Today, Simonetta Sommaruga, Switzerland’s president, opened this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) alongside the event’s founder, 81-year-old Klaus Schwab. This is the 50th WEF event in the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos.
Ms Sommaruga said she was concerned about the state of the planet and the need to find the right balance between international politics and the environment. She also spoke of her concern about politically motivated hate, intolerance and vengeance.
Given this year’s guest list, the risk of intolerance and vengeance is high. Mr Trump, who skipped the event last year, has been an outspoken opponent of many measures aimed at cutting greenhouse emissions, while another attendee, the 17 year old environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who has sparred with Mr Trump in the past, pins much of the blame for the knotty problem of climate change on those born before she was, a divisive message.
Ms Sommaruga presented an extract of the documentary film ‘More than Honey’ by Swiss film director Markus Imhoof, to highlight the issue of falling biodiversity. One third of human food requires bee pollination, so the death of bees could eventually lead to significant food shortages.
At the same time the list of actions we could take to stem these trends continues to grow. Top of the list of actions to contain climate change is refrigerant management – the careful disposal of air conditioners and other cooling equipment could keep nearly 90 gigatons worth of CO2 out of the atmosphere, not far from the greenhouse effect of a decade of fossil fuel burning – based on IPCC data.