought great social and economic benefits to those of us who were lucky enough to have been born in the western world. But there was a high price to pay for these benefits which we are still paying and which our grandchildren will have to pay for the rest of their lives. Back in 1760 was the time when we let the genie out of the bottle, Coal become King, and we all started off down the Road to Armageddon. Through the second half of the 1800s all that Mr Klaus Schwab’s (originator of the ghastly Davos Jamboree) so-called Second and Third Revolutions did was feed and fatten up the Genie, and that’s exactly what the proposed Fourth Revolution will do if it ever comes to pass. The industrial machines will just spin a bit faster and global growth will climb a bit further up the exponential curve. As around 90% of Global Primary Energy is provided by fossil fuels, and as the burning of fossil fuels produce CO2, any further economic growth must result in more energy being used and more CO2 being produced.