Why WEF 2020 is critical to the climate crisis

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting begins today in Davos, Switzerland, and will be held until Friday January 24. The event brings together almost 3,000 people from 117 countries, including 53 heads of state, 119 billionaires, chief executives, bankers, academics, NGOs and celebrities from across the globe. And for the first time, the climate crisis is top of their list of global issues to debate.

Marking the summit’s 50th anniversary, WEF 2020 takes place amid widespread concern of impending economic crisis and the climate emergency.

Attending with youth climate activists from around the world, Greta Thunberg is set to warn the powerful audience to “abandon the fossil fuel economy” if they want to avert catastrophe.

More than ever before, the public will be watching – and ready to hold these leaders to account if they’re not ambitious enough.

Climate crisis at WEF

So far, environmentalism and combatting climate change have emerged as clear priorities in the meeting’s agenda, which is centred around the theme “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World”.

Last Wednesday, WEF released its annual Global Risks Report. It revealed for the first time in 15 years, that the world’s top five threats to economic and political stability are all related to climate change.

The report signifies a radical shift in focus for WEF 2020. Founder of the forum Professor Klaus Schwab said in an interview with theFinancial Times last week: “My dream for Davos is to get the big investors and hedge funds and so on together and to say, we are committing ourselves to finance only investments that are environmentally not damaging.”

Who will be in Davos 2020?

With a backdrop of extreme weather disasters, the world’s most powerful people have the opportunity to kick-start 2020 as the year of urgent climate action. WEF 2020 offers a critical spotlight for climate-ready businesses to step forward and show they won’t be left in the dust of other new green pioneers.

Company representatives from Blackstone, Bridgewater Associates, Google, Facebook and Huawei will address the Forum. Following bold announcements from Black Rock and Microsoft last week, this is a chance for businesses to show real climate leadership. Commitments from American CEOs will be especially pivotal given inaction from the US government.

US President Donald Trump is expected to speak at Davos on Tuesday, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng.

The list of influential attendees also includes activist Micah White (Occupy Wall Street); musicians Will.i.am and Yo-Yo Ma.

With Trump scheduled to be on the same snowy mountain as Greta this week, we can be sure that WEF 2020 will be dominated by the climate crisis – whether the outcomes are positive or not. And we will all be watching eagerly for visions of a better, safer future for us all. One without fossil fuels.

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