Global fight against climate change ranks high during WEF discussions

By Martina Fuchs (Xinhua) 14:04, January 21, 2022

GENEVA, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- How to tackle global warming and build a more sustainable future for humankind was an overarching theme during the World Economic Forum (WEF)'s Davos Agenda 2022 as the virtual event entered its fourth day on Thursday, with leaders urging the 2020s become "a decade of new beginnings."

In the opening session on Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for stronger international cooperation in overcoming shared global challenges, including defeating the pandemic, revitalizing the global economy and addressing climate change.

No matter what difficulties may come our way, we must adhere to a people-centered philosophy of development, and realize the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Xi said, pledging that China will actively engage in international cooperation on the climate and jointly work for a complete transition to a greener economy and society.

WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab thanked China for its active role in the global effort to combat common challenges including climate change, noting, "The year 2022 will provide a unique opportunity for global leaders to work jointly towards a more inclusive, more sustainable and more prosperous world."

"We must unite despite the different views we hold; ultimately we belong to a single global humanity whose fate is increasingly interconnected," Schwab said.


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for the 2020s to become "a decade of new beginnings" focused on peace, health and decarbonization, in his address on Wednesday to business, government and civil society leaders at the forum.

He reiterated Germany's commitment to net-carbon neutrality ahead of 2050 but also acknowledged that Europe can't solve the climate crisis alone, saying "To reach net neutral is a monumental task, but one we will achieve."

In his address at the WEF on Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, emphasized that his country would challenge the world to ditch throwaway consumerism and shift to a circular economy.

"We must accept that our lifestyles are a big challenge for the climate. The throw-away culture and consumerism that have made the climate challenge even more serious. It is very essential that we move away from today's take-make-use-dispose economy and towards a circular economy," Modi said, promising that the next phase of India's growth will be "green, clean, sustainable and reliable."

The past year has already seen more actions globally taken to address the climate challenge. Last November, at the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, nearly 200 participating countries adopted a new global pact to tackle climate change. Negotiators also reached an agreement on the Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, paving the way for effective implementation of the deal to cut emissions through market-based approaches.


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this week stressed the need for immediate attention to support climate action in developing countries, especially as global emissions are set to increase by 14 percent by 2030.

"Even if all developed countries kept their promises to drastically reduce emissions by 2030, global emissions would still be too high to keep the 1.5 degree Celsius goal within reach. We need a 45 percent reduction in global emissions this decade," he told the virtual audience at the forum.

"We see a clear role for businesses and investors in supporting our net-zero goal," Guterres said.

On her part, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, highlighted on Thursday that trust will be essential for European citizens to embrace the European Green Deal, a set of policy initiatives with the overarching aim of making the European Union climate-neutral by 2050.

In October, the European Commission issued the first NextGenerationEU green bond, raising 12 billion euros (about 13.6 billion U.S. dollars) to be used exclusively for green and sustainable investments across the bloc, which represents the world's largest green bond issuance to date.


In a fresh report released earlier in the week, the WEF's BiodiverCities by 2030 Initiative in collaboration with the Bogota-based Alexander von Humboldt Institute and the Colombian government showed that cities can take a leading role in unlocking economic opportunities with nature-based solutions.

It highlighted that while cities contribute 80 percent to global gross domestic product, they also account for 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Rapid urban expansion has come at the expense of climate, nature and the economy, and 44 percent of global GDP in cities is estimated to be at risk of disruption from nature loss, the report said, calling for multistakeholder actions to build climate-resilient infrastructure, which could create 59 million jobs and mitigate growing risks from extreme weather.

"In the conventional paradigm, urban development and environmental health are like oil and water," said Akanksha Khatri, head of Nature Action Agenda for the WEF's Platform for Global Public Goods, in the report.

"This report shows that this does not have to be the case. Nature can be the backbone of urban development," Khatri said. "By recognizing cities as living systems, we can support conditions for the health of people, planet and economy in urban areas." 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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