Children at Risk - The New York Times

DAVOS, Switzerland — I am writing to you today as a parent. A terrified American parent. When children are killed in their school, I t...


DAVOS, Switzerland — I am writing to you today as a parent. A terrified American parent.

When children are killed in their school, I try to keep my terror away from where I am. Until I can’t anymore. And this week at the World Economic Forum, someone forced me to make the connection between the safety of our children in a country flooded with weapons and the safety of our children on a warmer planet.

It was Al Gore, the former vice president, who drew a straight line between gun politics and climate politics. He spoke with the conviction of a man who knows American politics inside out, and he spoke with anger and grief. And I felt this terror inside, this question that I try to keep at bay in times like this, when I have to stay focused on something else: is my child safe there? school in the United States?

“Some of the same reasons the United States has been unable to respond to these tragedies are the same reasons – lobbying, campaign contributions, capturing policymaking, controlling politicians with money, lobbyists – that ‘It’s been impossible to pass climate legislation,” Gore said. “Our democracy has been crippled, bought, captured.

If you haven’t done so yet, take a look at this extremely informative article by my colleagues at the Times, showing each Republican senator’s position on gun control legislation. As my colleague Carl Hulse wrotethe reality is that many Republicans may be open to new gun laws, but risk losing their jobs if they openly support them.

Here in Davos, a child, or anyone else, listening to the official panels and press conferences, might come away feeling that the powerful adults here, titans of industry and government, really cared of their future. Climate change and what to do about it dominated many sessions.

Multi-national companies promised to buy green products. Executives talked about reducing greenhouse gas emissions as a great new business opportunity. Tech entrepreneur Marc Benioff has spoken of “environmental capitalism”.

Except that in reality, the oil and gas companies are making skyrocketing profits. Even corporations with their own ambitious goals of reaching net zero (the point where their operations no longer add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere) continue to fund trade associations that undermine climate legislation in the states. States, the largest emitter in history. The money promised to poor countries by rich countries has not fully materialized.

Meanwhile, extreme weather conditions, oversized by climate change, have left millions of people suffering. A grueling heat wave in India and Pakistan, followed by floods. Devastating rains and mudslides in South Africa. Fire and drought in the American West.

“There is a huge disconnect between what is happening there and what is demanded by people here,” Kenyan climate activist Elizabeth Wathuti, 26, said Thursday during a protest outside the forum venue. “It’s not OK for leaders and companies to keep saying one thing and doing another. Lives and livelihoods are at stake. What is needed now is honesty and dignity out of respect for the people on the front lines of this crisis. »

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the rush for oil and gas supplies from anywhere other than Russia dominated the forum. Europe concludes gas agreements between Angola and Qatar. The United States is increasing its gas exports. Amin Nasser, chief executive of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, told the conference that, rather than being on the wrong side of history, the oil majors are “on the bright side of reality.”

Raj Shah, chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation, was clear about the disconnect. “The Russian-Ukrainian war has set back the cause of reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels in the short term.”

That short term could be 10 years, maybe less, he said. But it would have an immediate effect on the world’s ability to slow warming, because what large historical emitters like the United States and Europe do today shapes what future large emitters like Indonesia, Brazil or India, will be ready to do, from today. . Efforts to persuade these countries to shift away from coal, Shah said, are “naturally undermined by Western investments in fossil fuels.”

This will undoubtedly shape the future of all our children.


The countries of the South contribute little to climate change, but suffer disproportionately from its effects. Join The New York Times and leading experts for “Closing the climate inequality gapwhere they will share their visions for an equitable and climate-resilient future.


From kebabs to refreshing drinks, mangoes are everywhere in India. But the hottest March in 122 years devastated crops, leaving farmers stunned. “I have never witnessed this phenomenon before in my life,” said a mango grower. Unfortunately, this may not be the last time: research shows that the chances of a heat wave like this have increased by at least 30 times since the 19th century.


Thanks for reading. We will be back on Tuesday.

Manuela Andreoni, Claire O’Neill and Douglas Alteen contributed to Climate Forward.

contact us at climateforward@nytimes.com. We read every message and respond to a lot!



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