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Most dangerous: Climate change-fuelled extreme weather event has been classed as the worst economic threat by the WEF | Image credit: CarbonBrief

Davos 2019: Grim climate “risk report”, are leaders listening?

“The Garden of Eden is no more”  — this was the stark warning naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough delivered to leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos this week. The world needs to “move beyond guilt or blame, and get on with the practical tasks at hand,” he said. In its  latest Global Risk Report, WEF said extreme weather and countries’ failure to tackle climate impacts were top risks the global economy faces in 2019.

But are business leaders listening? Analysis by the Air Charter Service, says private jet flights to WEF Davos grew by 11% in 2018, and this year, around 1,500 individual private jets will fly to and from Davos, as leaders go for more expensive aircraft. Meanwhile, “Globalisation 4.0” was the solution that the business elite offered to tackle climate change. However, analysts say “economic, social and environmental problems are interconnected, and require more than a shift in business to fix them.”

While New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern called for environmental ‘guardianship’, Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro invited global investors to exploit the Amazon forest. The US, meanwhile, skipped being physically present at Davos, with secretary of state David Pompeo joining via satellite link, where he denied US was isolated on the world stage.

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