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Tuesday, January 29, 2008
World Economic Forum - Davos, Switzerland 2008

Davos, Switzerland - Climate Change and Leadership

The announcement that Societe Generale had taken a EUR 4.9 billion trading loss stole the show at the World Economic Forum annual meeting held in Davos, Switzerland (January 23-27, 2008). The meeting brought together world leaders from business and politics to discuss the key economic issues.

The global uncertainty about financial institutions and markets became the newspaper headlines from Davos and this was also the key element of the conclusion of the talks there over the weekend. Japan's Prime Minister, Yasuo Fukuda, tried to steer Davos towards the topic of Climate Change, when he delivered his speech on Saturday to the 2500 business leaders and politicians who were attending. Fukuda said "there is no time to lose in addressing climate change" to the audience and he pledged $10 billion in aid from Japan to emerging countries to assist them in reacting to the problem.

In July, Japan will host the G-8 leader's summit and they would like to steer the discussions towards emissions reductions targets to take effect after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. The world has moved into a period of financial uncertainty and it is probable that all countries will experience a period of recession during the next two to three years. What will reduce the burden of this will be how quickly all countries support new economy industries in solar and wind energy and also mandate industries in environmental restoration. It is an economic reality that if absolutely every country mandated internal investment in these areas, then all would play within the same financial reward landscape, and a new economy would emerge.

What was missing at Davos was a uniting of leadership from both business and politics to tackle the Climate Change issues. Prime Minister Fukuda's actions were excellent, but leaders need to unite with him and put the Earth first on the agenda. Hopefully, there will be stronger leadership emerging from each country in 2008 that is willing to combat Climate Change issues in a timely effective way, as there really is no time to lose. Also, there is so much to gain economically from a united global approach to this.

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