Davos strives to make climate talk more than hot air

Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:38am EST
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* Climate threat grabs attention after storms and drought

* Obama speech hot talking-point at World Economic Forum

* But business cautious on investment as governments stall

By Ben Hirschler

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Climate change is back on the global agenda, with debate in the corridors at Davos given fresh impetus by U.S. President Barack Obama and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon both highlighting it as top priority this week.

Yet business leaders are still struggling to find the economic incentives to change current practices.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has not held back in its own assessment of the dangers, with former Mexican president Felipe Calderon warning of "a climate crisis with potentially devastating impacts on the global economy".

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, summed it up for any Davos doubters: "Unless we take action on climate change, future generations will be roasted, toasted, fried and grilled."

There is a disconnect, however, between increasing evidence of extreme weather - from Superstorm Sandy in the United States in October to record heat in Australia this month - and the limited response from politicians and businesses.   Continued...