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  • I'm here in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting, an exclusive

  • event where policymakers, investors and executives gather to discuss the world's most pressing issues.

  • However, there are two high-profile attendees, who have everyone talking this year.

  • U.S. President Donald Trump and climate activist Greta Thunberg gave two of the highest profile

  • addresses in Davos this yearand there's been a lot of buzz around them, not least

  • because of their contrasting views on climate change.

  • This isn't the first time the two have been pitted against each other.

  • In September 2019, Greta delivered an emotional speech at the United Nations Climate Summit.

  • In it, she condemned world leaders for what she perceived to be their lack of commitment

  • to curbing the rise of global temperatures.

  • We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and

  • fairy tales of eternal economic growth.

  • How dare you?

  • This still from the event was widely shared onlinedue to the young environmentalist's

  • apparent displeasure with the president.

  • President Trump has often dismissed the urgency of the climate crisis.

  • We're going to cancel the Paris climate agreement and stop...

  • Unbelievable.

  • ...and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to UN global warming programs.

  • In 2017, he announced he was pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, a commitment

  • to decreasing CO2 emissions signed by 195 countries.

  • Moreover, his administration has tried to roll back more than 65 environmental regulations

  • since September 2017.

  • These moves contrast the conversation happening on stage in Davos.

  • Several of the panels here are centered on addressing climate change.

  • This is the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum.

  • The theme this year is 'Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.'

  • And despite or perhaps because of this year's green agenda, the intrigue around what the

  • U.S. president was going to say was high.

  • President Trump is expected to arrive any moment now.

  • You can see a lot of people, a lot of security ahead of his big address at the annual meeting.

  • The president is addressing the audience now.

  • His focus seems to be the economy, but the question on a lot of people's minds is

  • will he address climate change?

  • As expected, most of the speech was spent touting hisAmerica Firstagenda.

  • But then there was this momentwhen Trump called out climate activists for theirpessimism.”

  • To embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom

  • and their predictions of the apocalypse.

  • They are the heirs of yesterday's foolish fortune tellers.

  • The president's use of the word apocalypse likely alluded to the WEF panel

  • 'Averting a Climate Apocalypse.'

  • Greta Thunberg delivered its opening remarks.

  • I said I wanted you to panic.

  • I've been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous

  • thing to do, but don't worry.

  • It's fine.

  • Trust me, I've done this before, and I can assure you it doesn't lead to anything.

  • Two different views from two very different people.

  • So how is the World Economic Forum dealing with these contrasting views on its stage?

  • I spoke with Emily Farnworth, who directs climate change initiatives at WEF.

  • This is the beauty of the forum.

  • It's about having these different perspectives coming together and being able to have a platform

  • where you can talk about all of the issues.

  • Obviously Greta is representing a huge and growing community of people, predominantly

  • young people who are realizing that climate change is having a huge impact on the world.

  • Davos is known for a lot of talk around the big issuesbut as Greta quipped in her

  • remarks, not a lot of action.

  • We don't expect anything from the world leaders.

  • Emily says the organization is aligning its initiatives with its theme.

  • It's 100% renewable power that we use at the venue.

  • We're looking at more plant-based foods and electric vehicles for our public figures.

  • From plastic-free beverages and LED lighting to paint from seaweed and carpets from used

  • fishing nets, the nods toward sustainability are here at the event.

  • Though of course the elephant in the room is the carbon emitting air travel attendees

  • used to get to the event.

  • WEF is trying to mitigate that by offering attendees traveling in from Europe by train

  • a 50% discount on their ticket.

  • But are badge holders actually taking them up on the promotion?

  • It's a growing number.

  • As people understand that it's not that far and see that it's a beautiful journey

  • as well as being better for the environment...

  • I think that's beginning to click for a lot of people.

  • And at least 20 people in Davos are taking their efforts to the next level.

  • While the perception of the Davos attendees is that they are flying in on private jets

  • and staying in luxury hotels, these young activists are working and sleeping in tents

  • in sub-zero temperatures. Let's go and meet them.

  • It's a great symbol for us to be staying in tents when there are so many billionaires

  • flying in in their private jets.

  • That's Rainn Wilson, famous for his role as Dwight Schrute on the popular TV show, The Office.

  • He now serves on the advisory board of the Arctic Basecamp, a team of experts and advocates

  • sleeping in tents in Davos to bring attention to the scientific research on the climate crisis.

  • It's all about getting climate groups to come together and unite behind the science behind

  • climate change so it's not a political thing.

  • It's just a science thing.

  • We have young climate youth ambassadors here staying in these tents with us.

  • This is a youth movement.

  • I'm obviously not a youth but I really want to support...

  • You don't say.

  • Yeah well, I want to support and empower the youth.

  • This is a young person's issue.

  • It's time for them to take the reins.

  • After speaking with Rainn, I meet up with Vanessa Nakate from Uganda and Kaime Silvestre

  • from the Amazon region in Brazil.

  • Hi guys!

  • How are you?

  • Good, how are you?

  • I'm good.

  • They are two of eight young activists at the camp.

  • Vanessa and Kaime show me their home for the next few days.

  • So welcome home.

  • Thank you.

  • There are eight young people sleeping here.

  • Yes. Eight of you?

  • So you can't even move when you're sleeping.

  • You have to be in one place all the time.

  • If you spread your hands, you'll knock someone out.

  • Yes that's true, so you're just going to have to be straight the whole time.

  • After our quick tour, we sat down to talk about Greta's speech.

  • She was trying to remind our leaders that we're still in a mess and at least if you

  • love your children, do something for us, do something for our future because we're losing

  • out and we don't have time left.

  • But they seemed unconvinced leaders like President Trump got the message.

  • I just think leaders like Trump are just not ready to give up billions of money that they've

  • invested in the fossil industry so they're not ready to give up those profits.

  • That's why they keep denying that climate change is a problem for all of us.

  • They want to protect the interests of the 1%.

  • Exactly, yeah.

  • They don't care about the future or the other 99% of the population.

  • Yeah.

  • So what inspired them to advocate for the environment?

  • For the last 23 years, I could see the destruction of the Amazon.

  • Especially with the indigenous people the problem is much bigger because they're dying

  • because there is no protection for their territories.

  • It's not that Africa will be most affected.

  • It's that Africa is already being affected by the impact of the climate crisis.

  • It really motivates me to keep speaking up more.

  • In January 2019, Vanessa co-wrote an article with Greta Thunberg and other activists demanding

  • that the leaders at the World Economic Forumcompletely and immediately divest from fossil fuels.”

  • But critics of activists like Greta say their demands are unrealistic and appear to simplify

  • a nuanced and complex issue.

  • I think they need to grow up.

  • We've done much of the growing up.

  • It's time for them to man up and take up their responsibilities and secure a better future for us.

I'm here in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting, an exclusive

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How climate change took over Davos | CNBC Reports

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    Summer posted on 2020/06/08
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