DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The Latest on the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland:
Young climate activists including Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate will discuss speeding up the energy transition with the head of the International Energy Agency at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland.
The Paris-based IEA says Executive Director Fatih Birol and the young activists will discuss Thursday whether governments and businesses are responding adequately to the climate crisis, the state of the clean energy transition, widespread calls to end new investments in fossil fuels, and what needs to be done to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
It comes after Thunberg and other protesters were carried away Tuesday from the edge of an open coal pit mine in western Germany where they demonstrated against the destruction of a village to make way for the mine’s expansion.
The German government reached a deal with energy company RWE last year allowing it to destroy the village in return for ending coal use by 2030, rather than 2038. Environmentalists say bulldozing Luetzerath will result in vast greenhouse gas emissions.
Thunberg told The Associated Press on Saturday that in the global fight against climate change, “what everyone does matters.”
The Swedish activist added that “and if one of the largest polluters, like Germany, and one of the biggest historical emitters of CO2 is doing something like this, then of course it affects more or less everyone — especially those most bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.”
— U.N. chief warns that the world is in a “sorry state”
— EU chief offers clean tech plan to compete with China, US
— World Food Program postpones, not averts Somali famine
— Elon Musk apparently wasn’t on the Davos guest list
Follow AP’s coverage of the World Economic Forum meeting at https://apnews.com/hub/world-economic-forum
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is celebrating his country’s newfound independence from Russian energy sources and says its energy supply for this winter is secure.
In a speech Wednesday to the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, Scholz noted that Germany has opened its first two liquefied gas terminals within months and a third is close to completion. He said that shows “Germany can be flexible, we can be unbureaucratic, and we can be fast.”
Russia, which once supplied more than half of Germany’s natural gas, hasn’t delivered any since the end of August. Scholz said that “within a few months, Germany made itself completely independent from Russian gas, Russian oil and Russian coal.”
Scholz says “our energy supply for this winter is secure — thanks to well-filled storage facilities, thanks to improved energy efficiency, thanks to remarkable solidarity within Europe, and thanks to the readiness of our companies and of millions of citizens to save energy.”
The German leader also defended Berlin’s program of to 200 billion euros ($216 billion) in subsidies to ease the strain of high gas, electricity and heating prices, which has met with some concern elsewhere in Europe.
He said it “is both forceful and proportionate.”
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has slammed the influence of oil and gas interests at the annual U.N. climate conference.
In impassioned remarks at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, Gore called for the COP climate talks to make supermajority decisions rather than requiring unanimous agreement as oil-rich states frustrate the process.
Gore said Wednesday during a session on climate action leadership that “we cannot let the oil companies and gas companies and petrostates tell us what is permissible. In the last COP, we were not allowed to even discuss scaling down oil and gas.”
He expressed concerns of the “appearance of the conflict of interest” of having the head of oil company Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. — Sultan al-Jaber — as the next COP president.
Gore asked: “Are we going to be able to discuss scaling down oil and gas in the next COP or (are we) putting the oil industry in charge of the COP?”
He asserted that “we’ve just decided to not even disguise” fossil fuel presence at COP anymore.
Gore added that fossil fuel industries were also responsible for stifling pro-climate legislation in the U.S. and elsewhere. But he noted some instances of positive climate action around the world in the last year, including the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act and elections in Brazil and Australia that ushered in governments with stronger climate ambitions.
Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska says in many areas of the war-torn country, people are only getting a few hours of electricity a day and those near the front are completely cut off from energy infrastructure.
She said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, that her foundation is working to provide warmth and light to people who are often living in half-destroyed homes in areas occupied by Russian forces.
Russian missiles have targeted energy systems for months, and Zelenska also says “our enemy has been destroying our health care infrastructure.”
She says the foundation is working to rebuild medical facilities and provide laptops to teachers, with two-thirds of Ukraine’s children studying remotely as schools face shelling.
After a helicopter crash in Ukraine killed the country’s interior minister and several others, Zelenska said she didn’t “have the strength to express my emotions right now.”
When asked about whether there is global fatigue in supporting Ukraine nearly a year into the war, she said that “seems like an exaggeration.”
She added: “Imagine what this day will be like when the Ukrainians are fatigued. I wouldn’t want to see it. I don’t think it would be good for Ukraine or the world.”
The head of the United Nations isn’t optimistic that Russia’s war in Ukraine could end soon.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, that “I do not see the end of the war in the immediate future.”
He pointed to deep historical differences between Russia and Ukraine that will make it more difficult to find a solution based on international law and that respects territorial integrity.
Guterres added that “I don’t think that we have a chance to promote or to mediate a serious negotiation to achieve peace in the short term.”
In the meantime, he said private-sector cooperation is needed to keep Ukrainian and Russian food and fertilizer exports flowing.
Both countries are major suppliers of wheat, barley and other food to developing nations where many people are struggling with hunger. A U.N.-brokered deal allows agricultural supplies — Russia is also a top global exporter of fertilizer — to leave the Black Sea region.
Guterres says the insurance sector has helped support the movement of vessels from Ukraine and Russia, and “we need other private sector’s actors to engage, such as the banking sector, the traders and the shippers.”
Some companies fear running afoul of Western sanctions by facilitating shipments from Russia, though allies have said penalties don’t apply to food and fertilizer.
The Dutch environment minister says the Netherlands wants “to sell 2 million electric cars by 2030 — from 2030 onwards only electric cars allowed.”
Vivianne Heijnen spoke Wednesday during a panel session about “the electric decade” at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland.
The forum says that by 2030, clean power capacity must increase by three times what it is today and by nine times by 2050. The organization also has found that energy consumption must be increasingly based on electricity and should increase to 50% by 2050 from 20% now.
Heijnen says the Netherlands has one charging station for every four cars. She says “we are thinking of smart solutions” to “some challenges when it comes to the entire power system.”
Talking about the challenges to achieving these clean energy and electrification goals, Jakob Stausholm, CEO of mining corporation Rio Tinto Plc said, “It’s not that easy to get green energy at scale. We are fooling ourselves on the timeline — it is going to take time.”
The head of the United Nations says the world is in a “sorry state” because of myriad “interlinked” challenges including climate change and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, that the struggles are “piling up like cars in a chain reaction crash.”
Guterres said the widest levels of geopolitical division and mistrust in generations are undermining efforts to tackle global problems, which also include widening inequality, a cost-of-living crisis sparked by soaring inflation and an energy crunch, lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and more.
He singled out climate change as an “existential challenge,” saying a global commitment to limit the Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius “is nearly going up in smoke.”
Guterres referenced a recent study that found scientists at Exxon Mobil made remarkably accurate predictions about the effects of climate change as far back as the 1970s, even as the company publicly doubted that warming was real.
He said, “Some in Big Oil peddled the big lie.”
Japan’s minister of trade and industry says the world’s third-largest economy needs more innovation and younger leadership.
Minister of Economy Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura said, “Japan’s economy has long been run by a bunch of old men.”
Speaking in a panel Wednesday at the World Economic Forum’s gathering in Davos, Switzerland, he said, “We need to change this drastically, because we need diverse ideas to bring about innovation in the new era. You shouldn’t make decisions with only old men who have spent a long time in the same company.”
Despite trade tensions between Beijing and Washington and other trading partners, Nishimura said it’s unrealistic to cut off economic ties with China, so “a complete decoupling is not possible, but we need to manage the risks and cooperate with like-minded nations.”
Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska dabbed teary eyes before attending a World Economic Forum session in Davos, Switzerland, as she heard the news that a helicopter carrying Ukraine’s interior minister and other officials crashed in Ukraine.
Forum President Borge Brende requested 15 seconds of silence Wednesday to honor the 18 people killed in the crash, including Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi and other officials, before the opening the session.
Zelenska said it was “another very sad day today. New losses.”
She told those attending the session: “I think you understand my emotions. Perhaps they’re a little bit out of place in the political and economic dialogue, but I am sure that just as the war has changed the whole world, it has also changed all of our dialogue. We can also change this negative situation for the better.”
Her husband, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is scheduled to speak via video later in the day as the Ukrainian delegation pushes for more weapons from international allies.
Speaking shortly before Zelenskyy is German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is facing pressure to send tanks to Ukraine.
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