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Activists protest against environmental damage at World Economic Forum

hundreds of protesters took the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum event in Davos, Switzerland, as an opportunity to protest against climate change, environmental damage and globalisation.

Poster depicting Greta Thunberg at a previous climate protest.

In the past few days, hundreds of protesters took the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum event in Davos, Switzerland, as an opportunity to protest against climate change, environmental damage and globalisation in front of some of the world’s key leaders and businesses.

The activists are reaching Davos after walking for a few days on hiking trails and traveling by train after the Swiss authorities banned foot traffic on a road to Davos from Klosters, a neighbouring village and are making it difficult for protesters to enter Davos, according to media reports by Reuters.

Some of the activists were dressed in costumes of koala bears to raise awareness on the Australian bush fires, which have been scientifically linked to global warming, the report said.

While subjects such as “saving the planet” are high on their agenda, the main global risks listed on the WEF’s Global Risks Report 2020 are all linked to the environment. The risks include extreme weather events, failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation, major natural disasters, major biodiversity loss, and human-made environmental damage and disasters.

In a speech at the WEF event yesterday, 17-year old environmental activist Greta Thunberg demanded all participants from companies, banks, institutions and governments at the WEF to immediately distance themselves from fossil fuels in every way.

Thunberg said that she, together with a group of activists, were demanding they “immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies, and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels”.

“We don’t want these things done by 2050, 2030 or even 2021. We want this done now,” she said.

In a recent global warning last November, 11,000 scientists from around the world, including seven Maltese scientists, signed a declaration alerting humanity of the dangers of climate change.

The report, endorsed by more than 11,000 scientists from 153 countries, including Malta, outlined six crucial steps that humanity must take in order to mitigate the effects of human-induced climate change. They stressed that, unless we make fundamental changes in our lifestyles and stop over-exploiting the ecosystem for economic growth, we will potentially make large areas of the Earth uninhabitable.

The declaration highlighted six main topics, together with clear data showing the crucial trends which should be used to measure progress. These areas of focus help to make the issue tangible by highlighting key ways in which human activities directly impact emissions that affect our climate, environment and society.

The scientists stressed that “clearly and unequivocally planet Earth is facing a climate emergency” and that “alarming trends for climate change made it urgently necessary to act”.

Malta will miss all its projected carbon emission targets for 2030 according to the EEA report published in 2019. Malta is the most regressive country in the EU, falling short of the 2030 greenhouse gas emission target by 61.7%.

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