Thunberg or Trump? Ecology or economics? The opening salvos at the 2020 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos highlighted the extremes in approach to climate change and presented a somewhat binary impression of the debate. In the environmentalist corner: “Net zero is not enough. We need to aim for true zero.” In the White House corner: “Capitalism is making the planet a better place to live.”
The realistic truth lies somewhere inbetween. This was the message in a letter from WEF founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab, co-signed by the heads of Bank of America and Royal DSM, to the 3,000 or so business leaders attending the forum. The letter highlighted that emissions targets are nowhere near being met and called on private businesses to make public commitments to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier.
The inference is that private business holds the key to meeting the emissions targets set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In order to limit global warming to 1.5˚C, an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 3-6 per cent is required by 2030. Currently emissions are increasing by 1.5 per cent annually.