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Climate Change High On The Agenda At The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting In Davos


Shift in business attitude reflected in programme

Davos, Switzerland, 23 January 2007 – With 17 sessions on climate change at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting this will be one of the “greenest” ever at Davos. The Meeting, which begins tomorrow, will be held under the theme ‘The Shifting Power Equation’ and sees more than 2,400 global leaders, among them more than 800 CEOs, meeting for five days in the Swiss Alpine town. Among the sessions on environmental issues taking place at the Meeting are: The Legal Landscape around Climate Change; Make Green Pay; The Security Implications of Climate Change; Economics of Climate Change; culminating with a plenary session entitled ‘Climate Change: A Call to Action’. Among the panellists for that session are Republican presidential frontrunner John McCain, Senator from Arizona, USA; Lord Browne of Madingley, Group Chief Executive of BP; Zhang Xiaoqiang, Vice-Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China; and Montek Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Indian Planning Commission.

For each of the 17 climate change sessions, the Forum has worked to gather together the world’s top academics, business leaders, NGO representatives, UN agency chiefs, politicians and many others to contribute to the discussion and help explore where high impact partnerships can be struck and how practical changes can be effected. Broadly, the sessions fall into four categories: policy, legislative and governance challenges; market and financing challenges; the challenge of leadership and the need for behavioural change; and the development and uptake of innovation. CNBC and BBC are also televising live debates on climate change from the Meeting.

Dominic Waughray, Head of Environmental Initiatives at the Forum, says “We are getting huge demand from our members to place climate change and issues of environmental security at the very heart of the programme of the World Economic Forum. The Forum has already been instrumental in getting business voices heard at the very centre of global decision-making on climate change but the programme at this year’s Annual Meeting shows just how crucial business leaders believe these issues are and just how serious they are in finding real solutions in partnership with governments and leading NGOs. The companies represented at the Annual Meeting have a combined turnover of about US$ 10 trillion – nearly a quarter of global GDP – so catalysing their deeper engagement in this issue can only be a good thing for all of us.”

Moreover, the concern of leaders gathering at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is backed up by a poll of participants from the Meeting. The poll carried out by Gallup International shows that a remarkable change has occurred: the doubling of those who rank environmental protection as a priority for world leaders. Warnings of the effects of climate change appear to be hitting home with protecting the environment being a concern that one in five respondents (20%) think leaders should concentrate on (see Figure 3) – a considerable increase from last year’s survey, when only 9% rated this as a priority.

Participants also have the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions during their participation in the Meeting through an engagement with the Forum’s own climate change awareness-raising and offsetting programme, the Davos Climate Alliance (

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Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. (


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