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Davos 2020: Trump Dismisses Environmental Concerns as 'Pessimism' at Climate-Focused WEF
U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed the concerns of environmental activists as "pessimism" in a speech to political and business leaders at the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Tuesday.
Climate change and global warming are topping the agenda at this year's annual meeting in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, with activists at odds with businesses and governments about how to tackle the issue.
What Trump said:
- The U.S. leader dubbed climate activists "prophets of doom" and rejected their warnings, saying: "Fear and doubt is not a good thought process."
- Despite concerns about emissions, Trump praised the U.S. as one of the world's largest producers of natural gas.
- He announced that the U.S. would be joining the WEF's one trillion trees initiative.
- When asked about his stance on climate change by reporters ahead of his speech, he said: "I'm a big believer in the environment. The environment is very important to me."
- Much of Trump's speech focused on praising his administration's domestic economic policies, saying that by rolling back regulations, prosperity "would come thundering back at record speed."
- "A nation's highest duty is to its own citizens," he said. "Only when governments put their citizens first, will they be invested in their national futures."
Greta: 'Basically Nothing Has Been Done'
Following Trump's speech, Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg criticized world leaders and business executives for failing to meet their climate targets.
"Unlike you, my generation will not give up without a fight. The facts are clear but they are still too uncomfortable for you to address," she told a panel.
"Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour. And we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else," Thunberg said, echoing her remarks from her WEF appearance last year.
At a panel just before Trump arrived, Thunberg emphasized that moderate changes will not be enough to slow the impact of climate change.
"We are all fighting for the environment and climate. If you see it from a bigger perspective, basically nothing has been done. It will require much more than this. This is just the very beginning," she said.
Who else will be there? More than 50 heads of state and government will be in attendance along with more than 3,000 other attendees. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to speak on Thursday. Following in Thunberg's footsteps, other young activists are also taking part this year, including South African climate activist Ayakha Melithafa and Irish teen scientist Fionn Ferreira.
What to look out for: It will be the first time that Trump meets with the new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The U.S. leader has repeatedly clashed with the EU over trade and tax policies. It also remains to be seen whether businesses will back up their pledges on climate change with concrete action.
What is Davos? It's the 50th meeting of the World Economic Forum this year, which was launched by German economist Klaus Schwab. The meeting takes place at the Swiss ski resort of Davos, drawing world leaders, business executives, academics, charity heads and celebrities. The conference is used to hold bilateral meetings, make business deals or to try and impact the global agenda. The meeting this year runs from Jan. 21 – 24.
Reposted with permission from DW.
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By Ashutosh Pandey
Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons (Mt), or 7.3 kilogram per person, a UN report showed on Thursday.
Environmental and Health Hazard<p>Experts say e-waste, which is now the world's fastest-growing domestic waste stream, poses serious environmental and health risks.</p><p>Simply throwing away electronic items without ensuring they get properly recycled leads to the loss of key materials such as iron, copper and gold, which can otherwise be recovered and used as primary raw materials to make new equipment, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions from extraction and refinement of raw materials.</p><p>Refrigerants found in electronic equipment such as fridge and air conditioners also contribute to global warming. A total of 98 Mt of CO2-equivalents, or about 0.3% of global energy-related emissions, were released into the atmosphere in 2019 from discarded refrigerators and ACs that were not recycled properly, the report said.</p><p>E-waste contains several toxic additives or hazardous substances, such as mercury and brominated flame retardants (BFR), and simply burning it or throwing it away could lead to serious health issues. Several studies have linked unregulated recycling of e-waste to adverse birth outcomes like stillbirth and premature birth, damages to the human brain or nervous system and in some cases hearing loss and heart troubles.</p><p>"Informal and improper e-waste recycling is a major emerging hazard silently affecting our health and that of future generations. One in four children are dying from avoidable environmental exposures," said Maria Neira, director of the Environment, Climate Change and Health Department at the World Health Organization. "One in four children could be saved, if we take action to protect their health and ensure a safe environment."</p>
Europe Leads the Way<p>While most of the e-waste was generated in Asia (24.9 Mt) in 2019, Europe led the charts on a per person basis with 16.2 kg per capita, the report said.</p><p>But the continent also recorded the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/the-eu-declares-war-on-e-waste/a-51108790" target="_blank">highest documented formal e-waste collection and recycling</a> rate at 42.5%, still below its target of 65%. Europe was well ahead of the others on this front. Asia ranked second with 11.7%.</p><p>The authors said while more that 70% of the world's population was covered by some form of e-waste policy or laws, not much was being done toward implementation and enforcement of the regulations to encourage the take-up of a collection and recycling infrastructure due to lack of investment and political motivation.</p><p>"You have to think about new economic systems," said Kühr.</p><p>One approach could be that consumers no longer buy the products, but only the service they offer. The device would remain the property of the maker, who would then have an interest in offering his customers the best service and the necessary equipment. The maker would also be interested in designing his products in such a way that they are easier to repair and easier to recycle, Kühr said.</p>
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The Cube is home to a 23-camera motion capture system. Jake Socha
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