Davos: Climate emergency must come top of the agenda

Decision makers attending the World Economic Forum in Davos this week must transform our economic system away from fossil fuels by the end of the decade to prevent climate chaos, Amnesty International and other human rights groups as well as key environment, labour and social justice groups said in a statement.

The activist leaders are calling for every government and business leader attending Davos to declare a climate emergency within their sphere of influence and to end fossil fuel use and exploration. Governments must redistribute fossil fuel subsidies to social protection and responsibly produced renewable energy and put a meaningful price on emissions to make polluting industries pay.

There are still ways to avert the worst-case scenario, but this will require governments, businesses, investors and civil society to take rapid action

“The climate emergency is the burning issue at Davos. Climate change threatens the rights of hundreds of millions of people to water, food, and health.  Leaders at  Davos can support human rights or they can support fossil fuels - they cannot do both,” said Clare Algar, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Research Advocacy and Policy.

"There are still ways to avert the worst-case scenario, but this will require governments, businesses, investors and civil society to take rapid action.

“To limit global warming to 1.5°C we must halve global emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050 but that goal is slipping out of reach. Davos brings together the most powerful people on the planet and we urgently need them to show they’re on humanity’s side, beginning with formal declarations of a climate emergency. True leaders don’t cover their eyes and ears – it’s time to face up to reality.”

The joint statement calls on governments to ensure the transition from fossil fuels is just and advances the rights of disadvantaged communities. It calls on companies to respect human rights and the environment, including by identifying, disclosing and addressing their negative impacts.  Both must respect the fundamental rights of activists working on these issues to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.