US President Donald Trump today slammed environmentalists as “prophets of doom” in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Sustainability was the theme in this round of discussions between world leaders. Trump said the world must reject “predictions of the apocalypse” and added that the US would defend its economy against these activists.
While Trump did not implicate teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who was in the audience, by name, she rose up to speak on her turn what sounded like rehearsed lines, urging policymakers to take note of the world, which, according to her, “in case you hadn’t noticed, is currently on fire”.
In Davos, a Swiss ski resort, the world’s decision-makers are deliberating upon environmental destruction at the annual summit where the US president, in his keynote speech, said this was time for optimism, not pessimism.
Trump boasted of his government’s economic achievements and his country’s remarkably higher energy output. Taking on climate activists, he said: “These alarmists always demand the same thing ⚊ absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives.” These activists are, the POTUS said, “the heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers”.
The US president announced that his country would join an initiative to plant, restore and conserve a trillion trees: “We’re committed to conserving the majesty of God’s creation and the natural beauty of our world.”
On her turn, 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Thunberg, who boasts of inspiring strikes by school-going children for environmentalism, lectured the world on “Averting a Climate Apocalypse”. If Trump had not named her, she did not name him either. However, she warned the world’s leaders, “I wonder, what will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing… climate chaos that you knowingly brought upon them? That it seemed so bad for the economy that we decided to resign the idea of securing future living conditions without even trying?”
“Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fuelling the flames by the hour, and we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else,” the precocious child said. She condemned politicians and business leaders for what appeared to her were mouthing continuous “empty words and promises”. “You say, ‘We won’t let you down. Don’t be so pessimistic.’ And then, silence,” she exclaimed.
Meanwhile, spooked by the activists, leading bank Goldman Sachs has decided to stop financing new projects in Arctic oil or in coal for power stations. Elsewhere, investment major BlackRock, the company that manages more than $6.5 trillion of savers’ cash, identified climate change as the biggest threat to markets as rising temperatures affect profit. The Bank of England’s outgoing governor has warned firms that do not change they will go to the wall.
But Trump was not alone today. Government heads from Australia, Brazil, Russia and Saudi Arabia defended economies driven by fossil fuels. While nobody in his senses denies climate change and/or global warming, the community of environment scientists stand divided on the issue of human contribution to the harm. For the earth was heating up even before human beings surfaced on the planet and it will continue to do so regardless of human activities because the earth moves on a spiral orbit, constantly approaching the sun. The planet will burn out one day when our star is too close, before that killing all life on it. That star, the sun, will explode and perish too, no matter what one species in the huge universe does or does not do.