web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Global Warming"

Jeff Bezos Commits $10 Billion to Address Climate Change

Westlake Legal Group 17bezosfund-facebookJumbo Jeff Bezos Commits $10 Billion to Address Climate Change Philanthropy Global Warming Bezos, Jeffrey P Amazon.com Inc

SEATTLE — Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive and the world’s richest man, said on Monday that he was committing $10 billion to address the climate crisis in a new initiative he called the Bezos Earth Fund.

The effort will fund scientists, activists and nongovernmental organizations, Mr. Bezos said in a post on Instagram. He said he expected to start issuing grants this summer.

“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” he wrote. “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share.”

Mr. Bezos has in the past done little philanthropy. With a net worth of $130 billion, he long preferred to focus on Amazon and other private ventures, such as Blue Origin, which makes rockets. Mr. Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

More recently, Mr. Bezos has ramped up his giving. His largest donation to date was $2 billion, unveiled in September 2018, to help homeless families and build a network of Montessori preschools, an effort that he announced with his then-wife, MacKenzie.

In September, Mr. Bezos unveiled the Climate Pledge, committing Amazon to meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement 10 years ahead of schedule and to be carbon neutral by 2040. As part of the pledge, Mr. Bezos said Amazon was ordering 100,000 electric delivery trucks from Rivian, a Michigan-based company that Amazon has invested in.

At the time, Mr. Bezos said Earth’s climate was changing faster than predicted by the scientific community five years ago. “Those predictions were bad but what is actually happening is dire,” he said.

Mr. Bezos made the pledge after Amazon’s employees agitated on climate change. For a year, workers pressed Amazon to be more aggressive in its climate goals, staging walkouts and talking publicly about how the company could do better.

On Monday, Mr. Bezos provided only rudimentary details about what the new climate effort would do and did not directly address priorities that he would support, other than “any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.”

The fund will provide donations, rather than make investments that Mr. Bezos would expect to see a profit from, according to a person with knowledge of the plan who was not authorized to speak publicly. The new fund is not connected to Amazon.

Even if Mr. Bezos were to spend all $10 billion immediately, he would still remain the world’s richest man, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. This month, Mr. Bezos sold more than $4 billion in Amazon shares as part of a prearranged trading plan, according to regulatory filings. Amazon declined to comment on the share sales.

Mr. Bezos has also been spending his fortune in other ways. He recently agreed to pay $165 million for a Beverly Hills estate owned by David Geffen, the media mogul and co-founder of DreamWorks. Separately, Bezos Expeditions, which oversees The Post and Mr. Bezos’ charitable foundation, is purchasing 120 undeveloped acres in Beverly Hills for $90 million, though the deal is not finalized.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Justice Department Drops Antitrust Probe Against Automakers That Sided With California on Emissions

Westlake Legal Group 07automakers-antitrustinv-facebookJumbo Justice Department Drops Antitrust Probe Against Automakers That Sided With California on Emissions United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Justice Department Greenhouse Gas Emissions Global Warming Fuel Emissions (Transportation) Fuel Efficiency environment Automobiles

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has dropped its antitrust inquiry into four automakers that had sided with California in its dispute with the Trump administration over reducing climate-warming vehicle pollution, deciding that the companies had violated no laws, according to people familiar with the matter.

The investigation, launched last September, had escalated a dispute over one of President Trump’s most significant rollbacks of global warming regulations. The Justice Department’s move was one of a slew of seemingly retributive actions by the White House against California, as the state worked with the four automakers — Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen of America, Honda and BMW — to defy Mr. Trump’s planned rollback of national fuel economy standards.

A spokeswoman from Ford confirmed Friday afternoon that the company had been notified by the Justice Department that the investigation was closed. Representatives from BMW, Volkswagen and Honda did not respond to requests for comment. The Justice Department did not release a statement.

The closure may mark something of a détente in the political battle between the White House and California. Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, has been working with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to address the city’s homeless crisis as well.

The Justice Department’s decision could boost the efforts of the auto companies and California to move ahead with tighter vehicle pollution standards than those being finalized by the federal government.

California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, welcomed the news. “These trumped-up charges were always a sham — a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to prevent more automakers from joining California and agreeing to stronger emissions standards,” he said in a statement. He called the decision “a victory for anyone who cares about the rule of law and clean air.”

In July, the four automakers announced that they had reached an agreement in principle with California on emissions standards that would be stricter than those being sought by the White House. The announcement came as an embarrassment for the Trump administration, which assailed the move as a “P.R. stunt.”

The Justice Department then opened an investigation into whether the four automakers violated federal antitrust laws by working together to reach their deal with California, on the grounds that the agreement could potentially limit consumer choice.

At the time Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, wrote in an opinion article in USA Today that the investigation was not politically motivated. “Those who criticize even the prospect of an antitrust investigation should know that, when it comes to antitrust, politically popular ends should not justify turning a blind eye to the competition laws,” Mr. Delrahim wrote.

In the months after California struck the deal with the automakers, the administration and Justice Department pushed an unusual series of legal and policy moves against California and the auto companies that backed the state’s climate change plan. In September, the Trump administration formally revoked California’s legal authority to set tougher state-level vehicle emissions standards than those set by the federal government.

The Justice Department then filed suit to force California to drop the Canadian province of Quebec from its carbon emissions market, a central effort to limit greenhouse gases from power plants by capping emissions and forcing polluters to buy permits to emit climate-warming carbon dioxide. The Justice Department argued that including Quebec was tantamount to a state illegally conducting foreign policy.

Also in September, the Environmental Protection Agency threatened to withhold federal highway funding from California if it did not address a decades-long backlog of air pollution control plans.

But on Friday, Justice Department lawyers told automakers that they had concluded that they had not broken any rules or laws in their dealings with California, according to the people familiar with the matter.

In the coming weeks, the administration is expected to finalize a rule that would permanently roll back the federal Obama-era standards, which would have required automakers to roughly double the fuel economy of their new cars, pickup trucks and SUVs by 2025. Under those rules, new vehicles would have had to average about 54 miles per gallon.

The Trump administration’s plan will roll back that standard to about 40 miles per gallon.

The agreement reached between California and the four automakers, which account for about 30 percent of the United States auto market, requires an average fleetwide fuel economy of 51 miles per gallon by 2026. California has legal authority under the Clean Air Act to write air pollution rules that go beyond the federal government’s.

Automakers fear that a rift between Washington and Sacramento will split the domestic market between California and 13 other states enforcing one standard and the rest of the states following the more lenient federal standards.

To avert that outcome, the four automakers entered secretive negotiations with California hoping to agree on standards that would apply to vehicles sold nationwide.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Justice Department Drops Antitrust Probe Against Automakers That Sided With California on Emissions

Westlake Legal Group 07automakers-antitrustinv-facebookJumbo Justice Department Drops Antitrust Probe Against Automakers That Sided With California on Emissions United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Justice Department Greenhouse Gas Emissions Global Warming Fuel Emissions (Transportation) Fuel Efficiency environment Automobiles

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has dropped its antitrust inquiry into four automakers that had sided with California in its dispute with the Trump administration over reducing climate-warming vehicle pollution, deciding that the companies had violated no laws, according to people familiar with the matter.

The investigation, launched last September, had escalated a dispute over one of President Trump’s most significant rollbacks of global warming regulations. The Justice Department’s move was one of a slew of seemingly retributive actions by the White House against California, as the state worked with the four automakers — Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen of America, Honda and BMW — to defy Mr. Trump’s planned rollback of national fuel economy standards.

A spokeswoman from Ford confirmed Friday afternoon that the company had been notified by the Justice Department that the investigation was closed. Representatives from BMW, Volkswagen and Honda did not respond to requests for comment. The Justice Department did not release a statement.

The closure may mark something of a détente in the political battle between the White House and California. Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, has been working with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to address the city’s homeless crisis as well.

The Justice Department’s decision could boost the efforts of the auto companies and California to move ahead with tighter vehicle pollution standards than those being finalized by the federal government.

California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, welcomed the news. “These trumped-up charges were always a sham — a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to prevent more automakers from joining California and agreeing to stronger emissions standards,” he said in a statement. He called the decision “a victory for anyone who cares about the rule of law and clean air.”

In July, the four automakers announced that they had reached an agreement in principle with California on emissions standards that would be stricter than those being sought by the White House. The announcement came as an embarrassment for the Trump administration, which assailed the move as a “P.R. stunt.”

The Justice Department then opened an investigation into whether the four automakers violated federal antitrust laws by working together to reach their deal with California, on the grounds that the agreement could potentially limit consumer choice.

At the time Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, wrote in an opinion article in USA Today that the investigation was not politically motivated. “Those who criticize even the prospect of an antitrust investigation should know that, when it comes to antitrust, politically popular ends should not justify turning a blind eye to the competition laws,” Mr. Delrahim wrote.

In the months after California struck the deal with the automakers, the administration and Justice Department pushed an unusual series of legal and policy moves against California and the auto companies that backed the state’s climate change plan. In September, the Trump administration formally revoked California’s legal authority to set tougher state-level vehicle emissions standards than those set by the federal government.

The Justice Department then filed suit to force California to drop the Canadian province of Quebec from its carbon emissions market, a central effort to limit greenhouse gases from power plants by capping emissions and forcing polluters to buy permits to emit climate-warming carbon dioxide. The Justice Department argued that including Quebec was tantamount to a state illegally conducting foreign policy.

Also in September, the Environmental Protection Agency threatened to withhold federal highway funding from California if it did not address a decades-long backlog of air pollution control plans.

But on Friday, Justice Department lawyers told automakers that they had concluded that they had not broken any rules or laws in their dealings with California, according to the people familiar with the matter.

In the coming weeks, the administration is expected to finalize a rule that would permanently roll back the federal Obama-era standards, which would have required automakers to roughly double the fuel economy of their new cars, pickup trucks and SUVs by 2025. Under those rules, new vehicles would have had to average about 54 miles per gallon.

The Trump administration’s plan will roll back that standard to about 40 miles per gallon.

The agreement reached between California and the four automakers, which account for about 30 percent of the United States auto market, requires an average fleetwide fuel economy of 51 miles per gallon by 2026. California has legal authority under the Clean Air Act to write air pollution rules that go beyond the federal government’s.

Automakers fear that a rift between Washington and Sacramento will split the domestic market between California and 13 other states enforcing one standard and the rest of the states following the more lenient federal standards.

To avert that outcome, the four automakers entered secretive negotiations with California hoping to agree on standards that would apply to vehicles sold nationwide.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Climate Change Could Blow Up the Economy. Banks Aren’t Ready.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_167625216_f9d54ac2-c793-4efe-be3d-4d4683e5610b-facebookJumbo Climate Change Could Blow Up the Economy. Banks Aren’t Ready. World Economic Forum Virtual Currency Villeroy de Galhau, Francois (1959- ) Subprime Mortgage Crisis Lagarde, Christine Inflation (Economics) Global Warming Frankfurt (Germany) Facebook Inc European Central Bank Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Davos (Switzerland) Basel (Switzerland) Banking and Financial Institutions Bank for International Settlements

FRANKFURT — Climate change has already been blamed for deadly bush fires in Australia, dying coral reefs, rising sea levels and ever more cataclysmic storms. Could it also cause the next financial crisis?

A report issued this week by an umbrella organization for the world’s central banks argued that the answer is yes, while warning that central bankers lack tools to deal with what it says could be one of the biggest economic dislocations of all time.

The book-length report, published by the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, signals what could be the overriding theme for central banks in the decade to come.

“Climate change poses unprecedented challenges to human societies, and our community of central banks and supervisors cannot consider itself immune to the risks ahead of us,” François Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Banque de France, said in the report.

Central banks spent much of the last 10 years hauling their economies out of a deep financial crisis that began in 2008. They may well spend the next decade coping with the disruptive effects of climate change and technology, the report said.

The European Central Bank, which on Thursday concluded a two-day meeting in Frankfurt focusing on monetary policy, is beginning to grapple with those challenges. The bank did not make any changes in interest rates or its economic stimulus program on Thursday. Instead, other issues are coming to the fore.

Christine Lagarde, the central bank’s president, who took office late last year, has pledged to put climate change on the bank’s agenda, and it was a topic of discussion at the last monetary policy meeting, in December.

Members of the European Central Bank’s governing council argued “that there was a need to step up efforts to understand the economic consequences of climate change,” according to the bank’s official account of the discussion.

Global warming will play a big role in the European Central Bank’s strategic review, a broad reassessment of the way the bank tries to manage inflation. For example, when trying to influence market interest rates, the bank could decide to stop buying bonds of corporations considered big producers of greenhouse gases.

This new awareness of the financial consequences of a hotter earth comes as central banks are contending with another new challenge: technologies that threaten their monopoly on issuing money and their power to combat a financial crisis.

Unofficial digital currencies like Bitcoin or Facebook’s Libra, which is still in the planning stages, bypass central banks and could undermine their control of the monetary system. The obvious solution is for central banks to get into the digital currency business themselves.

On Wednesday, the central banks of Canada, Britain, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland said they were working together with the Bank for International Settlements to figure out what would happen if they did just that.

It’s complicated, though.

Like cash, people can use digital currencies to pay other people directly, without a bank in the middle. Unlike cash, digital currencies allow person-to-person transactions to take place online.

Such a system could be more efficient, but also risky, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum, the organization that stages the annual conclave in Davos.

Commercial banks might become superfluous, and fail. Central banks would in effect become giant retail banks. But they have no experience dealing with millions of individual customers and could be overwhelmed. If a central bank collapsed, so would the monetary system.

Climate change also takes central banks into uncharted territory. Think the subprime crisis in 2008 was bad? Imagine a real estate crisis caused by rising sea levels and coastal flooding that renders thousands of square miles of land uninhabitable or useless for farming.

By some estimates, global gross domestic product could plunge by 25 percent because of the effects of climate change. Central banks have enough trouble dealing with mild recessions, and would not be powerful enough to combat an economic downturn of that scale.

“In the worst case scenario, central banks may have to intervene as climate rescuers of last resort or as some sort of collective insurer for climate damages,” according to the report, published by the Bank for International Settlements, a clearinghouse for the world’s major central banks.

It suggested some precautionary measures central banks could take.

Central banks, which often function as bank regulators, could require lenders to hold more capital if they hold assets vulnerable to the economic effects of a shift to renewable energy. An example might be a bank that has lent a lot of money to fossil fuel companies, or to the Saudi government.

The auto industry already illustrates how investors are moving their money away from companies seen as polluters and into companies seen as green, with disruptive effects on economies. Tesla’s value on the stock market is more than $100 billion, second only to Toyota among carmakers.

In this way, Tesla is being rewarded for producing emission-free electric vehicles. But the migration of capital away from the established manufacturers makes it difficult for them to invest in new technology, and threatens massive job losses and social and political upheaval.

Central banks need to coordinate their policies to deal with these new challenges, according to the Bank for International Settlements report. Unfortunately, coordination is not something that central banks are very good at right now.

“Climate change is a global problem that demands a global solution,” the paper said. But it added that “monetary policy seems, currently, to be difficult to coordinate between countries.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Climate Change Could Cause the Next Financial Meltdown

Westlake Legal Group merlin_167625216_f9d54ac2-c793-4efe-be3d-4d4683e5610b-facebookJumbo Climate Change Could Cause the Next Financial Meltdown World Economic Forum Virtual Currency Villeroy de Galhau, Francois (1959- ) Subprime Mortgage Crisis Lagarde, Christine Inflation (Economics) Global Warming Frankfurt (Germany) Facebook Inc European Central Bank Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Davos (Switzerland) Basel (Switzerland) Banking and Financial Institutions Bank for International Settlements

FRANKFURT — Climate change has already been blamed for deadly bush fires in Australia, dying coral reefs, rising sea levels and ever more cataclysmic storms. Could it also cause the next financial crisis?

A report issued this week by an umbrella organization for the world’s central banks argued that the answer is yes, while warning that central bankers lack tools to deal with what it says could be one of the biggest economic dislocations of all time.

The book-length report, published by the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, signals what could be the overriding theme for central banks in the decade to come.

“Climate change poses unprecedented challenges to human societies, and our community of central banks and supervisors cannot consider itself immune to the risks ahead of us,” François Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Banque de France, said in the report.

Central banks spent much of the last 10 years hauling their economies out of a deep financial crisis that began in 2008. They may well spend the next decade coping with the disruptive effects of climate change and technology, the report said.

The European Central Bank, which on Thursday concluded a two-day meeting in Frankfurt focusing on monetary policy, is beginning to grapple with those challenges. The bank did not make any changes in interest rates or its economic stimulus program on Thursday. Instead, other issues are coming to the fore.

Christine Lagarde, the central bank’s president, who took office late last year, has pledged to put climate change on the bank’s agenda, and it was a topic of discussion at the last monetary policy meeting, in December.

Members of the European Central Bank’s governing council argued “that there was a need to step up efforts to understand the economic consequences of climate change,” according to the bank’s official account of the discussion.

Global warming will play a big role in the European Central Bank’s strategic review, a broad reassessment of the way the bank tries to manage inflation. For example, when trying to influence market interest rates, the bank could decide to stop buying bonds of corporations considered big producers of greenhouse gases.

This new awareness of the financial consequences of a hotter earth comes as central banks are contending with another new challenge: technologies that threaten their monopoly on issuing money and their power to combat a financial crisis.

Unofficial digital currencies like Bitcoin or Facebook’s Libra, which is still in the planning stages, bypass central banks and could undermine their control of the monetary system. The obvious solution is for central banks to get into the digital currency business themselves.

On Wednesday, the central banks of Canada, Britain, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland said they were working together with the Bank for International Settlements to figure out what would happen if they did just that.

It’s complicated, though.

Like cash, people can use digital currencies to pay other people directly, without a bank in the middle. Unlike cash, digital currencies allow person-to-person transactions to take place online.

Such a system could be more efficient, but also risky, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum, the organization that stages the annual conclave in Davos.

Commercial banks might become superfluous, and fail. Central banks would in effect become giant retail banks. But they have no experience dealing with millions of individual customers and could be overwhelmed. If a central bank collapsed, so would the monetary system.

Climate change also takes central banks into uncharted territory. Think the subprime crisis in 2008 was bad? Imagine a real estate crisis caused by rising sea levels and coastal flooding that renders thousands of square miles of land uninhabitable or useless for farming.

By some estimates, global gross domestic product could plunge by 25 percent because of the effects of climate change. Central banks have enough trouble dealing with mild recessions, and would not be powerful enough to combat an economic downturn of that scale.

“In the worst case scenario, central banks may have to intervene as climate rescuers of last resort or as some sort of collective insurer for climate damages,” according to the report, published by the Bank for International Settlements, a clearinghouse for the world’s major central banks.

It suggested some precautionary measures central banks could take.

Central banks, which often function as bank regulators, could require lenders to hold more capital if they hold assets vulnerable to the economic effects of a shift to renewable energy. An example might be a bank that has lent a lot of money to fossil fuel companies, or to the Saudi government.

The auto industry already illustrates how investors are moving their money away from companies seen as polluters and into companies seen as green, with disruptive effects on economies. Tesla’s value on the stock market is more than $100 billion, second only to Toyota among carmakers.

In this way, Tesla is being rewarded for producing emission-free electric vehicles. But the migration of capital away from the established manufacturers makes it difficult for them to invest in new technology, and threatens massive job losses and social and political upheaval.

Central banks need to coordinate their policies to deal with these new challenges, according to the Bank for International Settlements report. Unfortunately, coordination is not something that central banks are very good at right now.

“Climate change is a global problem that demands a global solution,” the paper said. But it added that “monetary policy seems, currently, to be difficult to coordinate between countries.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Climate Change Could Cause the Next Financial Meltdown

Westlake Legal Group merlin_167625216_f9d54ac2-c793-4efe-be3d-4d4683e5610b-facebookJumbo Climate Change Could Cause the Next Financial Meltdown World Economic Forum Virtual Currency Villeroy de Galhau, Francois (1959- ) Subprime Mortgage Crisis Lagarde, Christine Inflation (Economics) Global Warming Frankfurt (Germany) Facebook Inc European Central Bank Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Davos (Switzerland) Basel (Switzerland) Banking and Financial Institutions Bank for International Settlements

FRANKFURT — Climate change has already been blamed for deadly bush fires in Australia, dying coral reefs, rising sea levels and ever more cataclysmic storms. Could it also cause the next financial crisis?

A report issued this week by an umbrella organization for the world’s central banks argued that the answer is yes, while warning that central bankers lack tools to deal with what it says could be one of the biggest economic dislocations of all time.

The book-length report, published by the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, signals what could be the overriding theme for central banks in the decade to come.

“Climate change poses unprecedented challenges to human societies, and our community of central banks and supervisors cannot consider itself immune to the risks ahead of us,” François Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Banque de France, said in the report.

Central banks spent much of the last 10 years hauling their economies out of a deep financial crisis that began in 2008. They may well spend the next decade coping with the disruptive effects of climate change and technology, the report said.

The European Central Bank, which on Thursday concluded a two-day meeting in Frankfurt focusing on monetary policy, is beginning to grapple with those challenges. The bank did not make any changes in interest rates or its economic stimulus program on Thursday. Instead, other issues are coming to the fore.

Christine Lagarde, the central bank’s president, who took office late last year, has pledged to put climate change on the bank’s agenda, and it was a topic of discussion at the last monetary policy meeting, in December.

Members of the European Central Bank’s governing council argued “that there was a need to step up efforts to understand the economic consequences of climate change,” according to the bank’s official account of the discussion.

Global warming will play a big role in the European Central Bank’s strategic review, a broad reassessment of the way the bank tries to manage inflation. For example, when trying to influence market interest rates, the bank could decide to stop buying bonds of corporations considered big producers of greenhouse gases.

This new awareness of the financial consequences of a hotter earth comes as central banks are contending with another new challenge: technologies that threaten their monopoly on issuing money and their power to combat a financial crisis.

Unofficial digital currencies like Bitcoin or Facebook’s Libra, which is still in the planning stages, bypass central banks and could undermine their control of the monetary system. The obvious solution is for central banks to get into the digital currency business themselves.

On Wednesday, the central banks of Canada, Britain, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland said they were working together with the Bank for International Settlements to figure out what would happen if they did just that.

It’s complicated, though.

Like cash, people can use digital currencies to pay other people directly, without a bank in the middle. Unlike cash, digital currencies allow person-to-person transactions to take place online.

Such a system could be more efficient, but also risky, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum, the organization that stages the annual conclave in Davos.

Commercial banks might become superfluous, and fail. Central banks would in effect become giant retail banks. But they have no experience dealing with millions of individual customers and could be overwhelmed. If a central bank collapsed, so would the monetary system.

Climate change also takes central banks into uncharted territory. Think the subprime crisis in 2008 was bad? Imagine a real estate crisis caused by rising sea levels and coastal flooding that renders thousands of square miles of land uninhabitable or useless for farming.

By some estimates, global gross domestic product could plunge by 25 percent because of the effects of climate change. Central banks have enough trouble dealing with mild recessions, and would not be powerful enough to combat an economic downturn of that scale.

“In the worst case scenario, central banks may have to intervene as climate rescuers of last resort or as some sort of collective insurer for climate damages,” according to the report, published by the Bank for International Settlements, a clearinghouse for the world’s major central banks.

It suggested some precautionary measures central banks could take.

Central banks, which often function as bank regulators, could require lenders to hold more capital if they hold assets vulnerable to the economic effects of a shift to renewable energy. An example might be a bank that has lent a lot of money to fossil fuel companies, or to the Saudi government.

The auto industry already illustrates how investors are moving their money away from companies seen as polluters and into companies seen as green, with disruptive effects on economies. Tesla’s value on the stock market is more than $100 billion, second only to Toyota among carmakers.

In this way, Tesla is being rewarded for producing emission-free electric vehicles. But the migration of capital away from the established manufacturers makes it difficult for them to invest in new technology, and threatens massive job losses and social and political upheaval.

Central banks need to coordinate their policies to deal with these new challenges, according to the Bank for International Settlements report. Unfortunately, coordination is not something that central banks are very good at right now.

“Climate change is a global problem that demands a global solution,” the paper said. But it added that “monetary policy seems, currently, to be difficult to coordinate between countries.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Focuses on Economy at Davos, Seeking a Counter to Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group 21prexy-davos1sub-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Trump Focuses on Economy at Davos, Seeking a Counter to Impeachment United States Politics and Government United States Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Switzerland High Net Worth Individuals Global Warming Ethics and Official Misconduct Davos (Switzerland)

DAVOS, Switzerland — President Trump swept into this glitzy Alpine village on Tuesday, full of flattery as he schmoozed with global business leaders, as if there were no talk of removing him from office and no impeachment trial unfolding 4,000 miles away in Washington.

Mr. Trump appeared to relish the escape offered by the World Economic Forum and the friendly — to his face, at least — crowd of elites in the snow-covered Alps. He was in a jovial mood, according to people who spoke with him, engaging in animated conversations with chief executives like Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, Sundar Pichai of Alphabet and Marc Benioff of Salesforce.

He congratulated them on their companies’ stock performances and joked that he should have bought shares but that he had been forced to sell his holdings when he took office. As Mr. Trump and his family members darted between meetings in makeshift pavilions, they studiously avoided questions about the drama back home, where the Senate was expected to begin a fierce partisan squabble over the rules for putting the president on trial.

Mr. Trump’s trip to Davos was his first appearance on the international stage since Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate. Before he arrived in the Swiss town, the open question, as always with Mr. Trump, was how much he would stray from his script and vent his grievances about his legal and political predicament.

But Mr. Trump stuck to his prepared remarks, making inflated claims about his role in a global economic recovery and touting a message of America’s supremacy. When reporters asked him about the impeachment trial, he swatted it away as “just a hoax.”

“America’s economy was in a rather dismal state,” Mr. Trump said during his 30-minute speech. “Before my presidency began, the outlook for many economies was bleak.”

Although the economy’s recovery after its plummet was central to President Barack Obama’s legacy, Mr. Trump said that his administration had created a “roaring geyser of opportunity” and proclaimed that “the American dream is back bigger, better and stronger than ever before.”

Addressing a global audience, Mr. Trump delivered what amounted to a version of his campaign speech, speaking little of international alliances and touting America’s supremacy in the world.

At a conference that has dedicated itself this year to the issue of global warming, Mr. Trump also took a swipe at those demanding action. He announced that the United States would join an initiative to plant a trillion trees that was launched at the event, but he also declared that “we must reject the perennial prophets of doom” and that it was “not a time for pessimism.”

Former Vice President Al Gore, who was seen leaving Mr. Trump’s speech, declined to comment on the president’s remarks.

Mr. Trump arrived in Switzerland on Tuesday morning, taking a ride in Marine One over the Alps, from Zurich to Davos. The altitude increased the sense that the bitter partisan fight that would take place in the Capitol was a world away.

As his motorcade made its way through twisty, snow-covered streets to the Davos Congress Centre, a group of nine Swiss tenors entertained the crowd with a version of “Ranz des vaches,” a mellifluous song for calling home cows.

It was a more peaceful serenade than the songs that typically precede Mr. Trump’s entrance onstage, like “Macho Man” by the Village People and “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones.

Mr. Trump was also a more mellow version of himself.

He highlighted the first phase of his trade deal with China and another with Mexico and Canada. And the audience appeared receptive, having warmed to him over the past two years as they have benefited from his policies.

“Lev Parnas is not a topic of conversation at Davos,” said Ian Bremmer, the president and founder of Eurasia Group, a political research and consulting firm.

Mr. Parnas, an associate of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, has been on a media tour over the past week, asserting that the president was fully aware of the campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals. Democrats have not ruled out trying to call Mr. Parnas as a witness in the impeachment trial.

In Davos, however, television screens were filled with the face of a different Trump antagonist: the teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who was the other star speaker of the day. In a speech there, she warned that “our house is still on fire” and that “inaction is fueling the flames by the hour.”

Mr. Trump did not mention Ms. Thunberg by name in his speech. But when he talked about the importance of clean water and clean air, he added that “fear and doubt is not a good thought process.”

His speech also included inflated or false claims that seemed, at times, disconnected from the concerns of an international audience.

“I saved HBCUs. We saved them,” Mr. Trump claimed, referring to historically black colleges and universities. “They were going out and we saved them.” While the administration has increased investment in the schools 14.3 percent, and although a number of them have struggled financially, there is no evidence that they were on the verge of extinction. In the past six years, one has closed and about 100 remain.

Hanging over the conference was also the question of whether Mr. Trump would try to stage a surprise meeting there with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, even though officials said the optics of such a meeting would be unhelpful to Mr. Trump.

In Davos, however, Mr. Trump may have found the right audience for support to counter the impeachment trial that is dominating the news at home. There was less anxiety about him rippling through the 1 percent set on Tuesday than when he arrived at the annual forum two years ago, fresh off an “America First” campaign filled with promises to rip up international agreements and alliances.

This time, there was more concern about some of the progressive Democrats running to replace him. Through regulatory rollbacks, tax cuts and the success of the global economy, the president who ran as a populist has benefited many of the chief executives gathered at the event, even those who have taken public positions against some of his policies.

“There are lot of masters of the universe who think he may not be their cup of tea, but he’s been a godsend,” said Mr. Bremmer, of Eurasia Group. “It’s interesting to hear Mike Bloomberg saying he would fund Bernie Sanders’s campaign if he won the nomination. Very few people here would say that.”

Mr. Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City who is running for president, has said he is open to spending $1 billion to defeat Mr. Trump, whoever emerges as the Democratic nominee.

During Mr. Trump’s career in New York real estate, entertainment and business, he never cracked the Davos set, whose Fortune 500 chief executives dismissed him as something of a gaudy sideshow.

But the balance of power has shifted. And with progressives like Mr. Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts emerging as top-tier candidates in the Democratic primary, a crowd that once rejected Mr. Trump is now more willing to consider him one of its own.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump happily embraced them back. After his speech, he met with the International Business Council, where he greeted every chief executive personally, according to attendees.

The meeting was less about substance and more about socializing, one attendee said, as Mr. Trump grilled corporate leaders about whether they liked his speech. His daughter, Ivanka Trump, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, also worked the room.

There were however, still points of contention during the conference for Mr. Trump, who planned to spend almost two days there in bilateral meetings with leaders of Iraq, Pakistan and the Kurdish regional government, as well as sitdowns with corporate chieftains. (The forum is also Mr. Trump’s first trip abroad since the drone attack that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most important military official.)

And topping the conference’s agenda was climate change, an issue where Mr. Trump’s agenda is far out of line with the rest of the attendees. He was preceded onstage by Klaus Schwab, a founder of the Forum, who proclaimed that “the world is in a state of emergency,” and Simonetta Sommaruga, the president of the Swiss Federation, who said that “the world is on fire.”

Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, and his administration has expanded the use of coal, played down concerns about climate change and rolled back environmental protections.

The president mocked Ms. Thunberg after she was chosen last month as Time magazine’s Person of the Year. “So ridiculous,” he tweeted. “Greta must work on her anger management problem, then go to a good old-fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”

In 2018, Mr. Trump was the first sitting president to attend the forum since President Bill Clinton did so in 2000. Last year, he abruptly canceled his plans to attend, citing a partial government shutdown.

This year, the administration delegation includes Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, as well as Robert Lighthizer, the trade representative. Other members of the administration who were expected to attend were Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary; Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary; and Eugene Scalia, the labor secretary. Mr. Trump was also accompanied by Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, and Stephen Miller, his policy adviser and speechwriter.

Keith Bradsher contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Greta Thunberg’s Message at Davos Forum: ‘Our House Is Still on Fire’

Westlake Legal Group 21cli-greta-alt-facebookJumbo Greta Thunberg’s Message at Davos Forum: ‘Our House Is Still on Fire’ World Economic Forum United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Thunberg, Greta Speeches and Statements Greenhouse Gas Emissions Global Warming environment

DAVOS, Switzerland — Greta Thunberg on Tuesday punched a hole in the promises emerging from a forum of the global political and business elite and offered instead an ultimatum: Stop investing in fossil fuels immediately, or explain to your children why you did not protect them from the “climate chaos” you created.

“I wonder, what will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing the climate chaos you knowingly brought upon them?” Ms. Thunberg, 17, said at the annual gathering of the world’s rich and powerful in Davos, a village on the icy reaches of the Swiss Alps.

Her remarks opened a panel discussion hosted by The New York Times and the World Economic Forum. The full transcript is available here.

“Our house is still on fire,” she added, reprising her most famous line from an address last year at the forum. “Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour.”

Her remarks came at a time when climate change and environmental sustainability rose to the top of the talking points of many of the executives and government leaders assembled at Davos.

Ms. Thunberg, a climate activist known for speaking bluntly to power, rebuked the crowd for promises that she said would do too little: reducing planet-warming gases to net zero by 2050, offsetting emissions by planting one trillion trees, transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

“Let’s be clear. We don’t need a ‘low carbon economy.’ We don’t need to ‘lower emissions,’” she said. “Our emissions have to stop.”

Only that, she said, would enable the world to keep temperatures from rising past 1.5 degrees from preindustrial levels, which scientists say is necessary to avert the worst effects of climate change. She and a group of young climate activists have called on private investors and governments to immediately halt exploration for fossil fuels, to stop funding their production, to end taxpayer subsidies for the industry and to fully divest their existing stakes in the sector.

Scientists have said emissions must be reduced by half in the next decade to reach the 1.5-degree target. The opposite is happening. Global emissions continued to rise, hitting a record high in 2019, according to research published in December.

Her address began barely an hour after President Trump’s speech at the forum, which barely mentioned climate change, except to implicitly describe climate activists as “heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers.” Ms. Thunberg did not address him directly, except to remind the audience that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement by the end of this year.

Ms. Thunberg took pains to distance herself from politics. “This is not about right or left. We couldn’t care less about your party politics,” she said. “From a sustainability perspective, the right, the left as well as the center have all failed. No political ideology or economic structure has been able to tackle the climate and environmental emergency.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Conservative States Seek Billions to Brace for Disaster. (Just Don’t Call It Climate Change.)

Westlake Legal Group 00cli-REDSTATES-1-facebookJumbo Conservative States Seek Billions to Brace for Disaster. (Just Don’t Call It Climate Change.) United States Politics and Government Texas south carolina North Carolina Louisiana Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Housing and Urban Development Department Greenhouse Gas Emissions Global Warming Florida Floods Federal Aid (US) environment Disasters and Emergencies California

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is about to distribute billions of dollars to coastal states mainly in the South to help steel them against natural disasters worsened by climate change.

But states that qualify must first explain why they need the money. That has triggered linguistic acrobatics as some conservative states submit lengthy, detailed proposals on how they will use the money, while mostly not mentioning climate change.

A 306-page draft proposal from Texas doesn’t use the terms “climate change” or “global warming,” nor does South Carolina’s proposal. Instead, Texas refers to “changing coastal conditions” and South Carolina talks about the “destabilizing effects and unpredictability” of being hit by three major storms in four years, while being barely missed by three other hurricanes.

Louisiana, a state taking some of the most aggressive steps in the nation to prepare for climate change, does include the phrase “climate change” in its proposal in one place, an appendix on the final page.

The federal funding program, devised after the devastating hurricanes and wildfires of 2017, reflects the complicated politics of global warming in the United States, even as the toll of that warming has become difficult to ignore. While officials from both political parties are increasingly forced to confront the effects of climate change, including worsening floods, more powerful storms and greater economic damage, many remain reluctant to talk about the cause.

The $16 billion program, created by Congress and overseen by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is meant to help states better prepare for future natural disasters. It is the first time such funds have been used to prepare for disasters like these that haven’t yet happened, rather than responding to or repairing damage that has already occurred.

The money is distributed according to a formula benefiting states most affected by disasters in 2015, 2016 and 2017. That formula favors Republican-leaning states along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, which were hit particularly hard during that period.

Texas is in line for more than $4 billion, the most of any state. The next largest sums go to Louisiana ($1.2 billion), Florida ($633 million), North Carolina ($168 million) and South Carolina ($158 million), all of which voted Republican in the 2016 presidential election.

The other states getting funding are West Virginia, Missouri, Georgia and California, the only state getting money that voted Democratic in the presidential race of 2016. California hasn’t yet submitted its proposal, but in the past the state has spoken forcefully about the threat of climate change, in addition to fighting with the Trump administration to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

Half the money, $8.3 billion, was set aside for Puerto Rico, as well as $774 million for the United States Virgin Islands. The Trump administration has delayed that funding, citing concerns over corruption and fiscal management.

Not every state has felt compelled to tiptoe around climate change. Florida’s proposal calls it “a key overarching challenge,” while North Carolina pledges to anticipate “how a changing climate, extreme events, ecological degradation and their cascading effects” will affect state residents.

The housing department has itself been careful about how it described the program’s goals. When HUD in August released the rules governing the money, it didn’t use the terms “climate change” and “global warming” but referred to “changing environmental conditions.”

Still, the rule required states that received money to describe their “current and future risks.” And when those risks included flooding — the most costly type of disaster nationwide — states were instructed to account for “continued sea level rise,” which is one consequence of global warming.

A spokeswoman for the housing department did not respond to requests for comment.

Stan Gimont, who as deputy assistant secretary for grant programs at HUD was responsible for the program until he left the department last summer, said the decision not to cite climate change was “a case of picking your battles.”

“When you go out and talk to local officials, there are some who will very actively discuss climate change and sea-level rise, and then there are those who will not,” Mr. Gimont said. “You’ve got to work with both ends of the spectrum. And I think in a lot of ways it’s best to draw a middle road on these things.”

Texas released a draft version of its plan in November. That draft said the state faced “changing coastal conditions,” as well as a future in which both wildfires and extreme heat were expected to increase. In response, the state proposes better flood control, buying and demolishing homes in high-risk areas and giving counties money for their own projects.

But state officials in Texas, where Republicans control the governor’s mansion and both chambers of the Legislature, were silent on what is causing the changes. The report does not cite climate change or global warming, though “climate change” pops up in footnotes citing articles and papers with that phrase in their titles.

Brittany Eck, a spokeswoman for the Texas General Land Office, which produced the proposal, did not respond to questions about the choice of language or the role of climate change in making disasters worse. In an email, she said Texas would distribute the funding based on “accepted scientific research, evidence and historical data to determine projects that provide the greatest value to benefit ratio to protect affected communities from future events.”

Some local politicians in hard-hit areas of Texas are outspoken. Lina Hidalgo, a Democrat and the top elected official in Harris County, which includes Houston and which suffered some of the worst effects of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, said that addressing the effects of climate change was a top issue for her constituents.

“Harris County is Exhibit A for how the climate crisis is impacting the daily lives of residents in Texas,” Ms. Hidalgo said in a statement. “If we’re serious about breaking the cycle of flooding and recovery we have to shift the paradigm on how we do things, and that means putting science above politics.”

In South Carolina, which like Texas is controlled by Republicans in both legislative chambers and the governor’s office, the state’s proposal likewise makes no mention of climate change. It cites sea-level rise once, and only to say that it won’t be addressed.

The state’s flood-reduction efforts “will only address riverine and surface flooding, not storm surge or sea-level rise issues,” according to its proposal.

That is despite the fact that sea levels and storm surges are increasing across the coastal southeastern United States because of climate change, federal scientists wrote in a sweeping 2018 report. The report’s authors noted that Charleston, S.C., broke its record for flooding in 2016, at 50 days, and that “this increase in high-tide flooding is directly tied to sea-level rise.”

Megan Moore, a spokeswoman for South Carolina’s Department of Administration, said by email that the proposal “is designed to increase resilience to and reduce or eliminate long-term risk of loss of life or property based on the repetitive losses sustained in this state.” She did not respond to questions about why the proposal did not address climate change.

One of the states acknowledged that weather conditions were changing and seas were rising, but still mostly avoided the term climate change. Louisiana, whose location at the mouth of the Mississippi River makes it one of the states most threatened by climate change, intends to use the $1.2 billion it will receive to better map and prepare for future flooding — a major peril for countless low-lying areas — said Pat Forbes, executive director of the state’s Office of Community Development, which is managing the money.

“We realize we’ve got to get better, because it’s going to get worse,” Mr. Forbes said.

The state, where both the House and Senate are controlled by Republicans but the governor is a Democrat, submitted a proposal that makes references to climate change, noting that the risks of flooding “will continue to escalate in a warming world.”

Still, the 91-page report uses the phrase “climate change” only once, at the end of an appendix on its final page.

Mr. Forbes called climate change “not that important a thing for an action plan,” and said that mostly leaving the phrase out of the document was not intentional. He said the purpose of the proposal was to demonstrate to the federal government that Louisiana knows what it wants to do with the money.

“Our governor has acknowledged on multiple occasions that we expect the flooding to be more frequent and worse in the future, not better,” Mr. Forbes said. “So we’ve got to have an adaptive process here that constantly makes us safer.”

Other states used their proposals to emphasize the centrality of climate change to the risks they face. “Climate change is a key overarching challenge which threatens to compound the extent and effects of hazards,” wrote officials in Florida, where Republicans control both legislative chambers and the governor’s office.

In North Carolina, which has a Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled Legislature, the proposal argued that the state was trying to anticipate “how a changing climate, extreme events, ecological degradation and their cascading effects will impact the needs of North Carolina’s vulnerable populations.”

Shana Udvardy, a climate resilience analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the failure to confront global warming made it more important for governments to at least call the problem by its name.

“We really need every single state, local and federal official to speak clearly,” Ms. Udvardy said. “The polls indicate that the majority of Americans understand that climate change is happening here and now.”

Others were more sympathetic. Marion McFadden, who preceded Mr. Gimont as head of disaster-recovery grants at HUD during the Obama administration, said the department was responding to the political realities in conservative states. She described the $16 billion grant program as “all about climate change,” but said some states would sooner refuse the money than admit that global warming is real.

“HUD is requiring them to be explicit about everything other than the concept that climate change is responsible,” said Ms. McFadden, who is now senior vice president for public policy at Enterprise Community Partners, which worked with states to meet the program’s requirements. Insistence on saying the words raises the risk “that they may walk away.”

For more climate news sign up for the Climate Fwd: newsletter or follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In Its 50th Year, Davos Is Searching for Its Soul

It was just weeks before the World Economic Forum would host its 50th anniversary gathering in Davos, Switzerland, and Klaus Schwab, the event’s patrician founder, was pensive. In an interview at his organization’s midtown Manhattan offices, Mr. Schwab lamented the apparent retreat of ideals he has championed for a half-century.

Open borders, liberal democracy and free markets are under threat around the world. Instead, the moment is being shaped by rising nationalism, authoritarianism and a Chinese economic system to rival Western capitalism.

Couple this with a surge of anti-elitist sentiment, and the forum, which hosts world leaders and chief executives in mountaintop chalets under tight security, has for some become a symbol of all that is wrong with the world.

Attendees fret about inequality while hotel rooms in Davos — if you can get one — cost $500 or more a night. Many express concern about climate change, but arrive at the event in private jets. Describing the concentration of executives and heads of state there, the “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert said, “Basically, it’s what Lex Luthor would point his space laser at.” Once a beacon of international cooperation, Davos has become a punch line.

“It pains me,” Mr. Schwab said.

But it hasn’t slowed him down. At 81, Mr. Schwab remains the animating force behind W.E.F., as it is colloquially known. He will preside over the meeting in Davos, greeting dignitaries, opining from the main stage of the Congress Center and dropping in on exclusive dinner parties. A German academic who charted an unlikely path to the summit of international thought leadership, Mr. Schwab has the power to frame the debate among the world’s most influential actors, even as much of what he stands for comes under assault.

“Klaus has been so successful in bringing together these decision makers,” said David Gergen, the former White House adviser and a Davos regular. “And yet in so many ways, we’ve been going backward in terms of climate, nationalism and the health of our democracies.”

Despite the hand-wringing, everyone is still showing up to the party.

The event began in January 1971.Credit…World Economic Forum A farewell lunch at last year’s forum, which is held in the Alpine town of Davos, Switzerland.Credit…Pascal Bitz/World Economic Forum

The forum has once again charged corporations a small fortune for the privilege to send their executives tramping around Davos in snow boots and suits. Companies like Microsoft and Ikea have once again spent lavishly to transform ski town gift shops into glorified exhibition booths. World leaders, including President Trump, are expected to attend.

At a practical level, the sheer concentration of movers and shakers makes Davos an irresistible draw for other movers and shakers. Business and political leaders dice up their schedules into 30-minute increments, cramming in more than a dozen meetings a day with customers, partners, regulators and journalists.

In the evenings, masters of the universe will hop from, say, a dinner hosted by George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist, to a wine party sponsored by Anthony Scaramucci, the financier and former Trump administration official. JPMorgan’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, is hosting a cocktail reception at a museum. Marc Benioff, the Salesforce co-founder and co-chief executive, will buy out a nightclub and fly in a pop star.

“Six days of work at Davos is easily six months of work in other places for these people,” said Ian Bremmer, the founder of the Eurasia Group, who has worked with the forum over the years. “That intensity is valuable.”

As usual, the agenda will touch upon the litany of threats to the dominant world order, including the climate crisis, rising tensions in the Middle East and income inequality. In the months before each year’s gathering, Mr. Schwab flies around the globe on an international listening tour, asking executives and world leaders what’s on their mind.

After this year’s travels, Mr. Schwab said that the top concerns included rising debt, China’s rise, Brexit and climate change. In short, the elite are worried about the demise of the very ideology long espoused by Mr. Schwab: globalism — the notion that the open exchange of people, products, ideas and services across borders will benefit all.

“That was an ideology that felt completely dominant when the Soviet Union collapsed, but today not so much,” Mr. Bremmer said. “A lot of people inside those democracies feel like that globalism has failed them.

Over the years, Davos has become the target of scrutiny. Critics have said that it allows companies to gloss over their sins with high-minded pledges to do better, and that it is insufficiently diverse. (It remains an overwhelmingly male affair, with just 22 percent of attendees women this year, a record high.) And recently, the debate about Davos has begun playing out in real time.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167130750_d85ecd4f-bfae-462e-9244-907f6067f773-articleLarge In Its 50th Year, Davos Is Searching for Its Soul World Economic Forum Schwab, Klaus Income Inequality Global Warming Economic Conditions and Trends Davos (Switzerland) Corporate Social Responsibility Capitalism (Theory and Philosophy)

Limousines and other cars at last year’s forum.Credit…Fabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Last year, one of the most talked-about exchanges at the event was about Davos itself.

On a panel discussion featuring, among others, the conservationist Jane Goodall and Edward Felsenthal, the editor of Time magazine, Rutger Bregman, a Dutch journalist and historian, spoke about what he saw as the rampant hypocrisy on display in the Alps.

“Fifteen hundred private jets have flown in here to hear Sir David Attenborough speak about how, you know, we’re wrecking the planet,” Mr. Bregman said, eliciting nervous chuckles from the crowd. “I hear people talk in the language of participation and justice and equality and transparency, but then, I mean, almost no one raises the real issue of tax avoidance, right? And of the rich just not paying their fair share. I mean, it feels like I’m at a firefighters conference, and no one is allowed to speak about water.”

The clip went viral and seemed to confirm people’s suspicions that for all the talk of world-changing agendas in Davos, not much really happened there. Moreover, his comments echoed a broader line of criticism that the global elite are uninterested in solutions to intractable problems if those solutions threaten their dominance.

“They’d rather listen to a Buddhist monk talk about meditation or hear about power poses, but they don’t like to talk about the source of tax evasion,” Mr. Bregman said in an interview, noting that he had not been invited back to Davos this year. “They want to hear about how individuals can change their lives, rather than how structural reform can affect inequality or climate change.”

Mr. Schwab defended the substance of the event.

Other dissenting voices will be in attendance this year, including the teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who will attend for a second time. And Mr. Schwab was an early proponent of socially responsible business, helping define the “stakeholder theory,” which holds that corporations should answer not just to shareholders, but to employees, customers and the environment.

That may not sound particularly controversial today, but Mr. Schwab was ahead of his time in the early 1970s. “Back then you had to fight against Milton Friedman, who gave a moral justification to profit maximization,” Mr. Schwab said, referring to the economist who wrote that “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.”

Much has changed since then.

Last year, the Business Roundtable, an influential group of American chief executives, redefined its mission statement to more closely align with what Mr. Schwab first said a half-century ago. BlackRock, the world’s largest institutional investor, recently said it would make climate change a focus of its investment strategy.

It’s hard to imagine where the world of business responsibility would be without Davos,” Mr. Gergen said.

And even as globalism comes under attack from all sides, Mr. Schwab argues that, on balance, it has been a force for good. In the 50 years since the World Economic Forum began, life has improved for most people, he said. Even as the human population has doubled, the likelihood of child mortality, illiteracy and deaths by disease are all at record lows. And he said he believed that while, yes, governments and corporations had fallen short — and maybe even contributed to the problems — they were an integral part of whatever solutions might be possible.

“Elites have always existed,” he said. “We bring together people of influence, and we hope that they use their influence in a positive way.”

In recent years, Mr. Schwab has tried to address the criticism that Davos is out of touch. Aware of the bad optics of all those private jets, he has asked all forum members to commit to be carbon-free by 2050. He recently expressed his support for reining in executive pay. Yet he is unlikely to upset BP or Google with calls for a steep carbon tax or stricter antitrust regulation. After all, those are among the companies that pay lavishly for access to the most elite party on earth.

“Klaus is much more comfortable being an activist in the world of ideas than one in the world of action,” Mr. Gergen said.

“He doesn’t see himself as someone who needs to be in front of a parade, changing one law or another.”

To skeptics like Mr. Bregman, this is the very problem.

While Mr. Schwab fashions himself as the conscience of global capitalism, he is constrained in just how far he can go. The genial host of Davos, he must be careful not to upset his guests. If the debate about how to fix the world’s problems is unfailingly polite, it is unlikely that the hard questions will get asked. If access to the forum is restricted to those who can afford the price of admission or score a sponsored invite, the voices at the table risk an ideological homogeneity.

“Some people believe that the global elite go to Davos and plan for world domination, but it’s much scarier than that,” Mr. Bregman said.

“You go there and you find out that all those people are pretty nice. But friendliness can stand in the way of justice.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com