Good morning from Davos, where the 50th World Economic Forum is getting underway.
Around 3,000 heads of state, business chiefs, academics, activists, celebrities and journalists have descended for their annual splurge of meetings, speeches, parties, top-level discussions and general pontificating.
And today could be dominated by two extremely different individuals, who are both changing the world in their own way.
In one corner, US president Donald Trump. He’ll give the first keynote speech this morning – a chance to tub-thump his America First agenda, trumpet his (limited) trade deal with China, and hail the ongoing US economic expansion.
The Americans are in town in force. Trump has brought a large delegation, including Treasury secretary Stephen Mnuchin and White House advisor Larry Kudlow.
But across the congress centre, climate activist Greta Thunberg will also be in the spotlight. She’s demanding that governments and corporations wake up to the climate emergency, and take decisive action before our futures are ruined.
As Thunberg and allies wrote in the Guardian last week:
We demand that at this year’s forum, participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels.
We don’t want these things done by 2050, 2030 or even 2021, we want this done now – as in right now.
The climate emergency is a massive issue at Davos this week. WEF’s own Risks Report shows that it’s the biggest long-term risk facing the world economy.
But there’s lots of other issues on the agenda too, including the state of the world economy, the technology arms race, and mental health.
Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, is in town — just as the UK weighs up whether to use its 5G technology despite US opposition.
Ren has a lot on his mind. Yesterday, his daughter Meng Wanzhou appeared in a Vancouver court to start her extradition trial over charges of fraud and sanctions violations.
- 8.30am Davos / 7.30am GMT: Creating a sustainable path towards a common future, including Greta Thunberg,
- 9.45am Davos / 8.45am GMT: Huawei’s Founder, Ren Zhengfei, on a panel discussing the tech arms race
- 11.30am Davos / 10.30am GMT: Donald Trump’s special address
- 1pm Davos: noon GMT: A panel session on the ‘averting the climate apocalypse’, including Greta Thunberg
- 2.15pm Davos / 1.15pm GMT: Chinese vice-premier Han Zheng’s special address
- 2.30pm Davos/ 1.30pm GMT: US treasury secretary Stephen Mnuchin on a US economy session
- 3pm Davos / 2pm GMT: Indian actress Deepika Padukone discusses mental health(3pm GMT)
- 4pm Davos / 3pm GMT: Solving the green growth equation, with Bank of England governor Mark Carney, economist Mariana Mazzucato, and Greenpeace’s Jennifer Morgan
- 5.15pm Davos / 4.15pm GMT: A session on ‘escaping the liquidity trap’ with White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow and IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath