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The WEF Addresses Climate Change
Climate change was high on the agenda of the World Economic Forum's Davos, Switzerland, conference. Speakers offered both dire warnings and targeted strategies.
The focus of much of January's World Economic Forum Conference in Davos, Switzerland, was on the environment, with climate change (CC) being front and center. Several speakers declared their concerns:
- India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi described CC as the greatest threat to civilization. His comments are supported by the WEF agency's 2018 Global Risks Report, which lists "extreme weather events" and "natural disasters" as the global circumstances that are "very likely" to cause "severe impact" on the planet and its populations. Only "weapons of mass destruction" would have a more significant impact on the planet than the environmental disaster currently unfolding.
- Risalat Khan, a Bangladeshi Global Campaigner and Environmental Fellow at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), noted that his generation would hold today's decision-makers accountable for their failure to adequately address the CC issue, giving them just three years (2018-2020) to redeem themselves. Through the organization Avaaz, Khan spearheaded the "People's Climate Marches" in 2014 and 2015, which attracted more than 1.5 million marchers to the CC cause, including the UN Secretary-General.
- The International Executive Director of Greenpeace, Gerd Leipold, highlighted the fact that CC is an economic issue that threatens all global communities. His organization and the millions of people who adhere to its principles are watching to see how the world-wide corporate community steps up to the CC challenge.
Other speakers declared their intentions to address CC with or without governmental support:
- French President Emmanuel Macron announced France's intention to shut down all of its coal-fired power stations within four years, by 2021. He plans to incorporate "climate action" as one of the five pillars of his strategy to reform that country's economy.
- The Governor of Washington state, Jay Inslee, announced to the international crowd that 15 U.S. states had created the United States Climate Alliance to pursue the goals of the Paris Accord. Together, the 15 states account for 40% of America's national economy.
- One business leader, Anand Mahindra of the Mahindra Group, spoke of CC as the 21st Century's most prominent business opportunity and announced the intention of his conglomerate to both invest more in green technologies and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by implementing science-based practices and targets.
- Not insignificantly, Thomas Buberl, the CEO of AXA, a global insurance giant, declared that his companies would not only stop insuring coal-related enterprises but they would also divest themselves of coal-related businesses.
The WEF leadership encourages conference participants and observers to make 2018 the year that true CC reversal begins. For climate watchers and renewable energy enthusiasts, the conference was a bright spot and a reminder that almost the entire planet is invested in reversing the threat of climate change.
I'm doing my part by walking, not driving; reusing my resources, and buying cleanly produced products. What are you doing?
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed the benefits of globalization and need to combat climate change during the opening address...