Davos: Trump decries climate ‘prophets of doom’ at the World Economic Forum

US President Donald Trump has decried climate “prophets of doom” in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where sustainability is the main theme.

He called for a rejection of “predictions of the apocalypse” and declared that America would defend its economy.

Mr. Trump did not directly address Greta Thunberg, who is opening a session called “Averting a Climate Apocalypse”.

Environmental destruction is at the top of the agenda at the annual summit of the world’s decision-makers.

Mr. Trump told business and political leaders gathered at the Swiss ski resort that it was a time for optimism, not pessimism in a speech that touted his administration’s economic achievements.

Speaking of climate activists, he said: “These alarmists always demand the same thing – absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives.”

He was speaking hours before his impeachment trial gets underway in the US Senate.

Earlier, Ms. Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish climate activist who has led a global movement of school strikes calling for urgent environmental action, said that people were now “more generally aware” of the risks of climate change and global warming.

But, speaking on a panel with other young activists, she added: “From another perspective, pretty much nothing has been done.”

She was in the audience throughout Mr. Trump’s speech but did not speak to reporters as she walked out.

Although the world, through the Paris climate deal, has committed to keeping temperatures well below 2.0C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and endeavored to keep the rise to 1.5C, scientists say we are well off that target.

Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the Earth was heading instead for 3C and that “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” would be needed to keep to the preferred target of 1.5C.

Economist Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Laureate, criticized Mr. Trump’s speech. According to Reuters news agency, he said it was “astounding” and made “as if what we are seeing with our eyes is not there”.


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