Legalbrief Environmental – SA must keep up with momentum from Davos

*Economy: SA must keep up with momentum from Davos *
If there was any doubt that climate change has firmly moved from the margins to the mainstream, the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting last week would have removed them, writes Lukanya Mnyanda, BusinessLIVE editor, in an analysis piece. ‘Even before the politicians, business leaders, trade unionists, activists and academics arrived in Davos, the world’s biggest asset manager, BlackRock, had set the scene with its announcement that it had exited businesses that “present a high sustainability-related risk”,’ he notes. ‘One of the highlights in Davos itself was the public fight between Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg and the supposed leader of the free world, who has a completely different take on climate compared with Thunberg or Larry Fink, the head of BlackRock,’ he states. ‘While the young activist used her speech to berate the adults in the room for their inaction on reducing emissions, US President Donald Trump used the occasion to rail against “prophets of doom”. His treasury secretary also joined in, telling Thunberg to go study economics,’ explains Mnyanda. ‘A consensus about the science and the immediacy of the threat seemed to be firmly established, regardless of what Trump had to say,’ he notes. ‘On this point, the Americans, those in government anyway, were in a minority of one. António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, used his address to warn that “our capacity to live in this plane will be destroyed” and warn that the world was “losing this war”,’ he writes. ‘The problem for Team SA in that the focus in Davos was largely elsewhere, on the existential threat climate change poses for the world, and SA was unlikely to be central in the thoughts of the 3 000-odd participants. As the country becomes less of a focus for investors, it can ill-afford own goals that sometimes give the impression members of the ANC are on a mission to sabotage the economy,’ he opines. ‘In the meantime, we risk being left behind as the rest of the world moves on. The debates in SA about the merits of renewable energy relative to coal seem rather out of date compared with what was being discussed in Davos,’ he states. ‘What there isn’t any doubt about is that the green revolution is well under way. The question is whether we are ready to join it and take advantage of the new opportunities,’ he concludes.
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