The very first Climate Change Summit (Conference of Parties COP 01) was held in Berlin in 1995 and was a relativity modest sombre affair consisting of 800 delegates, 1000 observer organisations and 2000 media. This was to start the bureaucratic ball rolling and by COP15, held in China, it had built to an impressive 27,000 attendees. Numbers slumped to about half that in subsequent events which was disappointing and so the push to recover popularity of the event focused on the 21st COP, Paris 2015. And they did it as a record breaking 28,000 bureaucratic delegates and media representatives descended on the city of love just before Christmas with their employers’ credit cards loaded and unlocked. And this summit to beat all summits culminated in the celebration dinner at which the Grand Poohbah of climate high priests could announce that sacrifices have been made and the gods of the climate have been appeased, for now.
The latest updated version of these ‘save the planet’ summits (COP26) has just finished in Glasgow, so they can tidy up a few details left as ‘matters pending’ from the last conference, COP25 in Madrid. Before Madrid it was Poland, of all places, that had won the bid to host the global bureaucratic Christmas party, COP24. Never mind the carbon footprint of the twenty plus thousand plus people who travelled from all over the globe to have a ‘conversation about climate change’. Never mind the irony that it was being held in the heartland of Europe’s largest coal-producing region. The important question is ‘was it a bigger and better Christmas party than Francois Hollande’s in Paris?’ And the victory of the Polish-hosted battle in the war against climate change was declared by Michal Kurtyka in his staged jump for joy.
By contrast the Madrid conference in December 2019 was a bit of a disaster from the climate alarmists’ viewpoint despite the attendance of Saint Greta of Funberg, arriving on her magic yacht. The Christmas party had originally been intended for Brazil but was changed to Chile due to the unfriendly change in the political situation in Brazil. It was then changed again from Chile to Madrid, again because of ‘political’ issues. However the average Jose Spaniard on the street was not buying it and major protests really spoiled the party atmosphere of COP25. Discouraged and unable to reach any consensus they pushed pledges into the next conference as ‘matters carried forward’.
So, Glasgow 2021 was under enormous pressure to deliver a new “greenpeace in our time” resolution. They had to re-kick the party and ensure that an even better signed charter would be presented as our upgraded covenant with the climate gods to be stored in an ark and carried to the next pre-Christmas conference. This despite the position that on the street there are two camps of thought: those who believe climate change is a process of nature, and the hand wringers who say it is far too little, far too late, we are all going to fry.
But within the bureaucracy who attend such summits, the irony and hypocrisy is astounding. As an embarrassing start to Glasgow, the luxury Jaguar electric cars supplied to ferry the high priests around Glasgow were powered by oil-fired generators as there were insufficient electric charging points in Glasgow. On the airfields around Glasgow there were 140 private jets parked up that had been used to fly VIP delegates from around the world, the least energy-efficient means possible of attending. A minor detail let’s party on! And so at a conference denouncing the methane that is produced by raising cattle, delegates were filmed dining out at the Knightsbridge Steakhouse that serves beef steaks cooked in gold foil and costing between 850 and 1450 pounds sterling. No scientists presented a paper calculating the carbon footprint of that meal.
But like Madrid, Glasgow again ended in failure as it attempted to increase the targets that, in Paris, had been calculated by the leading members of our scientific community as the targets that would save the planet. Alok Sharma, the President at the Glasgow conference was not dancing on the table. This summit, living up to it’s cities reputation, was a dour and sombre affair.
I am not a ‘climate change denier’. Indeed I would be alarmed if the climate did not change because that would indicate natural cycles had ceased which would certainly be the end of times. Why would scientists ever think that climate change, the warming and cooling of the planet and the raising and lowering of C02 levels, is anything other than the normal natural process that has continued throughout the eons.
Our ancestor, homo erectus, evolved about two million years ago and survived until just 120,000 years ago so they lived through several cycles where both temperature and C02 levels have been at least as high as they are today. Even our sapiens species at only 200,000 years young lived through the cycle 120,000 years ago when C02 was as high as today and temperature was even higher, without a factory or car on the planet. So, let’s not be bullied into accepting a doomsday panic and giving the ‘end of the world is nigh’ high priests a blank chequebook to fund global pre Christmas conferences for their ‘conversations’. Let us only consider what impact the current climate observations and speculations might practically have on the lifestyle of our ice age species. The climate summits are no more nor less than arrogant humans believing we are rulers of nature. That humans caused the climate to change with our burning of fossil fuels and that we can again change the climate back again by our use of electric and solar powered batteries. Such simplistic, arrogant folly. How the Gods laughed.
When I say temperature change, what do you think that means? The scientists work, of course, off average mean temperatures when they get into this global warming issue. You might be surprised to know (I was) that the global mean temperature today is about 14-15 degrees Celsius. That, for reference, is also the average mean temperature of Milan, Italy. When they talk about the global warming over the past 30-40 years, they are talking about a rise of 1 degree Celsius. Back in the Miocene epoch at the last major global warming spike, the global mean temperature was another 4-5 degrees Celsius higher than today, or an average of around 20 degrees C (or the current mean temperature of Brisbane Australia, but much cooler than Montego Bay, Jamaica which now averages 27 C).
And there is the misleading result of talking about ‘averages.’ A region that has a summer average of 40 degrees followed by an autumn average of 15 degrees, a winter average of minus 10 degrees and Spring of 15 degrees then has an annual average of 15 degrees which sounds pleasant enough but in reality has 3 months of blistering heatwaves and 3 months of sub-zero conditions which is a dreadful climate. And while our climate scientists at Paris and Poland went on about the C02 emissions creating a greenhouse warming across the whole planet, the reality is quite different. We have regions experiencing exceptionally hot summers at the same time some are experiencing record breaking cold temperatures in winter across Europe, Asia and the USA. What we are experiencing is not a gradual warming from a high level of C02 gas in the atmosphere as though we are living in a glasshouse, but in fact the weather is becoming more extreme at both ends of the temperature gauge. And those extremes are not explained by a greenhouse effect.
It just puts a little perspective into the debate and perspective is what the current climate handwringers seem to be ignoring. Man has been through these climate changes before. Life goes on in those climates. Yes we would probably want to improve our air conditioning systems and some of us may end up with a beachfront property where once we had a main road between us and the sea, but we can adapt.
Having emerged from the forests 200,000 years ago, we have built our great cities and civilisations because of the ‘sapiens’ gene. We have done so through notable periods of climate change with ice caps expanding and retracting, sea levels rising and falling. We have had the imagination to adapt to our ever-changing conditions and challenges to improve our experience of life on earth.
We now need to focus our energies on more intelligent and imaginative use of resources, recycling, and re-engineering to meet the climate challenges that nature and our own activities present us today. Yes we need less air-polluting sources of power than fossil fuels and less ground-polluting sources than nuclear power or battery-stored energy. Yes we need to regenerate forests and natural habitats. Yes we need to prepare for higher seas and more extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. So let’s get on with it and stop wasting time with King Canute conferences that just clog up the process with hand-wringing, progress-stalling bureaucracy, forever adjusting the narrative and setting new targets to ensure that the conversation never ends. And stop blaming humans as though we created carbon dioxide. For whatever caused the high levels of C02 in the atmosphere in the eons before 1800 ad, we are reasonably sure it wasn’t humans and engines.
Perhaps it was no coincidence that right after Christmas 2018 an urgent meeting of geophysicists gathered to update the World Magnetic Model. As you no doubt know, the magnetic North Pole is not located at the same place as the geographic North Pole, or true north, so navigation systems need to know exactly how far apart the two points are. As it turns out, the magnetic North Pole had moved further away from where we thought it was and that is no small matter for navigators and so the urgent meeting was called in January 2019 to correct our calculation model. They expected to get five years life from the 2015 magnetic model, but it was realised that the geomagnetic north pole location was experiencing an unpredicted erratic change and the revised model was launched under urgency in 2019.
The unpredictable wandering of the North Pole has occupied the imaginations of scientists and explorers ever since it was first accurately located in 1831 by James Clark Ross in the Canadian Arctic. But in the mid-1990s it’s speed accelerated from around 15 kilometres per year to around 55 kilometres per year. By 2001, it was in the Arctic Ocean. It is currently on track for Siberia. Likewise in our part of the planet the magnetic south pole has now moved off the coast of Antarctica and is now even outside the Antarctic circle.
The iron core in the centre of the earth generates our planet’s magnetic field; if the inner earth motion changes, it affects the direction of the magnetic field. In 2016, Satellites tracked an acceleration of the magnetic field beneath South America and the eastern Pacific Ocean. Scientists are trying to understand just what is going on deep inside our planet and what affect various scenarios might have on earth’s magnetic field. It may be a result of geomagnetic pulses, like the one that happened in 2016, or it might be a result of hydromagnetic waves deep within earth’s core. But what scientists can tell us, from study of magnetic minerals in the ice core, is that it is all quite natural. Over the eons the poles have completely reversed on average every 2-300,000 years; the last reversal was nearly 800,000 years ago so they are saying we are actually well overdue for another switch. They also calculate that the process of reversal took over 20,000 years to complete so we do get time to change the order of the N-E-W-S letters on our compasses.
The earth’s magnetic field is one of the two powerful forces in our atmosphere, the other being gravity. In theory gravity is over 100 times stronger than magnetism but, for my money, if you pick a nail up from the floor using a magnet and it stays stuck to the magnet you would have to think that magnetism has won that arm wrestle. That’s all by the by; the main job of the magnetic field is to shield our planet from excessive galactic cosmic rays. So, the real question is, could a shifting magnetic field have an effect on climate and weather patterns? Heatwaves, winds, storms, deluges, tidal surges, arctic ice-shelf calving; that sort of thing? It’s worth thinking about. Certainly, there are some Danish scientists giving it very serious thought. Danish astrophysicist Henrik Svensmark, professor in the Division of Solar System Physics at the Danish National Space Institute in Copenhagen, has been researching the link between galactic cosmic rays and earth warming for decades. In 1997 his study was published with the conclusion that: During the last solar cycle, Earth’s cloud cover underwent a modulation more closely in phase with the galactic cosmic ray flux than with other solar activity parameters. Further it is found that Earth’s temperature follows more closely variations in galactic cosmic ray flux and solar cycle length, than other solar activity parameters. The main conclusion is that the average state of the heliosphere affects Earth’s climate. More recently this claim has been supported by two Danish geophysicists, Mads Faurschou Knudsen and Peter Riisager using data drawn from stalagmites and stalactites found in China and Oman to compare our magnetic field with that of 5,000 years ago. The results of the study have been peer reviewed and published in the U.S. scientific journal ‘Geology’.
Anyway, the increasingly unpredictable shift of the North Pole is a geological fact that nobody can deny and so there will have to be far more regular meetings of the people who are required to keep our navigational systems in working order. They will, of course, have to meet pre-Christmas just so Santa can set the auto pilot control and get home to the North Pole quickly after a busy night. As it happens the ‘human-caused’ climate change zealots also favour pre-Christmas conferences, so maybe the geomagnetic mob can make a big annual conference-style event of this and the two groups can join forces. The additional numbers might increase the incentives that big cities are prepared to offer to get an economic injection of 30,000 people, all on expense accounts and looking for a $1,500 gold-foiled steak, turning up a few weeks before Christmas.
Maybe they will argue over bragging rights as to whether man’s industrialisation or earth’s magnetic field is having the greatest impact on the climate or maybe they will collaborate and decide that man is somehow affecting the earth’s inner iron core by mining coal and drilling for oil. Who knows? Not me, I am not a scientist I am just a Joe Blogger, and I am hoping Santa will bring me both an Akubra hat and a pair of Redband gumboots. Adapting to the natural ebb and flow of the climate environment has been the sapiens mantra for 200,000 years and so I will be tending my carrots and lettuces while the Court of Canute is ordaining Greta Thunberg, their reincarnated Joan of Arc, to lead us against the forces of nature.
The Climate change industry, on the face of it, is a scientific movement that is ostensibly quoting science as the reason for the hysteria. But in truth it is not a battle of the scientific theories, it is a new religious war. Christianity is the religion of the 2000-year cycle of Pisces. Christianity is the religion of the Europeans who conquered the world and brought industrialisation to the world beyond Europe. But the age of Pisces is over. The Age of Aquarius has arrived. And with it a new religion and a new maiden saint to lead this religion.
This religious revival for the new Age ostensibly worships Gaia, the mother earth god, rich with the traditional religious zealot placards of ‘the end is nigh’ and the incessant mantra chanting, but with a modern age twist. This new worshipper of Gaia takes its pick from the inventions of the Pisces generation: jet travel, luxury hotels, computers, smart phones, modern clothing, but chooses to dispense with the established source of that wealth, fossil fuels. That is their sole point of distinction for their religion of Aquarius. The impending environmental and social catastrophe, resulting from the mass extraction of the rare earth minerals required to partially replace fossil fuels as an energy source, is tomorrow’s problem and this generation does not do tomorrows. The surfboard of common sense has never withstood the surging wave of religious fervor and is not doing any better today.
I recall having watched Greta Thunberg, millennial poster child for the climate alarmists, speaking at the United Nations Climate Action summit in 2019. What venom was in that face and in the words she spoke? And she set the stage by so publicly promoting that she sailed to this UN Conference on a multi-million-dollar yacht so that she did not make a carbon contribution to the climate before returning to the Climate summit in Spain the same way to be received like a victorious Joan of Arc. Oh, how the UN delegates cheered, the irony lost on the adoring audience that they, in contrast, had all flown first class from around the globe to listen to her live, in person. And many of them possibly also numbered among the 22,000, the equivalent of 60 jumbo jets, who had travelled to the Poland climate alarmist conference the previous year and also among the 28,000 who had travelled to the earlier Paris alarmist conference. But they applauded the example that this child showed us by travelling on a yacht that not even the reasonably wealthy boomer, whose ‘capitalist excesses’ she despises, could ever hope to afford.
The most despicable tactic of the climate alarmists is their recruiting of schoolchildren such as Greta as their foot soldiers by instilling absolute terror in their young minds of the horrific apocalyptic death of all humans from the climate. It has become a religious revival movement determined to replace Christianity as manifested in the white European male. Greta has been anointed as their virgin child goddess. As a quick fact check, the climate has always been a cause of death in the world, particularly as it swings towards the extremes of heat or cold on its natural cycle. But climate as a cause of death has never been as low as it is today after a century of advanced technology, climate protection and humanitarian aid. In the 1920-30 decade, climate related deaths were recorded as 4- 500,000. By 1980 they were down to 50,000.
I have also noticed that these protestors have used as a strategy the apportioning of blame for the polluted state of our planet solely on the selfish excesses of the oldest generation still alive. ‘Ok boomers’, is now a common catch-cry which they see as a condescending patting of grandad on his deluded head. I don’t want to take the bait, wade in and fuel the animosity, but we do need to do a bit of a fact check on the charges made by these alarmists against us as ‘boomers’. It seems such a silly attack because generations are not fixed date separations. The generational transfer is quite fluid and while there will be evolving cultural footprints, exactly when they started and when they ended is very difficult to define. But let us look at a few key trends over the relevant decades:
Coal burning, one of the big contributors to C02 in the atmosphere, accelerated most dramatically in the decade 2000 to 2010, and primarily in China. This was entirely a result of China becoming an economic ‘powerhouse’, building massive coal-powered factories to feed the millennial driven breed of “hyperstores”. The boomers were the ’boutique’ generation and the millennials have become the ‘hyperstore’ generation. Boomers considered a phone a purchase for life and repaired appliances when they failed; in the millennial era we discard quickly and buy new, mostly with a made in China tag attached. And the flow on effect are the landfills and oceans clogged with discarded waste.
Jet air travel is a massive contributor to C02 but, before the Covid-19 pandemic forced it, there was no sign of the millennial generation trimming down on demand for air travel. Scheduled services had in fact accelerated 80% in just 8 years from 2004 to 2012. The Travel industry had their business antennae set for the millennial market. A report by industry giant by Travelport said young people ages 18 to 34 were most likely to spend more money on vacations than other age groups. An Expedia poll showed also millennials travelled the most; 35 days each year to be precise.
But it is not just the airline industry that the millennials consume with voracious appetites. By 2010 the average boomer was 50-60 years old and their contribution to mobile phone use was relatively modest. Apple i-phone sales in 2010 were less than 40 million, but by 2017 it was well over 200 million. The massive growth in smart-phone consumption is fueled by the millennials and their social media addiction. Every smartphone is a handful of rare earth elements (as are the mechanisms of wind power generators and electric motors, but that’s another story for another time). Rare earth elements are separated from the rest of the earth by a highly toxic chemical process. The millennials consider mobile phones to be disposable items to be discarded and replaced every time someone tweaks a camera setting in a new model. One very visible and tangible consequence of this vast consumption of mobile devices as well as other high tech devices and green energy systems is, in a word, Baotou. That is a city in Mongolia that has grown to a population from under 100,000 when the boomers were born, to 2.5 million today; that population boom is based on the mining and processing of rare earth elements to satisfy the digital and green energy demands of the millennial consumers. Batou is now a seething toxic lake that is seeping into the subsoils and water table throughout northern Asia.
Baotou is one of the major sources today of these rare earth minerals and Batou by 2013 supplied 70% of the world’s use of these REE. But as demand has grown massively since then, other countries are getting in on the market. India, USA, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Russia, and Brazil are all now mining rare earth elements. What started hidden away in ‘out of sight out of mind’ Mongolia and Northern China is now coming to a country near you, and all to satisfy the insatiable demand of the millennials to discard a 12-month-old phone for the latest model and to ‘go green’.
The millennials are also the generation that has brought in the Uber Eats mentality because they do not think they should have to cook their own meals. Paying for cars to drive around and around the block, pouring emissions into the atmosphere so that a car is always on hand to pick them up a plant-based burger when they feel the whim.
The alarmist millennials are spreading anxiety around the world like a virus all because the ‘average’ temperature has warmed by 0.8 degrees C since 1880 and the seas are rising at 1 – 2 mm pa. The reality is that the planet has been warming annually, and sea levels rising, consistently since the last ice age ended. In fact, scientific ice core analysis shows that Antarctica warmed about 20 degrees in the years from 20,000 to 10,000 years ago (while the rest of the planet warmed only 4 degrees over that period), the ice age was coming to its natural end. That was a process of nature and processes of nature extend over tens of thousands of years, not over decades. Of course, no alarmist is still reading because the official stance of millennial-controlled media is now to refuse to debate the issue. That decision exposes them as propagandists rather than journalists.
If you want to know how to handle global anxiety, you could do worse than talk to a boomer. We boomers grew up knowing that two men who represented two superpowers that lived in constant paranoid fear of each other, each carried a suitcase around with him everywhere he went in which was a button that could launch enough nuclear rockets to destroy the planet several times over in a matter of hours. When I was twelve we had the Cuba standoff crisis between these two nations that had us all just waiting for the minute that life-ending nuclear war started. Technology development in the previous generation had introduced nuclear power. Nuclear power was seen as a clean and highly effective alternative to fossil-burning coal power. As indeed it is, in theory. The phallic atomic bomb came as a very unwelcome side product driven by the ambitions of Hitler, just as Viagra was initially developed as a medicinal treatment for high blood pressure.
So, in our youth we protested to our elders, as youth will always do. We were the “Make love not war” generation and when we achieved our own democratic influence on the world, we did something about the situation, and we made the changes. This boomer generation built social bridges and healed the deep rifts of generations past. Racially bigoted laws in the USA were overturned as were laws against same-sex relationships. Racial slurs were replaced in common speech with respectful racial distinctions; ‘queers’ of previous generations became gays. Tolerance was the byword of boomers.
But too many of the current protest generation just want to fly around the globe from one conference junket to the next ‘having conversations’ to relitigate the actions of the boomer and earlier generations rather than actually contributing to life in a positive way. And they skulk in the background, grooming their “Gen. Z’ children, like Greta, to demand that their grandparents start doling out their life savings, as they believe is their entitlement. If these millennial alarmists just keep playing the blame game as their only contribution to humanity and if life on earth does get less pleasant in coming decades, it won’t be the boomers that Gen. 20/20 will be pointing the finger of shame at, it will be the self-indulgence of the millennial generation and the lazy, impotence of their alarmist sub-category.
On reflection, I believe the first generation of humans to be born into the social media environment are a very troubled generation, psychologically. Society was simply not prepared for that degree of personal intrusion which has resulted in a highly anxious and paranoid generation. The boomers faced similar cataclysmic threats but, in general terms, were emotionally more capable of living with the threat of nuclear holocaust and getting on with life. We just had to have faith in the survival instinct of humanity.
But yet even today when ecological fear permeates the environment and creates a ‘rabbit in the headlights’ generation, there is a beacon of hope; and hope brings faith. We have a young man who is as fearless and creative as Greta Thunberg is frightened and helpless. His name is Boyan Slat. As a teenager, this young Dutch engineering student witnessed the state of the sea while diving in Greece and decided to do something about it. Today, still in his twenties, he is CEO of an organisation called Ocean Clean-up that has attracted over $30 million in funding from Silicon Valley and European corporations to develop the technology to both extract plastic from the ocean and to intercept plastic waste at their river sources. The challenges were huge but after six years of research, development and trialing, in late 2019, when Greta was sailing on her luxury yacht to New York and back to Madrid to talk, Boyan was also on the ocean, but he was collecting plastic waste from it. One thousand riverways have been identified as contributing 80% of the ocean junk clutter. In 2021 Coca Cola have become a global partner to help rollout the ‘interceptor’ programme to catch the rubbish before it reaches the oceans. Their next stage is the development of products made from this recycled plastic. His is a story we all should follow closely. He is the Steve Jobs of this young generation, with the intelligence and attitude to create real life solutions to, and opportunities from, our economic and environmental challenges. What a pity Greta Thunberg did not talk about Boyan Slat when she got the chance at the UN. Greta Thunberg’s speechwriters, who made such a big point about her sailing to that conference across the ocean as her ‘save the planet’ contribution, did not once promote Boyan Slat’s impressive entrepreneurial work to clean up the ocean that she had just sailed on. On the contrary she proclaimed, on behalf of the millennial generation, that solutions were nowhere in sight.
Boyan Slat is the beacon offering the alternative path. He offers faith in the survival instinct and creativity of home sapiens to do what homo sapiens have done for 200,000 years. Use our imagination to solve the problem we face, clean up the oceans, clean up the rivers.
Boyan, from an old boomer, ‘I love you, man.’