A team of scientists, including Lancaster University’s Professor Gail Whiteman, has returned to the World Economic Forum Annual Summit, Davos, Kloisters for a third year to demand urgent action on climate change and plastic pollution in the ocean.
Prominent climate voices including environmental dignitary Christiana Figueres and climate activist Greta Thunberg were joined by business leaders Suzanne DiBianca, Executive Vice-President and Chief Philanthropy Officer of Salesforce, and Halla Tómasdótti, CEO of The B Team.
Arctic Basecamp, Davos - which was pioneered by researchers including Professor Gail Whiteman - hosted several leading voices on climate change and sustainable business solutions at a VIP event today.
‘Bending the emissions curve’ focused on two things: the scientific evidence behind climate warming driven by rising carbon emissions and the effect that has on the Arctic, and the solutions that businesses such as Salesforce and organisations like The B Team are pursuing for sustainable alternatives and a low-carbon economy.
The Arctic Basecamp scientists including Lancaster University’s Professor Gail Whiteman, Jeremy Wilkinson and Julienne Stroeve kicked off the event with a series of speed talks on their research which examines the effects of carbon emissions and global warming on the Arctic through several lenses - physical changes to sea ice, threats to biodiversity, implications for global climate change, (extreme weather is linked to a warming Arctic), and economic risks.
Professor Whiteman, Arctic Basecamp Founder and Director of the Pentland Centre for Sustainability at Lancaster University said: “It is critical that we are here again in Davos for our third year. The Arctic is the barometer of global risk. Arctic change poses significant global economic impacts for countries around the world and for industry sectors like insurance, agriculture, tourism and infrastructure. The only thing that will limit these risks is to bend the emissions curve starting in 2020.”
Following the scientists, the VIPs added their reflections on the solutions.
Ellie Goulding said, ‘I wanted to come here to the Arctic Basecamp at Davos to show respect to the incredible scientific team who camp out in sub-zero conditions in order to communicate cutting edge climate science on behalf of humanity. We know that what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic: the loss of sea ice affects us all, so it is crucially important they are here at Davos. In particular the melting of Arctic sea ice will make life very difficult for younger generations. I’m here to make sure that action is taken on their behalf and that we remain ambitious for their future.’
Following Ellie, Greta Thunberg, youth climate activist gave her thoughts: “The reason I am here is to give my message to the WEF at Davos – if we don’t start to care about the climate issue, and take action, then nothing else they have to discuss here will matter.’
One of the key reasons Arctic Basecamp comes to Davos is that business leaders are fundamental in driving sustainable low-carbon futures. Businesses have the power to bring the solutions to scale.
Suzanne DiBianca, Executive Vice President of Salesforce and Chief Philanthropic Officer is one of those voices. "At Salesforce, we are committed to doing our part to step up to the challenge of climate change, but we can't do it alone," she said. “All of our climate commitments reinforce the notion that businesses are an important platform for change and should operate in a way that protects our planet for future generations. The Step Up Declaration which we announced last year with Christiana Figueres’s team, is a perfect example of how a vision by two companies can spark an alliance of more than 20 businesses to harness the power of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to help reduce emissions across all economic sectors."
The B Team are a network of business leaders putting solutions at their core. Halla Tómasdóttir, CEO, said: “The scale of our current climate crisis calls for solutions from all sectors. At the Arctic Basecamp, I was thrilled to share the stage with the bold activists, innovative business leaders and trailblazing scientists charting a path toward a net-zero emissions future. Only when we come together will we be able to accelerate this action and ensure that it is a just transition—creating better conditions for both our communities and the next generation.”
Finally, former UNFCCC Executive Secretary and long-term partner of Arctic Basecamp, Christiana Figueres rounded up proceedings – as always, her message was one of urgency, and positivity – let’s make the seemingly impossible, possible. She said: "The challenge ahead of us on climate change has never been so clear, nor action to address it so urgent, but let’s not be daunted by it. Look around at the new voices campaigning for a better tomorrow, and at the revolution already underway in the energy and transport sectors. We have to follow our conviction that we can bend the emissions curve by 2020. Optimism is a very powerful tool for change when used as the input to a challenge, so I encourage us all to be stubborn optimists and to quickly get the work that needs to be done, done".Back to News