Extreme weather events are the biggest global risk in the next decade, according to a report that the World Economic Forum published ahead of its annual meeting last week in Davos, Switzerland. But some corporate leaders say there’s reason to be optimistic because climate-related solutions are already in development.
Momentum is already building for the clean energy transition, including a “massive amount of investment” in this space, and that’s likely to accelerate over the next decade, according to Melanie Nakagawa, chief sustainability officer at Microsoft. More education is still needed, particularly to close the skills gap between men and women—and artificial intelligence, one of the big themes of this year’s meeting, could help, she added.
“These extreme temperature events are going to happen with more frequency than any of us would care to imagine or want,” Nakagawa said during a panel discussion during a panel discussion hosted by Fast Company. “That’s going to raise more consciousness around the importance of what we need to do to drive the changes that are required.”
Improvements in efficiency and productivity in the manufacturing industry, along with the power grid more broadly, are also reasons to be excited for the future, noted Ken West, president and CEO of Honeywell’s energy and sustainability solutions division.
“We have to come out with new technologies to solve those problems,” West said. “As I’ve been around Davos here over the last few days, I’ve seen that recognition . . . and I’ve seen much more execution than just talking about what the problems are.”