Greta Thunberg, climate activist, pauses during a panel session on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos/Bloombergby Bloomberg
Greta Thunberg, the 17-year old Swedish climate, brought a stark message to the business elite gathering in Davos: Everybody is talking about climate change, but nobody is doing anything.
Her appearance at the opening of the World Economic Forum was a striking sign that the debate about how to stop the earth warming has become mainstream in business circles. Yet only a handful of executives from the oil, gas and coal industries that are chiefly responsible for warming the planet were seen attending the panel at which Thunberg spoke.
“The climate and environment is a hot topic right now, thanks to young people pushing, pretty much nothing has been done, since the global emissions of CO2 have not reduced,” said Thunberg
This year and for the first time on record, environmental risks occupy the group’s top five long-term concerns, while corporate executives say they are increasingly concerned about environmental issues.
Thunberg is giving relevance to the Davos gathering, which for years has suffered from criticism that it was largely a billionaires’ playground where the rich debated among themselves without hearing outside voices.
The debate on climate change is forcing executives from all kinds of sectors to respond to demands to stop carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
Hundreds of climate activists are due to arrive at Davos on foot on Tuesday following a three-day march across the Swiss Alps. Protesters will gather at the ski resort and stage a demonstration calling for the end of the World Economic Forum. Activists said that companies attending Davos for the past five decades bear a great responsibility for today’s climate crisis.
Thunberg urged businesses, governments and the media to listen to scientists. She cited research by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from 2018 that concluded that the carbon budget—the amount that can be released while still keeping global warming limited to a specific level—stands at 340 gigatons of carbon dioxide and that, at current emission levels it will be gone in less than eight years.
“Since last summer I have been repeating these numbers over and over again in every speech, I know you do not want to talk about this but I assure you I will continue to repeat these numbers until you do,” added Thunberg