The eight leaders of the most powerful countries are, like Emperor Nero, ignoring the flaming crisis engulfing the world around them. Stunts organised by Oxfam and its partner UCODEP, July 6, 2009 (Photo: Nicola Sacco)
Legend has it that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, and although it probably isn’t true, it does make a rather nice story and we Homo sapiens all seem to have a substantial slice of the Nero complex hard wired into our genetic make-up. How else can you explain our indifference and our complete failure to face up to and do something about the record breaking levels of CO2 and global temperature rise that we’re now seeing on an almost daily basis. With CO2 levels and global temperatures both rising now at an alarming rate, Planet Earth is certainly burning, and if you haven’t noticed that then you’ve not been paying attention.
We simply must get off this idiotic policy where we believe that we can have infinite growth on our finite planet. Just let me just remind you of something I said in a recent blog post:
“More growth needs more energy, and more energy needs more fossil fuels, and more fossil fuels produce more CO2, and more CO2 makes for even more Global Warming. Look at the figures. It’s just simple arithmetic.”
Straight from the horse’s mouth, and it’s now official. At 404.16 ppm, February 2016 produced the highest monthly average CO2 level since Keeling records began back in 1958, and at 3.85 ppm the gap between the February 2016 level and the February 2015 level was also the highest on record.
Just to rub salt in to the poor old planet’s wounds, on 8 February the daily average CO2 level was 406.27 ppm which was the highest one-day level ever recorded up to that date, and just to keep these records rolling along nicely, on 2 March 2016, a new daily average record was set at 406.46 ppm, which includes the 18 march reaching a new record at 407.12 ppm.
If you still have the stomach for a few more records, let’s have a look at the global temperature increases from the year 1880, which is the year when global temperatures were first recorded and analysed. For the next 96 years from 1880, with a few ups and downs (more downs than ups), by 1976 the annual global average temperature was in fact 0.01°C cooler than in 1880. But then came 1977 and things changed. From that year on we had no more downs, only ups, and year by year Planet Earth got just that little bit warmer. Records were now falling thick and fast, and at 0.74°C, 2014 set a new record, quickly followed by 2015 with average global temperatures for that year now at 0.81°C above the 1880 figure.
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.
“I was never good at “sums”, and 50% of 7.4 bn is 3,700,000,000 people. My mistake!” — Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, seated on his ivory throne at the annual meeting 2016 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (Image: Remy Steinegger/Flickr: Creative Commons)
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.
Group picture of Swiss hostesses on the stage of the plenary hall at the beginning of the Annual Meeting 2016 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 19, 2016. (Photo: Valeriano Di Domenico/Flickr Creative Commons)
As we watch the world’s stock markets take another lurch into the red-figure zone, and oil nearly underwater at below $30 a barrel, we have to wonder where all this is taking us. So looking for some enlightenment, I’ve been following that annual jamboree of the “much too rich” at Davos to see if they could help me figure it out.
Rather grandly calling themselves The World Economic Forum, this annual get together is the 45th of these events and as always, it states as its aim, and I quote, “To build a better world”. How will it do this? By involving people with power to change the world (political leaders, CEOs and other world leaders) so as to set challenges and define solutions and measures while always having “society’s best interests at heart”. I really like that last bit, which is such a load of arrogant b***-s****.
30th November 2015, Paris: More than 150 world leaders meet under heightened security, for the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Image: Presidencia de la República Mexicana/Wiki Commons)
As the Global Warming Conference gets under way in Paris, I hear nothing in the opening speeches by world leaders that make me confident that this time we’ll get it right. We are simply not getting the message across that 2015 must be seen as the turning point. It must be the year when we stop the talking and start to take the necessary drastic action.