World leaders make an impression in Davos with their environmental footprint

Europe News
World leaders make an impression in Davos with their environmental footprint

With the annual January gathering of world political and economic leaders in the Swiss resort of Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF) underway, 28 heads of state are reported in attendance for 2019.

US president Donald Trump and King Abdullah of Jordan are among 28 heads of state at the event. They were joined by 40 heads of government, including India’s Narendra Modi and Theresa May, the British Prime Minister.

“We have a record number of heads of state or government registered for the annual meeting,” said Georg Schmitt, the WEF’s head of corporate affairs.

A little over a fifth of the 2,926 people attending the Davos meeting this year are female, including all the co-chairs such as the IMF’s Christine Lagarde and Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway.

Although the forum is again beating its collective chest about climate change, private jet charters are predicted to be landing and taking off in record numbers in and around Davos during WEF.

The convenience and comfort of flying privately rather than commercially appears to outweigh any concerns about the outsized carbon footprint it involves, judging by figures released by Air Charter Service (ACS) that 1,500 jets have made that journey.

Add to this the helicopters ferrying CEOs too grand to take the train or car from Zurich and the forum’s warm words on climate change issues look more than ever like PR.

Dominique Waughray, head of Global Public Goods at the WEF, did say that organisers had encouraged delegates to take offsetting measures.

“Most of the private aircraft that come in are actually for government officials, because under the Vienna convention the most efficient and secure way of getting people to an event like that is via an aircraft,” she said.

And there is no shortage of celebrities giving opinions on politics and global economic strategy. U2 lead singer Bono is speaking at a session focusing on ‘Closing the Finance Gap’ along with International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde.

The Duke of Cambridge was also on stage at a gathering looking at why ‘Mental Health Matters’.

One real expert on stage is World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners Lee, set to speak on how to create a safe environment on social media.

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail

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