Climate change and the warm glow of self-righteousness at a snowy Davos

The World Economic is taking place in Davos

It’s Davos time of the year again, a time when the great and the good, or not so good, of politics and business get together to tell us where we are going wrong and endeavour to guide us into the paths of righteousness.

Honestly, the annual World Economic Forum shindig at Swiss alpine resort is almost enough to turn a dyed-in-the-wool free marketeer like me into a socialist.

You don’t have to be a socialist, however, or an anti-capitalist to see that the movers and shakers of big business and politics share an agenda.

Its agenda is control: control of politics, control of the economy – and almost any weapon will be deployed to further those aims.

This year’s weapon of choice was dear old David Attenborough, fresh from his Blue Planet success, at least I think that was it.

DA was wheeled out to declare that we were all going to hell in a handcart unless we stopped global warming, which we, and that is you and me ladies and gentlemen, are personally responsible for.

So you’d better buy an electric car, give up your toasty warm log burner, (they are, I’ve got one), junk your gas oven and central heating and rely on electricity generated by wind farms and solar power cells.

Of course, on windless nights when neither are operating you’ll be able to warm yourself on a glow of self-righteousness – it’ll be the only glow because you won’t have any lighting, or tv entertainment, you might as well get to bed early and snuggle down under the duvet and hope that by morning electricity will be back on stream, best just check that the fridge and freezer haven’t defrosted whilst the electricity has been off.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world Chinese coal fired power stations and Indian open fires will continue to pump CO2 into the atmosphere in quantities we never dreamed of or were capable of achieving.

The net result is that to make ourselves feel virtuous we beggar our economy with excessive costs to meet carbon footprint targets and where does Davos come into this?

Well, don’t imagine for one moment that big business hasn’t bought into the low carbon economy, consumer choice ramp, no matter how misinformed it is a business opportunity. 

And as for handouts from politicians for pursuing their “green” goals and objectives, business would be mad not to take them.

And so we are dominated by what used to be called “crony capitalism” where politicians and business suck up to each other, all nod and agree what needs to be done and then all depart to their home countries or multi-nationals and carry on much as before: it is a charade.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m no greenie and far from a socialist and frankly I don’t think either of those groups has the answer.

But they have all bought into the groupthink peddled by green gurus and bandwagon jumping politicians, and I suppose we could add vegans and vegetarians for good measure.

All seem to believe that mankind is the problem, but so far it has always found solutions as well. We have developed drought resistant crops for the Sahel, we developed antibiotics, we have wiped out diseases, we have produced enormous advances in health and welfare and education for mankind.

And yet, faced with “climate change” we are enjoined to engage in a “mea culpa” and to change our ways to save the planet, to revert to an earlier pre-industrial, agrarian time. And we in the West engage in knuckle gnawing bouts of contrition whilst the east proceeds apace to capitalise on our inertia.

Let’s stop thinking of climate change as the fault of our western economies and belabouring ourselves whilst other sneak a march on us.

Let’s recognise that change is what the climate does and has done for millennia, long before David Attenborough was invented. The next big challenge is not trying to stop a natural process it is adapting to it, accommodating it, planning for it.

And yet there seems little chance of this happening whilst the anti-mankind lobby is unwittingly hand in glove with populist and short-sighted politicians – is there any other kind? – and multi-national business which only sees another sales opportunity.

Perhaps we really are all heading to hell in a “well-intentioned” handcart, but I’m going to tug on the brake a bit while I can.


  1. Graham, it has everything to do with Canterbury and London and New York and Beijing, none of us can ignore it and pretend its not happening, blissful ignorance will not solve the problem, we all need to be better informed and more engaged.


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