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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Davos 2020: Donald Trump, Greta Thunberg and a climate in crisis

The 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum starts on Monday, bringing 3000 of the richest and most powerful people in the world to a picturesque ski village in the Swiss mountains.
Trump will provide what the organizers describe as a special address on Tuesday, offering his mark of populism to attendees representing governments, corporations, central banks and transnational organizations.

Two hours later, Thunberg – Time Magazine’s Person of the Year – will open a debate on how to avoid a climate apocalypse.

Headliners have clashed on social media and can stay away from each other in Davos. But the participants will not be able to avoid climate change as the theme of the meeting is “Stakeholder for a Cohesive and Sustainable World”. The World Economic Forum (WEF) calls on all companies present to commit to reducing net carbon emissions by 2050.

Highlights: British Prince Charles will give a special speech Wednesday on “how to save the planet”.

Trump, who is aggressively withdrawing environmental protection and tearing the United States out of the Paris climate deal, could be challenged because of his vision for climate change.

Who do you attend and how?

About 3,000 of the people flocking to Davos are official conference participants.

Tickets are by invitation only and very expensive for companies. Membership in the WEF costs from $ 60,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars and there is an additional cost of around $ 27,000 to attend the conference.

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Davos also hosts thousands of journalists, security personnel, corporate support staff, businessmen and money changers, many of whom never enter the official conference rooms.

Some spend the week attending parallel discussions, panels, corporate events and parties. Many take advantage of the fact that so many elites are gathered in one place by blocking their full schedule of meetings.

What are they doing all week?

The official conference program is full of dozens of speeches, debates, shows and events. This year, many focus on the topic of sustainability.

“People rebel against the economic” elites “who they believe have betrayed them, and our efforts to keep global warming limited to 1.5 ° C are falling dangerously,” WEF founder Klaus Schwab said in a statement.

“With the world at such a critical crossroads, this year we need to develop a” Davos Manifesto 2020 “to reimagine the purpose and scorecards for companies and governments,” he added.

In addition to the headliners, attendees can choose to participate in the panels with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam and Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO David Solomon.
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Also, roaming the corridors and attending exclusive dinners are hundreds of senior executives and political figures like Facebook (FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, e Salesforce (CRM) CEO Marc Benioff.

The list of participants often reflects the global political and commercial mood.

President Trump attended in 2018, but jumped last year due to the closure of the United States government. Brexit, protests in France and the slowdown in the Chinese economy also contributed to the shortage of global leaders in 2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly ordered officials to stay away from Brexit this year. January 31, but Finance Minister Sajid Javid will go.

The critics

The conference has fierce critics, some of whom claim that the elite rally has done little to improve the world. Others contest its environmental footprint.

Many participants are ferried from one event to another in luxury cars, which obstruct the town. To help reduce the environmental impact, the WEF says its fleet is now 88% electric or hybrid.

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Then there are the hundreds of trips in private jets.

The WEF estimates that there were up to 309 private plane trips to two nearby airports for the conference last year. This excludes travel by presidents and prime ministers who tend to land on a nearby military base.

The conference also promises to buy carbon offsetting credits, a redesigned conference center and a menu full of locally sourced food. In 2020, it is promised to become “more sustainable than ever”.

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