Davos Ends With Criticism Over Attendees’ Private Jet Usage

At least 150 private jets flew business executives, billionaires, government officials, and celebrities into the World Economic Forum summit this year. Participants of the World Economic Forum at Davos said they were committed to fighting climate change, and then flew to Zurich on private jets. 

It is one of the regular charges leveled against Davos attendees each year. 

This year’s Davos concluded at the end of last week, with criticism over the carbon-emitting choice of transportation continuing into this week. 

Private jet travel is by far the most carbon-intensive mode of transportation. They are about 10 times more carbon-intensive than commercial planes and 50 times more carbon-intensive than trains.

Climate change was one of the big topics at this year’s Davos. The return to Davos by corporate titans and their bankers after recent record-high Alpine temperatures has turned a spotlight on just how quickly they are moving to rein in carbon emissions.

The number of organizations pledging to get to net-zero emissions by mid-century has soared in recent years, up 60% to more than 11,000 in September 2022, U.N. figures showed.

But the world is on course to miss all of its climate goals, leading to another big criticism of Davos: That it’s all just talk. 

And it’s no longer only climate activists who are criticizing the elite, it’s now widespread. Voices have risen to the altitude where CEOs reside to offer criticism and backlash. Executives are hearing from their home communities and employees they expect corporations to be good partners.

The United Nations even does not believe that Davos will solve global issues. While Davos likes to think of itself as the solution for the world’s woes, UN lead António Guterres isn’t so sure.

“We are in the worst situation of my lifetime,” the 73-year-old U.N. chief told the World Economic Forum. 

“Across the spectrum of global challenges, we need private sector resourcefulness and cooperation to advance peace, sustainable development, and human rights,” he said. 

Davos has placed climate change at or near the top of its global threat list for years. But its annual meeting is thick with the companies most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. The list of attendees at this year’s forum included CEOs or top executives from at least 27 fossil fuel companies, including Shell, Chevron, Aramco, and BP.

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