On the eve of the 2023 Munich Security Conference, Mr. Soros argues that mitigation and adaptation are “necessary but not sufficient” responses to the climate emergency.
- Open” and “closed societies” are fighting for global domination at the same time as our civilization risks collapse due to climate change.
- While President Xi may remain in power in the short term, he will not remain in office for life – and China will not become the dominant force that Xi is planning.
- Putin could be planning a coup d’état against Moldova that may be executed before the one-year anniversary of the invasion.
- Modi’s weakening stranglehold on Government could, in time, lead to a democratic revival.
We must repair the damaged climate system in the Arctic Circle using geoengineering techniques, according to the philanthropist and financier, George Soros.
Mr. Soros argues in a speech on the eve of the 2023 Munich Security Forum that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet “poses a threat to the survival of our civilization” and that mitigation and adaptation projects are important but not sufficient. Before climate change reaches a tipping point, he argues, we must fund “human ingenuity” that repairs “a previously stable system”.
He notes that the global climate system greatly depends on what happens within the Arctic Circle, which is warming up four times faster than the rest of the world. It used to be isolated and covered by pristine ice and snow which reflected, rather than absorbed, sunshine, a phenomenon known as the “albedo effect”. Now, rising temperatures are melting the Greenland ice sheet, and it is covered in soot from last year’s forest fires on the West Coast of America, and broken up by icebreakers opening lanes for Arctic shipping in the summer months. This damage is leading to more of the sun’s rays being absorbed, rather than reflected, which in turn creates more warming.
Mr. Soros backs the theory developed by Sir David King and widely shared by climate scientists, that the damage to the Greenland ice sheet must be repaired by recreating the “albedo effect”, generating white clouds high above the earth, which would return a large proportion of the sun’s rays back into the atmosphere. This radical step, which would require huge investment and consultations with the indigenous population, could help “restabilize the Arctic climate system, which governs the entire global climate system”. The technology is explained in more detail in this film.
Such action is necessary, Mr. Soros argues, as, on the current trajectory, global warming will be “more than 2.5 degrees by 2070”, which would melt the Arctic permafrost and “increase the level of the oceans by seven meters”, causing untold damage. Once this happens, it is “not well understood” that “the amount of money needed to restabilize or repair the climate system grows exponentially”.
The accelerating pace of climate change, will, according to Mr. Soros: “cause large scale migration for which the world is ill-prepared”. Unless we “change the way we deal with climate change”, including “reorienting our international financial institutions, particularly the World Bank” to focus on it, he says, “our civilization will be thoroughly disrupted by rising temperatures that will make large parts of the world practically unlivable”.
At the same time as civilization is in danger of collapsing because of climate change, Mr. Soros sees two systems of governance that are fighting for global domination: “open” and “closed” societies. In open societies, the “role of the state is to protect the freedom of the individual”. In closed societies: “the role of the individual is to serve the interests of the state”.
Mr. Soros believes it is unclear whether open or closed societies will prevail in the battle for “global domination”, given that repressive states can “force their subjects to serve them”. However, he thinks that an open society is superior to closed societies as a form of governance and he “grieves for the people who must live under a repressive regime, like Assad’s Syria, Belarus, Iran and Myanmar”.
Turning to Ukraine, Mr. Soros notes that the US, UK and EU agree that the only way to end the Ukrainian war is to win it. Since “opposition from the Republican-led House of Representatives makes another large bi-partisan funding package from the US unlikely”, there is only a “narrow window of opportunity later this Spring” for the Ukrainian army to mount “a counterattack, which could determine the fate of the Russian invasion of Ukraine”.
Mr. Soros also notes that Moldova’s president, Maia Sandu has warned Putin is planning a coup d’état against Moldova. This threat, Mr Soros warns “could be executed before the anniversary” and considers the likely success of Putin’s “desperate gamble” in turning to mercenaries from Yevgheny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group. Prigozhin has been “ordered by Putin to produce a victory before the anniversary of the Russian invasion” and is currently trying to surround the town of Bakhmut.“It is possible that he will succeed” concludes Mr. Soros, “but I consider it unlikely” because “the Ukrainian army is putting up strong resistance and once Ukraine can use the weapons it has been promised the tables will be turned”.
If the Russian army collapses, Mr. Soros believes there will be far-reaching consequences. The countries of the former Soviet Union “can hardly wait” to see the Russian army defeated in Ukraine, he argues, “because they want to assert their independence”. That would result in the “dissolution of the Russian empire”, bringing “huge relief for open societies and tremendous problems for closed ones” since the Russian empire “would no longer pose a threat to Europe and the world”.
Mr. Soros also detects signs of hope in India, where he argues that “inciting violence against Muslims was an important factor” in Narendra Modi’s “meteoric rise”. Though it “may be naïve” he concedes, he expects “a democratic revival in India”. The stock market downfall of Narendra Modi’s close business partner, Gautam Adani, who is accused of stock manipulation, will “significantly weaken Modi’s stranglehold on India’s federal government” and lead to this democratic revival by opening the door “to push for much needed institutional reforms”. Though Modi is silent on the subject, “he will have to answer questions from foreign investors and in parliament”.
On Turkey, Mr. Soros argues that President Erdogan has mismanaged the Turkish economy and “turned more autocratic at home”, trying to jail his most powerful opponent, the mayor of Istanbul, and banning the Kurdish party from participating in the elections he faces in May. However, he will not be able to break with the tradition of allowing political parties to supervise the counting the votes, making it “difficult to falsify the results”. Following this month’s devastating earthquake, citizens are angry “because of the government’s slow response and desire to control all aid efforts”. The devastation “was not fate” according to Mr. Soros: “Turkey’s lax construction practices and Erdogan’s construction-driven growth model made everything worse”.
Switching focus to Brazil, Mr. Soros argues that President Lula’s win is a big victory for democracy. However, he will require strong international support because he must simultaneously protect the rainforests, (without which “there is no pathway to net zero”), promote social justice and reignite economic growth. Lula handled January’s coup attempt, “masterfully” he believes, “establishing his authority as president” in a country that is “on the front line of the conflict between open and closed societies”.
In China, President Xi Jinping has created self-inflicted problems, from mismanaging the economy at the beginning of his rule, through to his biggest blunder, the Zero Covid policy, which imposed “enormous hardship” on the population and brought the country “to the verge of open rebellion”. Furthermore, the chaotic way in which Xi exited the Zero Covid policy “without putting anything else in its place” resulted in “Armageddon” and “shook” the Chinese people’s trust in Xi’s leadership.
Yet despite the current situation fulfilling “all the preconditions for regime change or revolution”, Mr. Soros believes that “we are only at the beginning of a process, whose repercussions will be felt over a longer period of time” and whose significance is not widely appreciated. However, Mr. Soros is “convinced” that Xi will not remain in office for life, and that, while he is in office, China will not flourish. It will fail to “become the dominant military and political force that Xi is aiming for”.
For the moment, Xi’s misjudgments have created a “weak position at home”, which made him respond positively to President Biden’s offer in Bali to lower the temperature between the US and China. But the discovery of the Chinese surveillance balloon has “soured relations and it is on its way to poisoning them all together”.
Finally, Mr. Soros turns to the United States, which he believes is not doing well after the Trump Presidency significantly damaged its democracy. Mr. Soros’s hope for 2024 is that Trump, a “confidence trickster whose narcissism grew into a disease”, will slug it out for the Republican nomination with Florida senator, Ron DeSantis. He predicts that Trump will lose and run as a third-party Presidential candidate. This would result in a Democratic landslide and “force the Republican party to reform itself”.
However, Mr. Soros concludes that he “may be just a little bit biased” on this question as, we are all both participants and observers, which gives us an imperfect understanding of the world. “As participants we want to change the world in our favor” while “as observers we want to understand reality as it is”, notes Mr. Soros: “these two objectives interfere with each other”.