World Economic Forum's "risk management" report targets energy and food

Mar, 01/31/2023 - 23:53 -- lgarcia

The climate and social justice movement is trying to move from being a progressive ideology to a prudent risk management tool. This not only allows it to frame its bleak vision of the future as a safety measure; it also allows its corporate and Wall Street adherents to claim that they are not pursuing a political agenda at the expense of shareholders, but rather managing risk on their behalf.

The WEF laid out the latest chapter of its crisis management plan in its Global Risks Report 2023. The report outlines short-term risks under the heading "Today's Crisis" and long-term threats described as "Tomorrow's Catastrophe." The short-term list is topped by the "energy supply crisis," the "cost of living crisis" and the "food supply crisis"; in the longer term, however, climate change is the main threat.

Underscoring this narrative, former Vice President Al Gore told attendees that the cumulative amount of CO2 emissions in our atmosphere "is now trapping as much extra heat as would be released by 600,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs exploding every day on Earth. That's what's boiling the oceans, creating these atmospheric rivers and rain bombs and sucking moisture out of the earth."

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres repeated these remarks, declaring that fossil fuel production was "incompatible with human survival."

WEF founder Klaus Schwab spoke in more ordinary terms, but declared nonetheless that this is a time of "unprecedented multiple crises." The WEF has designated 2023 as the "Year of the Polycrisis."


"Carbon Neutrality."

The Global Risks Report states that energy and food shortages and the resulting "cost of living crisis" are primarily a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The solution, says the WEF, is to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to wind and solar power and achieve carbon neutrality on schedule, which will help solve shortages, reduce inflation and stabilize the climate. But some are skeptical.

Joel Griffith, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told The Epoch Times, "This is frankly ridiculous. We know that the inflation we're seeing right now is a combination of massive money printing - central banks have had the printing presses at high speed to finance massive government expansions over the last two and a half years - and the impact of the COVID they mentioned."

As for COVID-19, however, "these are the world leaders gathered [in Davos] who embraced those shutdowns," Griffith said. "Fortunately, they did not fully implement net zero carbon emissions; had they implemented carbon neutrality, the energy crisis would have been even worse."

A recent survey indicated that 20% of Americans say they are having difficulty this year paying their electricity bills, which have increased by an average of up to 23% compared to last year. In one of the hardest-hit regions, a Massachusetts utility informed residents last November that their electricity rates would rise by 64%. The situation is much worse in many countries that do not have the abundance of oil, gas and coal of the United States.


Transformation roadmap

Currently, about 84% of the world's energy is generated from oil, gas and coal. Wind and solar, despite decades of subsidies and regulatory support, still account for less than 5% of energy consumed. Despite heavy investment to build wind and solar capacity, their intermittent nature means they are only usable to generate electricity about a third of the time in an average year.

Contrary to WEF predictions, National Geographic reported in 2021 that "weather- and climate-related disasters have become less deadly over time." While cautioning readers that the trend could always be reversed, the report admitted that over the past 50 years "the number of deaths related to such disasters has declined nearly threefold." Analyzing weather-related deaths per capita between 2000 and 2010, a Reason Foundation report stated that "the global death rate from weather events has declined by more than 98% since the 1920s."

Regarding the "food scarcity crisis," the WEF published a joint report (pdf) with Bain & Company, a management consulting firm, entitled "Food, Nature, and Health Transitions," according to which "food systems are no longer fit for purpose: they need to transform."

"Food and agriculture are collectively responsible for more than 30% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and more than 80% of deforestation and biodiversity loss worldwide," the report states. Consequently, "all countries must develop and implement an integrated roadmap for food systems transformation."

The report identified "Five Dimensions of Food System Success," which included not only the goals of producing food, but also equity, biodiversity, climate adaptation and healthy diets. Arguing that farmers, governments and businesses must collaborate in this transformation, the report noted that diets must also change. "Consumers in higher-income countries often choose diets with excessive content of foods with large environmental footprints, such as red meat," the WEF wrote, arguing that governments can change people's eating habits through a combination of taxes, subsidies, regulations and "communication with consumers."


"Transition risk"

Taking the WEF's climate risk assessment to heart, the Biden administration has transformed all federal agencies in line with President Joe Biden's executive order upon taking office, which stated, "It is the policy of my Administration to organize and deploy the full capacity of its agencies to combat the climate crisis." Biden's directive stated that "we face a climate crisis that threatens our people and our communities, public health and the economy, and, starkly, our ability to live on planet Earth."

This has often resulted in federal agencies straying from their original purpose toward goals that are often outside their legal mandate, such as the FBI's new "climate justice" initiative. One of the most far-reaching measures is a new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule, created to protect everyday investors from stock fraud, to fight climate change. The rule requires all publicly traded companies to produce audited reports detailing their CO2 emissions, those of their suppliers and customers, and how they plan to mitigate those risks.

Asset managers rely on government regulations such as this to justify the view that "transition risk" is one of the main risks facing companies today. BlackRock justified the prioritization of climate risk in an August 2022 letter (pdf) to state attorneys general by claiming that "governments representing more than 90% of global GDP have committed to moving to net zero emissions in the coming decades."

"Transition risk really comes down to the idea that future changes in legislation or regulation, are going to reduce the value of investments," Jonathan Berry, a partner at Boyden Gray, told The Epoch Times. "In a sense, transition risk is a trivially obvious concept: of course, you have to think about the possibility of future legal changes when assessing the desirability of an investment," he said. "But the SEC's and institutional investors' use of that concept always points to transition risks that are of specific concern to the progressive left."

"If transition risks were used objectively, we'd be hearing more about the risk of the U.S. decoupling from China and all the risks to supply chains that's going to pose, rather than going to net-zero carbon emissions," Berry said. "It's easier to imagine that we're going to further disengage from China than it is to imagine that we're going to rush to actually implement the Paris Accords."

What President Biden called "this incredible transition" to wind, solar and electric cars will increase our dependence on China, which controls many of the mines from which minerals are extracted and has a dominant position in refining those minerals and manufacturing them into batteries, solar panels and wind turbines. Fossil fuels, on the other hand, are abundant in the United States and can not only supply our energy needs, but also export markets, where other countries are struggling to meet ever-increasing demand. This could be an opportunity, rather than a risk.

Tema de investigación: 
Desarrollo y medio ambiente