The 49th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting closed Friday, marking further steps to addressing the complex challenges brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Among the key outcomes was that climate change risks wipe out one-quarter of global GDP and inflict immeasurable suffering.
In this regard, it was highlighted that governments and businesses urgently need to shift to a low-carbon economy, eliminate harmful subsidies, support climate-threatened states and pursue a price for carbon.
Surface temperatures have already risen by nearly 1°C and are not stopping, with the five warmest years on record occurring since 2010. A rise of 3°C will wipe out 25% of global GDP, while the cost in human suffering will be immeasurable, according to the World Bank.
Climate change is happening faster than we thought it would,
…said Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank, calling on government and business to eliminate harmful subsidies for energy and agriculture, invest in shifting to a low-carbon economy, support those countries most at risk from the consequences of climate change, and relentlessly pursue a price for carbon.
Climate-harming subsidies have been halved, but $300 billion still need to go. Egypt, for example, has slashed its energy subsidies from 7% to 3% of GDP, which has released new money to invest in people and renewables as well as making the energy sector more attractive for private investors.
The low-carbon economy has already created 65 million new jobs and company bosses increasingly realize that climate-friendly investments are good for their bottom lines and reputations.
About 70 jurisdictions have now put a price on carbon and policy-makers must relentlessly roll this out globally to put wind in the sails of the low-carbon economy.
Mrs. Georgieva added that “it is morally right and also absolutely essential for the sustainability of our world” that countries such as Niger, Chad and the small island states, which did little to contribute to climate change yet face the worst of its consequences, are supported in adapting to a changing environment.