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Nature · Economy

#The hot air wankathon

January 26th, 2015
in:Nature, Economy
by:Itai Lahat
located in:Switzerland
tags:climate-change, Davos, hot air wankathon, wealth inequality

Davos, Switzerland. The name that was used to be associated with a famous sky resort is now synonymous to the global elite coming for the annual World Economic Forum, where the leaders of the free world go to plan their economic agendas. Among those so called Agendas, the 2,500 delegates drawn globally from the highest echelons of politics and business unite to combat climate change, and its effects on economy, politics and life.

In the last few days, just before the opening ceremony took place on the 21st of the month, the skies of Davos were filled with unbelievable amount of private jets. According to the Guardian, 1700 of them solely bringing attendees to the Economic Forum. Davos attendees are also expected to discuss the importance of climate change and its ramifications for said economy.

Yet while there’s no real substitute for face-to-face interactions, it seems ridiculously hypocritical to waste so much hot air – about 12,000 tons of CO2 – in order for the world’s economic elite to talk to each other.

This hypocrisy is not all that surprising. As the findings of a recent survey show, CEOs of the world aren’t really concerned about climate change. Huge consulting firm Price Waterhouse Cooper talked to chief executives in advance of Davos, and global warming didn’t even make the list of top concerns and priorities, falling far below regulation and taxation in CEOs‘ minds.

One tweeter described Davos as a ‚hot air wankathon‘ and the CO2 emissions of all those jets don’t help. It was estimated a few years back that the meeting causes 12,000 tons of greenhouse gases. This is far less than events such as the Olympics (3.6 million tons estimated CO2 emissions), or the World Cup (2.9 million tons). But still, for events that host millions and are watched around the world, those 12 thousand tons are staggering. Keep in mind that one private jet burns as much fuel in an hour as a car does in a year. But some of these planes will fly more than 20 hours there and back.

This would be perhaps also a good opportunity to mention the growing global inequalities, that many of the attendants of the Davos Forum are enjoying. According to a report released by Oxfam this month, in 2014, the most affluent 1% in the world owned 48% of the world’s wealth, meaning that just 52% is distributed between the other 99% of the global population. In the study Oxfam warns that if this trend continues, the combined wealth of the world’s richest 1% is set to surpass that of the other 99% by 2016, with more than one billion people living on less than $1.25 a day.

Most of this wealth is earned in the financial, insurance and pharmaceutical sectors, 90% of the billionaires listed are male and in the EU the collective wealth of this super-rich elite increased from of $34bn, to $128bn between March 2013 and March 2014, the study says. No wonder so many of them can afford a private jet.

Article written by:
Itai Lahat
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Yet while there’s no real substitute for face-to-face interactions, it seems ridiculously hypocritical to waste so much hot air – about 12,000 tons of CO2 – in order for the world’s economic elite to only talk to each other.

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