Davos on Climate Change: citizens demanding more actions while CEOs tried to balance profit with sustainability

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Tumbler Ridge, Canada, Unsplash 2019

Climate change was one of the hot topics during the annual World Economic Forum which took place in the Swiss Alps last week. Sir David Attenborough, English broadcaster and natural historian, outlined the serious impact that humanity is causing to the environment and underslined the urgency of immediate action in order to reverse the ongoing situation.

Regarding EU’s climate contribution is concerned, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom mentioned on January 24 that the Old Continent should increase its ambitions in order to be united and solid. What is more, business chiefs expressed their concern on climate change saying that it can be dealt through the next wave of globalization.

Economic growth vs. climate change

David Attenborough together with Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg were among the people who influenced Davos with their presence and discussions about human accountability on the climate change scourge. There is a dire need to speed up the process to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to normal levels.

The well-known naturalist said precisely: “Now we are seeing that almost everything we do has its echoes and has its duplications and inter-implications across the natural world. We are one coherent ecosystem, it’s not just a question of beauty or interest or wonder, and the essential ingredient – the central part of human life – is a healthy planet. We are in the danger of wrecking that. Growth is going to come to an end, either suddenly or in a controlled way. We need to move beyond guilt or blame, and get on with the practical tasks at hand.”

Greta Thunberg attempted through words of fear to persuade world leaders that immediate actions are desperately needed. The 16-years old Swedish teen cried out: “I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day and then I want you to act. Either we choose to go on as a civilisation or we don’t”.

Business leaders address environmental goals

EU tech giants and aluminum producers bought a large amount of wind power capacity in 2018 in an attempt to make their businesses more sustainable and green oriented. More specifically, according to WindEurope, an association which promotes the use of wind power in Europe, new wind agreements (so-called power purchased agreements) have been signed of a total capacity of 5 GW increasing to a great extent compared to 2017 figures.

What is more, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Nestlé and Unilever joined forces with waste management company TerraCycle and launched an initiative called Loop which will provide the opportunity to everyone to reuse containers for most of the household products.

Climate change requires political intervention

Last Sunday thousands of people demonstrated across France expressing their disagreement for the current climate situation and asking for practical ideas to be implemented by the French government in order to tackle global warming.

During WEF, many protests, including students, were holding a strike requesting from world leaders and business CEOs to show their will by considering a more practical climate agenda which will bring tangible results. On this matter, Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International’s executive director expressed her distress about Davos’ outcome to address climate change.

More in detail, Jennifer Morgan said: “It is deeply disturbing that, as the world tinkers on the brink of a climate catastrophe, avoiding further temperature rise is not at the very centre of all of the meetings of CEOs and world leaders. The solutions are in front of them and they need to prioritise solving this crisis, join the youth who are leading the way forward and thus be on the right side of history. Yesterday there were 32,000 school strike students on the streets of Belgium and today children are taking to the streets of Berlin clamouring for an early coal phase-out. The youth are demanding to be heard, the question is, why isn’t the Davos elite responding with the scale and pace required? Short-term business interests and making a greater profit, whatever the cost to others, clearly remains the Davos elites priority. We have no time to waste.”

Thus, the truth regarding the contribution of business and world leaders is somewhere in the middle. There are companies such as the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders which use renewable energy sources in order to deal with the climate threat. However, there is still a big gap coming from several companies and countries which are still not climate friendly and burn fossil fuel to maximize profit ignoring the impact on the planet.

But growth and profit should go hand in hand with global environmental sustainability. Countries and companies which will not follow the path towards a greener world will face economic challenges instead of greater gains. Hence, the business world will have to adopt to the new era of high innovation and technological level through which temperature will remain under 1.5°C; the threshold to avoid climate change devastating results.

All in all, business and world leaders together with citizens are responsible for the climate change crisis. It is therefore imperative that everyone shoulders its own responsibilities and burden for this crisis in order to be able to draw a sustainable future in the upcoming two years, which will judge whether the planet will be able to reverse dreadful environmental consequences.

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Comments

  1. Please forward to Sir David Attenbourgh on 30.01.2019

    “ BLUE, Royal Blue, OUR world needs YOU”
    Blue is the colour of power in UK.
    Say STAY, SAVE, BLUE PLANET Earth
    LEAD Global future within the EU.

    Blue, blue our world is blue,
    Blue is our future without global change.
    Stay, stay, LEAD 4 10 to secure
    Blue Planet Earth, REVOKE, start TODAY
    Then in 10, WHEN, the planet is secure,
    .

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