Senility of world leaders comes to fore in Davos
“As a symbol of elite global capitalism, Switzerland’s World Economic Forum has always attracted fervent opposition.
"As a symbol of elite global capitalism, Switzerland's World Economic Forum has always attracted fervent opposition. For its 50th bash, the trend continues with the President of the world's greatest capitalistic country clashing with the planet's youngest defender," wrote an observer after watching the clash of ideas, nay, clash of ages at the ongoing Davos meet.
One has to look at the tussle over climate change in a particular contest. President Donald Trump has decried climate "prophets of doom" in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where sustainability is the main theme.
He called for a rejection of "predictions of the apocalypse" and said America would defend its economy. Trump did not directly name the teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who was in the audience. Later, she blasted political leaders, saying the world "in case you hadn't noticed, is currently on fire".
In his keynote speech, Trump said that it was a time for optimism, not pessimism, in a speech that touted his administration's economic achievements and America's energy boom. 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." Nothing could be farther from the truth than this.
But when was Trump bothered about truth? Environmental destruction is at the top of the agenda at the annual summit of the world's decision-makers. Sadly, leaders like Trump are not alone in maintaining so. Australia, Brazil, Russia and Saudi Arabia are also giving examples of economies driven by fossil fuels. What shall we call this attitude? Are these leaders okay?
Do they understand the devastating effects of climate change? Or is it their senility that is speaking? Something is wrong with the world leaders who are not so young anymore. They are just sticking to the present and the past and not even thinking about the future. May be this is the real clash of ages.
What is Trump's age and how can someone who is 57 years younger to him accept his world's view? Thunberg is not burdened with any office or the fall out of some foolish policies just as Trump is. She can think straight and clean and is doing so. Her worry is whether there would be a chance for the posterity to survive on this planet, the only one that mankind knows and inhabits.
What should have been the top priority of Trump? Thunberg? Or his impeachment? Or his effort to avoid a war with Iran which he himself almost got? But he chooses Thunberg on a world platform to attack, as if she is the most dangerous missile staring into his face.
If, Greta Thunberg is right then the consequences of doing nothing are calamitous. But if she is wrong, changing to a cleaner energy future is a good thing in itself and can even generate growth and prosperity. As simple as that Mr Trump.
Whether or not one is a sceptic about the impact of CO2 on the climate or questions man's involvement in producing the greenhouse gas, our energy future is a non-carbon one.