Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Davos Elite Focus on Climate Change, Ignoring Trump’s Skepticism

A woman walks past the entrance to the Congress Center, venue for the World Economic Forum (WEF), in Davos on Jan. 13, 2017. (Photographer Credit: Michele Limina/Bloomberg) Click to Enlarge.
Donald Trump has often ridiculed global warming and promised to withdraw the U.S. from the accord signed in Paris in 2015.  Yet despite the shift in political weather in Washington, the captains of business and finance gathered in Davos this week will spend a lot of time talking about climate change -- and how to make money from it.

The World Economic Forum is devoting 15 sessions of its 2017 annual meeting to climate change, and nine more to clean energy -- the most ever on the issues.

It reflects how much is at stake.  For global business leaders, it’s not just a question of burnishing their green credentials, but about billions of dollars -- maybe even trillions -- in potential profits and losses.  Insurers are starting to price-in more frequent flooding and droughts; energy giants are shaping their business for a world that’s moving away from oil and coal; car makers are putting real money into electric vehicles; banks want to lend money for renewable electricity projects.

"The good thing is that the Paris agreement raised the bar for everyone," said Ben van Beurden, the head of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil group.  "Everybody feels the obligation to act."

Achieving the ambitions set out in Paris may require $13.5 trillion of spending through to 2030, according International Energy Agency data that show the scale of the opportunity for business.  Only last year, clean energy investment stood at $287.5 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance indicate.

"The scale and scope of the investment flows on renewables shows it’s mainstream," said David Turk, head of climate change at the IEA in Paris and a former senior U.S. climate diplomat.

Read more at Davos Elite Focus on Climate Change, Ignoring Trump’s Skepticism

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