The Heat Is Online

World Economic Forum: Climate Change is Paramount

From World Economic Forum Press Release: Feb. 3, 2000

Business leaders say climate change is our greatest challenge

The greatest challenge facing the world at the beginning of the century, according to hundreds of business and government leaders at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos, is climate change. This surprise verdict was reached after five of the world's leading thinkers presented their visions for the future and the participants present voted electronically to support or reject their scenarios. An end to traditional ethics and an ineffective international system came in second and third positions.

. . .

Not only did the audience choose climate change as the world's most pressing problem, they also voted it as the issue where business could most effectively adopt a leadership role. On this question, climate change was followed by financial instability and ineffective international systems. The results of the rapid electronic survey prompted the question: "Why then haven't businesses done more to reverse the devastating course of climate change:

Molly Harriss Olson, director of Eco Futures, Australia, expressed astonishment at the choice of climate change and said the vote meant that while business accepted it as a pressing challenge, the impediment to change came from a lack of leadership. Sayyed Hossein Nasr, Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University, blamed the impotency of international institutions whose members often place national considerations above global concerns. He suggested the development of a neutral, intellectual space to tackle climate change. Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, struck an optimistic note, saying that he was convinced workable solutions will eventually be found on climate change and business will readily adopt these solutions. . . .