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Davos debates delivery on climate change

Business leaders gather in Davos to discuss how finance, technology and a changing economic order can speed up climate action

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(Image by WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM / Valeriano Di Domenico)

The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, which got underway today, will give governments and companies an opportunity to decide on how to put the Paris climate agreement into effect.

The meeting comes as the threat of global warming, particularly on food security and water shortages, remains near the top of concerns among business leaders, according to a 
report published by the WEF last week. 

Speaking at a WEF panel on Wednesday morning, UN climate chief Christina Figueres said that the Paris agreement had been the “easy part”, and that the task now is to dictate the speed of change in the world’s energy systems.

Business and political leaders have gathered at a time when oil prices have slid to 12-year lows. Weakening demand and a major glut in the supply of commodities such as oil, coal and iron ore is a reminder to governments that fossil fuels and energy-intensive natural resources are increasingly volatile elements that can wreak havoc with future budget planning.

Panel discussions in Davos on Wednesday morning debated the extent to which weak fossil fuel prices would hinder efforts to switch to renewables and electric motoring, which became increasingly competitive before the latest slump in oil prices.

Sales of electric vehicles stagnated in the US late last year while demand for gas-guzzling vehicles rose sharply as consumers reacted to a slide in the price of gasoline.

In the long-term, momentum behind low carbon alternatives to petrol engines and fossil fuel power generation in countries such as China, the EU and the US will have enough traction to withstand the impact of falling oil and coal prices, partly thanks to government incentives, including carbon trading and taxes.

Meanwhile, the opportunities presented by new technology, such as powerful batteries, energy storage, increased connectivity, and greater automation have become increasingly apparent. Attendees at the 
Davos meeting pondered the impacts of a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, which refers to how technology is transforming society and economies, including the way in which energy is produced and stored. 

Davos meetings are much derided by green activists as an ineffective talking shop for a cosseted global elite, but other than UN climate summits, few other gatherings offer an opportunity for multilateral institutions, such as the World Bank and the UN, to engage with the world’s biggest companies and dozens of world leaders. The outcome of this year’s conversations remains to be seen.

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匿名 | Anonymous

FUNDING CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGs)

I wonder whether the possibility of funding climate change mitigation and adaptation and SDGs from the military budgets of the World (approximately $US 1,700 billion in 2015). The case for doing so is strong when one considers:-

a Military action comes when the economic conditions of many people in an area are poor.
b The economic conditions of the poorer people in poor countries are likely to be most affected unfavourably by climate change.
c Using military budgets could be regarded as a form of military action - interdiction of the basis of the military supply chain in conflicts - the poor people of our world.
f The technology and other productive capabilities now devoted to usual military activities could be used to build renewable energy supplies.
g Think of military budgets as security budgets. At this time climate change and the existence of poor areas are big threats to the security of all countries.