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World Economic Forum

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The Davos Gathering / 2018



Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum:

“No individual alone can solve the issues on the global agenda”, he stated in opening the conference in what should have been obvious but isn't given the announcement of US withdrawal from the global climate accord. This places the US as the only nation to reject a cooperative approach to the common threat of climate/atmospheric/economic disruption.
The WEC highlights climate risk, and nuclear weapons, at the top of global dangers in their Risks Report.
Mr. Schwab continued that the world is at "an inflection point where" there is “real danger of a collapse of our global systems”.
The conference and WEC organizers proceeded over the course of the week to set out “multi-stakeholder” solutions in general agreement that global problems are best solved by countries working together.

  • Anand Mahindra: "Climate change is the... biggest financial and business opportunity."
"Why on earth are we talking about this as a compulsion or a burden?
"Everything our group of companies has done to try and improve energy (consumption) or to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has given us a return."
"We have to dispel the idea that there is a trade-off (for business)."

  • Philipp Hildebrand, vice chairman of BlackRock, the world's biggest asset manager, told the WEF a new generation is ramping up pressure on asset managers to put money into investments with a strong environmental agenda and to push companies to play a bigger role in addressing climate change.
"People are beginning to realize this problem is too big for governments alone to deal with.... Essentially corporations have to become part of this solution."
"We're about to see the largest wealth transfer in the history of humanity. You have a new generation of clients... who simply care more about these issues."

  • Insurance companies have a vested interest in switching their money away from fossil fuels, Thomas Buberl, chief executive of insurance company AXA SA, told Thursday's discussion on stepping up climate action.
Investing less in coal "pays out significantly" in cutting the number of insurance claims and in being able to continue providing insurance, he explained.

  • Jay Inslee, governor of Washington state, continued explaining challenge and opportunities.
"We have to decarbonise the world's economy at a pace that cannot wait for the great inventions that might otherwise occur over a century," he said, adding they need to occur in "over a decade or so".

  • Former US Vice President Al Gore summed up the politics in play.
Fossil fuel subsidies total some $US 5.3 trillion a year, he pointed out, and in many jurisdictions lobbyists for the industry have "gotten lawmakers to put up obstacles to the installation of solar and wind".
"We need to convince every country in the world" to increase their commitments to cut emissions and "to save humanity's future".


Global Risks Landscape

Our planet on the brink

Environmental risks have grown in prominence over the 13-year history of the Global Risks Report, and this trend continued in the latest GRPS. All five risks in this category occupy the top-right quadrant of The Global Risks Landscape 2018 (see Figure I below), indicating higher-than-average perceptions of both likelihood and impact.

Among the most pressing environmental challenges facing us are extreme weather events and temperatures; accelerating biodiversity loss; pollution of air, soil and water; failures of climate-change mitigation and adaptation; and transition risks as we move to a low-carbon future. However, the truly systemic challenge here rests in the depth of the interconnectedness that exists both among these environmental risks and between them and risks in other categories—such as water crises and involuntary migration. And as the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico has starkly illustrated, environmental risks can also lead to serious disruption of critical infrastructure.

Global Risks Landscape 2018-WEF.jpg


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