The annual World Economic Forum meeting saw leaders from governments, businesses, and civil society come together to discuss the current state of the world and set out priorities for the year ahead. The Forum offers a platform to engage in forward-looking, constructive dialogues and help find solutions through private-public cooperation.
Taking place in Davos, Switzerland, the meeting was filled with discussions around the economy, the Ukraine crisis, climate change, technology, China, and finance. The 2023 World Economic Forum was the largest in history, convening a record number of leaders. According to the World Economic Forum, almost 3,000 global leaders were in attendance, including more than 350 government leaders and 47 heads of state.
As mentioned previously, many topics were discussed at the meeting, so we are sharing a snapshot of the key takeaways on climate change and sustainability.
With so many in attendance, it certainly isn’t optimistic to presume urgent action on climate action surrounding many conversations. The Conference recognised that global disruption is not slowing down, and because of this, businesses need to work on building their resilience to future-proof their operations.
Achieving net zero
Another prominent topic at the World Economic Forum 2023 meeting surrounded how we are to transition to net zero. To achieve this net zero future, which is so vital for fighting climate change, leaders have to balance energy resilience and energy transition. All leaders recognised the need to work collaboratively to close the emissions gap, phase out coal, and supercharge the renewable energy revolution.
Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, called on G20 countries to unite around a Climate Solidarity Pact to help keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees. In addition, for developed countries to offer technical and financial assistance to accelerate the adoption of renewables.
Transitioning to clean energy
Following on from the above point, the energy crisis was another topic that was spotlighted at this year’s World Economic Forum. The world leaders discussed everything from battery passports and net-zero energy technologies to how energy, climate, and food are connected.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the worldwide energy crisis has accelerated the shift to renewables, with capacity predicted to double within the next five years. Leaders at the yearly Conference recognised that the energy transition is pivotal to solving many of the world’s most pressing issues, from climate change to jobs, food security, and growth.
Harnessing the power of the space economy
A final, very interesting topic discussed at the World Economic Forum meeting in 2023 was about the potential behind the space economy. The space economy refers to the commercial use of space, and research has found space technologies could help us greatly in mitigating environmental issues (World Economic Forum, 2019).
For example, satellite technology has long been used to predict the weather. This technology is also crucial for documenting climate changes and helping us make informed decisions concerning atmospheric gases, how to measure sea levels, and the changing temperature of the planet.
It is no surprise that climate change dominated talks at the World Economic Forum 2023 meeting. While a lot of important ideas were touched on and global commitments were made, concrete action is still very much needed. The above key takeaways should help leaders with risk management and understanding what issues to prioritise in a challenge that is so vastly broad – the climate crisis.