At the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos between 15-19 January with 60 heads of states attending UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that geopolitical divisions threaten the global response to climate change.
With upcoming elections in 2024 adding to tensions, it poses risks to security, economy, and the environment. Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East dominated discussions, yet sustainability remained a key theme. Leaders emphasized that idea that sustainability comes at a cost is false and stressed the need for aligning sustainability efforts with economic growth and transformation.
During a panel on transforming energy demand, the International Energy Agency’s executive director Fatih Birol highlighted the importance of increased investment in energy efficiency. US special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry, urged for up to $5 trillion in annual investments until 2050 to support the transition away from fossil fuels. He noted that climate relate philanthropy stagnated and represents under 2% of all philanthropic giving.
Acknowledging the interconnection of nature and business, philanthropist André Hoffmann emphasized considering nature in business practices instead of “producing value without looking at the immediate consequences of what we are doing”. Guterres reiterated the inevitability of phasing out fossil fuels for a “just and equitable” transition to renewable energy, while World Bank President Ajay Banga emphasized urgency in addressing the existential climate crisis and reiterated the pledges made by the World Bank to increase its climate finance target to 45% by 2025. “A sense of urgency is our only saviour.”