Climate risks put at top of Davos agenda – but business leaders still fly in

Climate risks put at top of Davos agenda… as the global elite fly in on their private jets!

The World Economic Forum has urged business leaders to step into the void left by governments in tackling climate change.

For the first time, the world’s business elite has placed issues related to the environment in all top five spots on its list of concerns about the next decade, according to WEF’s annual Global Risks Report.

However, WEF risked accusations of hypocrisy ahead of its annual meeting in Davos next week, where some of the rich and famous will arrive at the Swiss ski resort by private jet.

The World Economic Forum has urged business leaders to step into the void left by governments in tackling climate change – but it didn’t stop them flying in on private jets

Rachel Kennerley, climate campaigner at Friends Of The Earth, urged delegates to avoid private jets. ‘As the leaders of the world’s most polluting countries and companies they should look at cutting those emissions as a priority,’ she said.

As bushfires rage in Australia, and California repairs damage caused by wildfires, the WEF is now encouraging company bosses to come together in creating measures to minimise further damage to the environment.

If leaders wait until geopolitical turbulence has calmed, the report added, ‘time will run out to address some of the most pressing economic environmental and technological challenges’.

WEF president Borge Brende said: ‘The political landscape is polarised, sea levels are rising and climate fires are burning.

‘This is when world leaders must work with all sectors of society to repair and reinvigorate our systems of co-operation, not just for short-term benefit but for tackling our deep-rooted risks.’

The top five concerns on business leaders’ agenda are:

  • Extreme weather events with major damage to property and loss of lives;
  • Failure by businesses and governments to mitigate or adapt to climate change;
  • Human-made environmental damage, such as oil spills and radioactive contamination;
  • Major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse;
  • Major natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

The WEF’s annual meeting will host some of the world’s most powerful figures, from Donald Trump and Prince Charles to climate campaigner Greta Thunberg, central bankers and bosses of businesses such as Unilever and BP.

Though many will fly in by private jet, the WEF claims the event will be carbon neutral due to a range of carbon-offsetting measures it has taken.

The focus on climate risks comes after Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, announced measures this week to encourage investors to plough more of their money into environmentally friendly companies.

Paul Morozzo, climate finance campaigner at Greenpeace, said last night: ‘It’s not enough to identify how grave the climate emergency is.

‘The banks and financial institutions jetting into Davos next week have made trillions pumping money into climate-crashing fuels such as oil, gas and coal.

‘It’s time to stop funding the crisis and start backing the solutions. That means immediately ending support for fossil fuels we cannot afford to burn.’

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has also been pushing for governments, investors, lenders and businesses to pay attention to the financial impact which climate change might have.


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