The World Economic Forum takes on all the world’s calamities

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is being held from May 22 through May 26, 2022 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Source – World Economic Forum/Benedikt von Loebell

The World Economic Forum opened today in Davos, Switzerland, the first meeting to be held in person since 2020. And while the gathering of business and government leaders will focus on the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there are other crises that need immediate attention.

On Monday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the economy faces “perhaps its biggest test since the Second World War,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement. “We face a potential confluence of calamities.”

Georgieva warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has compounded the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing economic recovery to a near halt and fanning inflation as the cost of food and fuel jumps.

Rising interest rates, supply chain constraints, and turbulence in the stock market have put pressure on countries, businesses, and households around the globe. And then there is climate change.

At Russian ports such as Taganrog, dozens of ships loaded with grain are stranded – Copyright AFP Wakil KOHSAR

Global warming – The world’s greatest challenge

It already looks like the World Economic Forum has its plate full just dealing with the state of the world’s economy, an unnecessary war, as well as the supply crisis, but believe it or not, the climate crisis is the world’s greatest challenge.

The climate crisis is at our doorstep. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has just published its ‘State of the Global Climate 2021’ report noting that the probability of temporarily exceeding 1.5ºC above the pre-industrial era is now 50 percent over the next five years.

Of the roughly 270 panels meeting Monday through Thursday, one-third are about climate change or its direct effects, according to the Associated Press. U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate and Alok Sharma, president of last year’s international climate conference COP26, are among the climate leaders expected to attend the meeting in Davos.

One looming crisis has been brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s economy is dependent on its sale of gas and oil to the rest of the world. The International Energy Agency (IEA) is urging countries and investors not to use Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a reason to increase fossil fuel investments.

Speaking on an energy panel at Davos, Fatih Birol said the immediate response to energy shocks from the war should be an increase of oil and gas on the market. But that did not mean large and sustained investments in fossil fuels.

Birol says the focus should be on efficiencies, such as reducing leaked methane and lowering thermostats by a few degrees this winter in Europe, which would help ensure an adequate energy supply.

India recorded its warmest March on record — blamed on climate change — and in recent weeks has seen a scorching heatwave with temperatures upwards of 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) – Copyright AFP –

We’re all in this together

Each one of us, regardless of background, geography, income, race, or creed, will be impacted by what is happening in the world today, and this includes the climate crisis.

Yes, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has done more than destroy a country; it has also had a direct effect on growing food shortages, energy costs, and supply chain woes, just as two years of a horrible pandemic did.

And all these different calamities added to the climate crisis may seem insurmountable to many people. German economy minister Robert Habeck says, “We cannot solve the problems if we focus on only one of the problems.” And the same holds true if we just look at our own situation.

We are much more connected and interdependent than we realize, and like it or not, we are bound together in building and protecting the future of our world by working together and not separately.