The WEF Says It Wants to ‘Rebuild Trust’; Consumer Advocates Suggest How

‘The best thing the Davos crowd could do to restore trust is simple: stop with the social engineering,’ said O.H. Skinner of the Alliance for Consumers.
The WEF Says It Wants to ‘Rebuild Trust’; Consumer Advocates Suggest How
A sign of the WEF is seen at the Congress Centre during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 18, 2023. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)
Kevin Stocklin
1/17/2024
Updated:
1/18/2024
0:00

The rich and powerful gathered in Switzerland once again for the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) under the theme of “rebuilding trust.”

This year’s summit includes nearly 3,000 corporate and government leaders from 120 countries. The American delegation will include U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

In a statement titled “Davos 2024: Rebuilding trust in the future,” the WEF wrote that “after an era that lifted a billion people out of poverty and improved living standards everywhere, the anxiety about losing control over what lies ahead is pushing people towards embracing extreme ideologies and the leaders who champion them.”

“Rebuilding trust in our future is paramount,” the WEF stated. “Open, transparent conversations can restore mutual trust between individuals and nations who, out of fear for their own future, prioritize their own interests.”

This endeavor to rebuild trust takes place at a time when many who aren’t in Davos, Switzerland, this week are feeling skeptical, even resentful, about policies that elites have been imposing on them.

Although attendees at last year’s summit also worried about popular resistance to the WEF’s agenda, public recalcitrance appears to only have grown over the past 12 months.

A refusal by many consumers to buy electric vehicles (EVs) despite generous incentives has disappointed government officials and carmakers alike. Wind turbines and solar panel installations have faced protests and rejection from more than 600 local communities in the United States alone, and governments throughout Europe, fearing waning support, have begun stepping back from net-zero mandates.

Given this reaction, some consumer groups have suggested that the WEF could earn more trust by considering what people want versus imposing mandates on them to force compliance.

“The best thing the Davos crowd could do to restore trust is simple: stop with the social engineering,” O.H. Skinner, executive director of the Alliance for Consumers, told The Epoch Times.

Frank Lasee, president of Truth in Energy and Climate, which has criticized the global warming narrative, made a similar observation.

“They have a control agenda,” Mr. Lasee told The Epoch Times. “They want to control regular people as they go around the world in private jets.”

Building Trust by Fighting Climate Change

According to the WEF, however, stabilizing global temperatures is a key to rebuilding trust.

“Climate change is a clear threat to current and especially future generations,” the WEF stated, “[but] with technological progress, cheaper renewable energy is readily available and can substantially contribute to a more equitable world, with far-reaching impacts on the environment, life quality and longevity.”

Since 2019, the WEF and the United Nations have cooperated in a “strategic partnership” to advance the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, and the annual summits in Davos have functioned as a central hub in which business and political leaders come together to plan and impose a progressive agenda on populations.

The result has been an array of corporate, financial, and regulatory actions, including the defunding of the coal industry; efforts to curtail oil and gas production; heavy state subsidies for wind and solar power and EVs; attempts to eliminate gas stoves, gas heating, gasoline-powered cars, and outdoor power tools; and new restrictions on dishwashers, washing machines, and other home appliances.

But some argue that the climate movement’s single-minded drive to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions has made things such as energy and appliances less affordable and less reliable, reducing people’s quality of life while not reducing CO2 emissions.

“The only thing World Economic Forum can do to rebuild trust is to repudiate their aims of lowering living standards for the entire world, except for themselves,” Will Hild, executive director of Consumers’ Research, told The Epoch Times. “The reason no one trusts them is because they have bad intent.”

Many consumers are experiencing the net-zero movement, not as what President Joe Biden in 2022 called an “incredible transition,” but rather as a struggle to afford basic necessities.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average cost of electricity across the United States increased by 11 percent from 2021 to 2022. This trend continued in 2023, with the average residential electricity bill rising another 5 percent in the first quarter.
EVs are likewise a product for wealthy Americans, with the median buyer earning more than $180,000 per year, nearly double the national average income, Business Insider reports.
Home appliances could be another product that the middle class could struggle to afford. According to a report by the Alliance for Consumers, recent energy regulations from the Biden administration would increase the average cost of water heaters by $2,800, gas stoves by $3,250, air conditioners by $1,100, and gas furnaces by nearly $500.
“Everyday people are rightly pretty fed up with the seemingly endless campaign by the Davos crowd to make their lives harder,” Mr. Skinner said. “It’s been years now of WEF elites taking private jets while demanding that everyday consumers use paper straws, make do with dishwashers that don’t work, and get rid of our gas stoves.”

Deindustrializing for Net Zero

The net-zero movement has also taken its toll on companies, some of which are relocating out of regions like Europe, which leads in the transition to wind and solar energy, to countries where they can find affordable and reliable energy and taking jobs with them.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Peter Huntsman, CEO of Huntsman Corp., a Texas-based chemical manufacturing company, wrote that “over the past two years, dozens of energy-intensive manufacturers of our most basic materials—chemicals, steel, ceramics, glass and fertilizers—have ceased or slowed production in Europe.”

As part of what Mr. Huntsman calls a “deindustrialization” to cut CO2 emissions, Germany is experiencing “a collapse in energy-intensive manufacturing.” These industries didn’t cease emitting, they simply relocated to other countries such as China, where they could access affordable, reliable, and predominantly coal-based energy.

Mr. Lasee suggested that the WEF could rebuild trust by being more candid about its climate agenda.

“We’ve been lied to on virtually every front with this so-called energy transition,” he said. “I say ‘so-called’ because we really haven’t transitioned anywhere, other than adding a lot of expensive wind and solar energy to our electric grid.”

According to Marc Morano, founder of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, “the greatest threat the WEF faces to people trusting them is when their policies actually get implemented.”

Asked what the WEF could do to rebuild trust, he said, “Nothing.”

“The only reason they succeeded thus far is no one really paid attention to them,” Mr. Morano told The Epoch Times. “But they say the quiet part out loud all the time, so my advice to them would be, they should go into stealth mode.”

The more people learn about the WEF’s agenda, “the more horrified the general public is,” he said.

“[The WEF’s agenda is] anti-human at its core,” Mr. Hild said. “If they stopped obfuscating and told everyone their true goals, people would trust them even less.”

Kevin Stocklin is a business reporter, film producer and former Wall Street banker. He wrote and produced "We All Fall Down: The American Mortgage Crisis," a 2008 documentary on the collapse of the mortgage finance system. His most recent documentary is "The Shadow State," an investigation of the ESG industry.