30 January 2012
Davos Forum Debates Adaptation to Climate Risk
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A session on How to Adapt to Climate Risk held at the Davos Forum addressed the urgency of adaptation given the lack of a global agreement to reduce emissions.

The panel was moderated by Lord Nicholas Stern and included Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, who warned that the private sector "is not immune" to the effects of climate change.

26 January 2012: Participating in a session on Adapting to Climate Risk, held at the annual World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, UK, noted that the world is heading towards a 3°C increase in global average temperature, and warned that this situation “will bring temperatures not seen for three million years, with unforeseeable consequences.”

The panel included Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, who warned that the private sector “is not immune” to the effects of climate change, calling on governments and the private sector to work together. She urged businesses to “step up” and climate-proof their operations, adding that the technologies developed for that purpose should be put on the market for wider dissemination and use.

On the target set in Durban to have a legally-binding agreement by 2015, Figueres stated that change must happen “not merely from the top down but will take a bottom-up groundswell” highlighting the role of the private sector and of civil society, as well as the need to restructure and reroute finance.

Other panelists included: Raila Amolo Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya; Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Prime Minister of Pakistan; Zola Tsotsi, Chairman of Eskom Holdings, South Africa; and Kenneth A. Hersh, NGP Energy Capital Management, US.

The Prime Ministers of Kenya and Pakistan highlighted the disasters recently faced by their countries and urged developed countries “to make good on their promises” to set up a Global Climate Fund to assist developing countries’ efforts in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Noting that large-scale deployment of clean energy technologies is likely to take another 50 years, during which time big polluters “will continue to raise their emissions unapologetically,” Hersh stressed the need to focus on adaptation. [WEF Session Summary on “Adapting to Climate Risk”]

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