At Davos, climate activists say major issues ignored

At Davos, climate activists say major issues ignored

DAVOS. Switzerland — On Thursday, around 50 climate advocates gathered in Davos (a charming Swiss town in central Switzerland) to raise awareness of issues they feel were largely ignored at this week’s World Economic Forum meeting.

They said that more attention should be paid to human suffering, especially in developing countries that are experiencing severe weather events such as heat waves or floods. They stated that there is no discussion of reparations for poor countries, which are often referred to by “loss and damages” but have had the most severe effects of global warming. Finally, they claimed that calls for a transition from fossil fuels to renewables were hollow because they were not supported by any talk of plans to eliminate them.

“Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Fossil fuels have to go!” some chanted at the gathering, about a 10-minute walk from the main convention center, where meetings between politicians, business leaders, scientists, academics, journalists and others took place Monday through Thursday.

The elite forum, which was the first in person since 2020,, was held at a moment when the top climate scientists around the world have warned that the rise of greenhouse gases must be drastically curtailed this decade to maintain a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), since pre-industrial times. Emissions such as carbon dioxide are warming the planet, which can lead to weather disruptions and other problems.

IlyessElKortbi is a climate activist from Ukraine, who fled to Germany after Russia invaded late February. He said that he believed the annual United Nations climate summits were “worst places with empty promises and empty words.” He saw worse.

“People ignored facts,” he stated. “People continued to speak as if nothing happened while children and families die every day in Ukraine and lose their future just as I lost my future.”

ElKortbi, who said two of his friends had died in the war, argued that the invasion would not have happened had the European Union fully moved away from fossil fuels years ago, as many scientists and activists have long advocated. ElKortbi pointed out that most of the oil and gas Europe uses comes from Russia. Therefore, buying that energy helps to fund the war.

The forum did include many discussions about climate change and the environment. 90 was the most relevant to climate change. It covered everything from biodiversity loss to technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. There were also a few panels that featured young climate activists like Cassidy Miligruak Kramer, Helena Gualinga, from Ecuador, and Vanessa Nakate (from Uganda).

Government officials such as John Kerry, the U.S. Special Envoy on Climate, and Lea Wermelin (Denmark Environment Minister) spoke out about the need for green energy transitions and holding companies accountable for their emissions. A large public-private partnership was announced to purchase green energy across the supply chains of companies. This is all in an effort to increase innovation and send market signals.

But young activists often argue that the problem was not the lack of climate change discussion, but the lack of focus on the topic. They said that there was much talk about economic growth, fears about a recession, and even green technologies but very little about how to help those affected by climate change.

“Many people are disconnected from reality,” Nakate said to the small group. They are trapped in a bubble. They are in their own world In many ways, Davos is its own world. The town of about 10,000 people, in one of the world’s most expensive nations, is a popular for skiing in the winter and for hiking and other outdoor activities in the summer. A few streets are lined with boutique shops and hotels. You can see stunning views of the mountains from almost anywhere.

Activists can either travel with sponsorships or independently. They can either stay in nearby towns where lodging is more affordable or camp in tents and sleeping bags at Arctic Base Camp. They, along with other participants, such as scientists and engineers, take part in panels that are not part the World Economic Forum program.

” Was it worth it?” Gualinga, an Ecuadorean activist, reflected on the week. She said that activists are essential to be present.

” We won’t be able find the solutions we need if those who are directly affected by climate change and the fossil fuels industry are not involved in decision making.


Peter Prengaman is The Associated Press’ global climate and environmental news director. Follow him here:


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