Climate change was a central part of this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) which took place in Davos Switzerland from January 21 to 24. Unlike previous meetings, there was an unprecedented sense of urgency in this year’s discussions about climate change.
A WEF plenary titled “Tackling Climate, Development and Growth” included Paul Polman, A. Michael Spence, Jakaya M. Kikwete, Christine Lagarde, Ban Ki-moon, and Jim Yong Kim. This distinguished panel shared the view that to combat climate change we must engage in sustainable development. They also said that to succeed in efforts to reduce climate impacts we must see significant investments from both the public and private sector.
Barack Obama addressed climate change in his State of the Union speech saying, “And no challenge – no challenge – poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.”
This point was borne out in the WEF’s Global Risks Report which indicated that climate change and water issues are among the most serious concerns.
The headlines about the WEF meeting say it all, as explained by an article in The Guardian titled, Davos 2015: climate change makes a comeback, “The financial crisis pushed climate down the Davos agenda. This year, there are clear signs that it has made a comeback.” The New York Times made a similar point in an article titled, “Leaders in Davos Urge Quick Action to Alter the Effects of Climate Change.”
At the WEF meeting, Nobel laureate Michael Spence pointed to the “window of a very small number of years, after which we cannot win the battle.” He also said, “There is a tremendous sense of public sector awareness, commitment, demonstrations on the streets, a sense of momentum that has not been there before.”
Towards a Global Climate Agreement at COP21 (WEF Summaries)
Business Leadership on Climate Change (WEF Summaries)
Curbing Fossil Fuels – Carbon Pricing and an End to Subsidies (WEF Summaries)
The Value of Investing in Climate Mitigation (WEF Summaries)
Global Economies Feeling the Heat from Climate Change (WEF Summaries)
Collaboration and Cooperation are Imperative (WEF Summaries)
What is The World Economic Forum (WEF)
Risks Associated with Environment, Climate, Water Crisis and Extreme Weather in the WEF Report