Society 4.0
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Society 4.0

RESPONDING TO A WORLD IN TRANSITION

Part 3: Net Zero is an Economic Policy

If Net Zero is a House of Cards, Green Renewable Energy is the Deck of Cards

“Net Zero is a house of cards built on political virtue signaling, not science.” — David Siegel. Photo by Edson Junior.

This video series is an attempt to provide organizing principles for understanding the human and planetary condition. You can find an overview of the series here. It will make much more sense if you watch Part 1 and Part 2 before watching this video.

In Part 3 we explore ways of powering society. Specifically we ask whether ‘green renewable energy’ makes sense and we follow the money behind the ‘Net Zero by 2050’ campaign.

Video Timestamps

00:00 — Introduction
02:50 — Who is Michael Haupt?
06:57 — Energy Realism
08:15 — Business as Usual Defined
09:02 — Green Renewable Energy Defined
11:39 — Who is Mark Carney?
15:48 — Recommended Resources: Climate
19:05 — Emissions by World Region

Video Presentation

(Watch on YouTube; scroll down for transcript.)

Supporting Links

All bit.ly links below open direct links to a Roam Research database (a note-taking tool for networked thought). These links do not work well if you’re on a mobile device, unless you have their app installed. They are best viewed on a desktop browser.

Resources

Video Transcript

Welcome to Part 3 of our video series which attempts to provide organizing principles for understanding the human and planetary condition.

As a quick recap, in Part 1 we learned that we are 246 years into a cycle that started in 1776 and that each cycle lasts on average 275 years. We are now in phase 6 of a 7-phase process, in other words we are in late stage civilizational collapse of the old way of doing things. The good news about the collapse of the old is that the new emerges as the old collapses.

In Part 2 we learned that evolution is a series of leaps in complexity, accompanied by higher levels of collaboration. We also learned that without collaboration, a leap forward cannot occur.

You will remember that in Part 1 we said that we wanted to navigate the nexus of energy, food, water, war, disease, climate and human progress. If we don’t explore and fully understand this messy area, we will have little chance of effectively navigating the predicament space. And if we don’t understand what we’re dealing with, we cannot come up with wise solutions.

In this video, we’re going to look critically at ‘green renewable energy’ and follow the money behind the ‘Net Zero by 2050’ campaign.

There are three possible reactions to everything we’ve covered so far, and all of them are valid responses, depending on your desire to navigate this nexus:

  • We can be like a toddler who tunes out to listen to music;
  • We can be like a teenager who mocks and unthinkingly criticizes the exploration;
  • And then there’s a response guided by wisdom, experience and even divine guidance. Naturally, we prefer the latter response.

Assuming that we want to take the wise, conscious route, there are three key considerations we must at least acknowledge.

  • An Energy Response (how we power society)
  • A Governance Response (how we organize society)
  • An Indigenous Response (how we think globally and act locally, with wisdom and conscience).

We might not have answers some or all considerations, but we should at least recognize that they need attention. In addition, each should be addressed within the context of everything we have covered in Parts 1 and 2, in other words, collapse of the old way and a momentous leap forward into new ways of doing things.

Considering where we are in the 275 year cycle, anything else is simply noise.

My Background

Before we dive into the contentious topic of energy and how we power society, I’d like to — if I may — briefly talk about my own background. This can help to contextualise the remainder of these videos.

I’ve had two very different careers:

  • 1. Technology: The first was a very logical and pragmatic career. I was one of the thousands of people involved in the launch of mobile telephony in South Africa in 1994. That was at the time that the rest of the world was dumping their old, unsold technology on South Africa. After being headhunted, I then went on to program-manage the implementation of large-scale computer systems in 16 cities on 6 continents.
  • Sabbatical: Between 2004 and 2006 I took a break from corporate life and dived deep down the rabbit hole of Eastern & Western philosophies and consciousness studies. My exploration was conducted in a self-directed manner while I backpacked through Thailand and Malaysia.
  • 2. Systems Change: After a Sabbatical like that, I couldn’t easily go back into the corporate world, so I took a course on systems thinking. Systems thinking is a way of making sense of the complexity of the world by looking at patterns & relationships rather than looking at each part in isolation. That’s why we started Part 1 with the pineapple analogy. Systems change is an approach to tackling the root causes of a predicament by identifying and creating shifts in the systems that are responsible for the predicament. It embraces complexity, interconnectedness and messiness. The nemesis of Systems Change is Business as Usual (BaU). BaU is predictable, including the challenges the planet currently faces. We knew what to expect way back in 1972, when the Limits to Growth was published, but no-one paid attention.

Thanks for bearing with me. I felt it’s important to mention my background so that you know through which lens I view major world events, developments and trends.

Very simply, a systems worldview looks at the system that determines any particular behaviour, rather than looking at the behaviour in isolation. In the next few minutes we’ll mention individuals and their behaviour by name. By mentioning them, we don’t mean to imply that they are responsible for some grand conspiracy. In general, these individuals set off on a particular course of action, and are influenced heavily by the system of society.

Does this mean there is no steering and manipulation at all? Not at all! The manipulation comes as a result of a way of thinking. That way of thinking is then imposed on ‘the masses’ by the powerful. We explained in Part 1 how this is a predictable occurrence in Stage 6 of the 7 Stage Cycle of Humanity. That way of thinking has repeated itself over and over through the rise and fall of many civilizations.

The key point, though, is that THEIR plans can only come to fruition if their way of thinking is supported by OUR groupthink.

One last thing for context: I am not an economist or scientist or climate expert. I am a systems thinker, so I think at the 500,000 foot Low Earth Orbit satellite level. As a result, I may have some details wrong in the next part of our discussion. If so, please do let me know so that I can correct my thinking.

Now that we have set the context, let’s dive into the messy nexus of energy, climate change and renewables, in a no-conspiracy manner.

Energy Realism

A little context before diving in. Without this context, some of what we’re about to cover may sound naive and idealistic.

  • Without cement, steel, plastics, and fertilizer (which all require oil for their production), there would be no modern world. Seldom do you hear this acknowledged by climate alarmists. So, oil has overall been good for progress.
  • Harnessing coal, oil, and natural gas has empowered human action at a scale not seen in any previous civilization.
  • All forms of energy have downsides and upsides, requiring thoughtful analysis of the tradeoffs.
  • The highly specialized method of extraction of hydrocarbons partly contributed to the rise of a class-based society. Of course there were other factors, but the complicated extraction methods required for natural resources is available only to a small number of rich and powerful.

“There is a growing belief that our industry soon will be, and should be, gone." — Chris Wright, Chairman and CEO, Liberty Energy

While we agree with this statement, there are reasons other than climate change why hydrocarbons should be transcended, and we will cover this in a future video.

Business as Usual

In The Limits to Growth, the concept of Business as Usual was introduced. In Part 2 of this series, we added the concept of an evolutionary momentous leap forward. Since we are nearing the end of a cycle which predictably ends in the collapse of the old way of doing things, there exists the potential for a momentous leap. Such a leap should fundamentally change BaU, otherwise it’s just tinkering at the edges.

These are the characteristics of Business as Usual that would have to fundamentally change for any change in behaviour to qualify as a momentous leap.

  • Relies on extraction and/or exploitation;
  • Consumes vast amounts of current energy sources for its production;
  • Benefits humans but harms other life forms;
  • Perpetuates the concentration of wealth i.e. a class-based civilization.

Does Green Renewable Energy (GRE) Qualify as a Momentous Leap?

To answer this important question, we’re going to employ critical thinking, rather than blindly follow all the other ‘renewable’ sheep (with deep respect and apologies to the wooly kind of sheep).

In our view, GRE is simply a nice way of saying ‘Business as Usual’ (BaU) and ‘Fossil Fuel Protectionism’ (FFP). Let’s delve into why we say this.

The first important point is that GRE equipment cannot be produced without vast amounts of fossil fuel.

“A good rule of thumb is about 10 barrels of oil per day for a 2MW industrial wind turbine.” Jared Gordon, Aerospace Engineer

Gordon has made this assessment by taking into account:

  • The complex construction process for a turbine;
  • Transportation and installation;
  • Maintenance and lubrication to keep it running;
  • Decommissioning and transport to a dump site at the end of its lifespan (blades, mast and concrete cannot be economically recycled).

Solar does not fare much better: Silica rock must be melted to create the silicon needed for solar panels. The smelting process requires vast amounts of coal or oil to reach the required temperatures.

So, in a twist of irony, GRE is anything but green and is certainly not a momentous leap, since it:

- Relies on extraction and/or exploitation
- Consumes vast amounts of current energy sources for its production
- Benefits humans but harms other life forms
- Perpetuates the concentration of wealth i.e. a class-based civilization.

But GRE are a little more complex than this.

“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.” — Timothy Wirth, Vice Chairman of the United Nations Foundation

While we can certainly understand where Wirth is coming from, this is an example of a decrease in truth, honesty and transparency, which is a hallmark of Stage 6.

This thinking is not unique to Wirth. In fact, it dominates the hallways of institutional thinking about climate change and global warming.

Let’s remind ourselves what the Features of Stage 6 are (covered in Part 1).

  • Currency is devalued;
  • Increasing attempts to control freedom of citizens;
  • Decrease in truth, honesty and transparency (“post-truth” was chosen as the Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year in 2016);
  • Values and morals collapse; erodes integrity of the common good;
  • Grab of last resources by the powerful (overshoot).

The more one looks into the nexus of climate change and renewable energy, the more obfuscation is uncovered. Obfuscation is an intentional muddying of the water. This spin doctoring occurs so that the last remaining resources can be grabbed by the powerful.

Let’s see how.

“The goal of Net Zero is the greatest commercial opportunity of our time.” — Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance

Just Who is Mark Carney?

Carney is a Canadian economist with incredible and impressive accomplishments. He’s far more intelligent than I will ever be, so what I’m about to say I’m saying with humility and respect, but I’m reporting on what is available publicly.

Carney held two immensely responsible positions during two highly complex financial situations:

  • Governor of the Bank of Canada from 2008 until 2013 (post the messy Global Financial Crisis)
  • Governor of the Bank of England from 2013 to 2020 (during the messy Brexit Campaign)

He is currently vice chairman at Brookfield Asset Management, which is a US$725 billion fund. Do we know much about Brookfield? Unfortunately very little. In a 2020 Financial Times article, the firm was described as being “highly secretive and seemingly obsessed with control and susceptible to family squabbles.” The CEO of the company, Bruce Flatt, is often heard saying that “Our reputation is that if you have a large transaction — or if you have a difficult transaction — then come to Brookfield.

In 2019, CArney was appointed as the UNs Special Envoy on Climate Action, reporting directly to the UN Secretary General.

That’s interesting — what does he know about climate? We’re not sure because he’s never presented any credentials.

What we do know is Brookfield’s clients have a combined carbon footprint of 5,200 tons CO2. And yet he’s advising the UN and the UK on carbon? There is an obvious conflict of interest here. So, although he is certainly no climate expert, he knows how the world of money works. He can turn any crisis into a highly lucrative opportunity, and it appears he’s attempting to do so with climate, in his own words as quoted above.

This financial interest in climate could be why he launched the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero at COP26 in 2021, which collectively has US$90t under management.

“Achieving net-zero on a global scale requires $32t in climate investment by 2030 and $125t by 2050.” — UNFCCC, WEF, GFANZ

This ‘climate investment’ will be used for two technologies:

  • Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and ;
  • Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).

We won’t go into too much detail here, but essentially governments — through your tax dollars — will be hoodwinked into extending the life of their oil wells. This is how it works: rather than drilling for new oil, they capture carbon from the air, pump it into water and then pump that water into old wells. This forces the oil that they cannot currently reach up to the surface. In other words, they are demanding 125 trillion to continue business as usual. We will not move away from oil with this ‘Net Zero by 2050’ malarkey.

If you want evidence of how Carney is playing this game to the financial benefit of him and his friends, there’s a September 2022 Financial Times article worth reading. It’s a little too technical to cover in detail, but it explains how the new British government proposes to inflame global market speculation by weakening the Bank of England. We note with some interest that this is developing at the same time that a new Prime Minister is announced in England and — less than 48 hours later — we also have a new monarch. Both of these individuals are firm supporters of ‘Net Zero by 2050’ because of the boon it represents to the private sector. (Incidentally, Carney is the author of a paper entitled “Building a Private Financial System for Net Zero,” so this is serious stuff.)

To get back to the FT article, when Putin closed Nord Stream 1, wholesale prices should have rocketed. Instead, the German benchmark power price halved in a week. At the same time, end user prices — especially in the UK — shot up. What this means is huge energy profits, revealing the real dynamic of how global financial speculators have more control over pricing than the producers and the wholesalers.

The point about Net Zero is that energy shareholders and speculators are the biggest winners, not the planet and not the people.

What’s much more concerning about Carney is that, despite his cool, calm and collected demeanour, he is the epitome of the tyrannical control that appears in Stage 6 of the 275 Year Cycle, as we discussed in Part 2. Here are some of his book and talk extracts that demonstrate what he really thinks:

  • “…severely constrained choices: less flying, less meat, more inconvenience, and more poverty.”
  • “…requires rigid control on personal freedoms…”

These extracts come from the original publication of his book. It was significantly revised and the sub-title changed in 2022. He may well have toned down some of these statements.

Needless to say, we don’t recommend his book at all. It’s written purely for the one percent as a means to justify the increased control and the crushing of personal freedoms proposed by Klaus Schwab and others in the World Economic Forum.

Our quibble with Carney is that he has mobilized (significant) resources behind the organizing principle of Net Zero that worsens Stage 6. To reiterate: Net Zero will make life more unbearable for the people sector. Carney himself says so very clearly in his book.

History also tells us very clearly, though, that if Net Zero is pushed the way it has been to date, it will undoubtedly lead to further protests and eventually the emergence of Stage 7. Already the UK’s Don’t Pay Campaign is well on it’s way to achieving 1million energy boycotters by October 2022. We must keep in mind that history tells us these protests will increase, so we should expect them. We should also not be surprised by the actions of Carney, Schwab and their crowd. This grab of last resources is normal for the phase of the Human Cycle we are in.

Instead of Carney’s book we highly recommend The Psychology of Totalitarianism by Mattias Desmet. That’s because Desmet explains how groupthink of the masses enables the embrace of ideas like (human-induced) climate change and green renewable energy as the only response. If we hadn’t all bought into the idea of carbon capture and Net Zero and climate change and 1.5 degrees, all of Carney’s ideas would be dead in the water.

In Part 2 we explored the three possible outcomes for a civilization on the brink of collapse of the Old Way:

  • Massive Regression (back to hunter gatherer societies)
  • George Orwell’s 1984 (tyrannical governments, surveillance, loss of personal freedoms)
  • Momentous Leap (fundamentally different form of society)

Net Zero is a really, really bad idea because — as an organizing principle — it provides an outcome similar to George Orwell’s 1984. Net Zero is not a momentous Leap Forward, not by a long shot.

Another resource that helps with understanding whether the theory of global warming is accurate or not — as suggested by Timothy Wirth — is the book, Unsettled by Steven Koonin. Koonin is a former science advisor for the Obama Administration and he was previously Chief Scientist at BP, so he knows what he’s talking about. In his book, he confirms that all mainstream media reporting on climate science is “profoundly misleading.”

The next resource is The World Climate Declaration which has been signed by almost 1200 leading scientists and rationalists. They have six main parts to their declaration:

  • 1. Natural as well as anthropogenic factors cause warming;
  • 2. Warming is far slower than predicted;
  • 3. Climate policy relies on inadequate models;
  • 4. CO2 is plant food, the basis of all life on Earth;
  • 5. Global warming has not increased natural disasters;
  • 6. Climate policy must respect scientific and economic realities (Net Zero does not).

It’s important to note that neither we nor this declaration “deny climate change.” On the contrary, we believe climate has always and will always change. What we have an issue with is that individuals like Carney and Schwab say that the major culprit is fossil fuels and the only solution is Net Zero by 2050. Our faulty groupthink then leads us down an avenue with deep unintended consequences, just like the embrace of hydrocarbons in the first place. We will discuss alternatives in the next video.

The Real Issue

Climate change and Net Zero are dangerous distractions from the real issue, which is overshoot. Overshoot simply means stealing from future resources and/or polluting a productive environment, both of which are occurring now. And because we all have our faces glued to our mobile devices, we’re participating in the greatest groupthink in modern history: the fact that renewable energy can stop climate change. In other words, we are all responsible for this insanity.

So, what do we do if renewable energy is not the way to go?

Emissions by World Region

Earlier I made clear that I’m not an economist or a scientist or a climate expert, so I don’t normally like graphs. I do like this one, though, because it tells a story that’s completely ignored by climate scaremongers.

Source: OurWorldinData

Can you see how the bottom three bands are becoming narrower since about twenty years ago? And the top bands are expanding…

What this means is that developed nations have already been reducing their emissions for more than 20 years, while developing nations’ emissions are rising rapidly as they energize their societies and raise the standards of living of their residents.

While Carney’s proposals might make sense for developed nations, we need a different solution for Asia, India and Africa. For me, this is where possibilities for emergence become extremely exciting, and will discuss these options in the next video.

Thanks for reading!

An Invitation to Courageous Conversations

What we’re hoping to achieve with this series of videos is to catalyze conversations around the complex, inter-related topics of energy, war, disease, climate and human progress.

If you know someone who might be interested in these overlapping ideas, please share this series with them. If you’d like to engage directly in conversation, please reach out. 🙏

I am a systems thinking advisor and confidant on a mission to bring the benefits (and profits) of Ethical Sustainable Development Initiatives to the boardroom. I am grateful for the support I receive from my extensive network, without which I would not be able to offer consulting and project implementation services, systems thinking workshops and bespoke training for teams and executives that want to embrace systems thinking to leave a lasting legacy.

If you would like to find out more, please visit https://magicinitiative.com.

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Society 4.0 is the emerging meta-society being nurtured into existence by a global network of self-directed thinkers, architects, builders, doers & supporters. We are all united by a vision of thriving, equitable, and sustainable communities within an ecologically healthy world.

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Michael Haupt

I cut through (and expose) ESG & sustainability greenwashing. Speaker | Writer | Social Artist | Architect of Transformation