Climate activists in Davos protest over role of oil firms at WEF

Activists in Swiss resort demand stronger action to tackle the climate crisis at the World Economic Forum.

Climate activists display a banner during a protest ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023 in the Alpine resort of Davos, Switzerland, on January 15, 2023 [Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters]

Scores of climate activists have gathered in Davos to protest against the role of big oil companies at the World Economic Forum (WEF) and demand stronger action to tackle the climate crisis.

The annual meeting of global business and political leaders in Switzerland starts on Monday.

It will be attended by some 1,500 business leaders, including major energy firms like BP, Chevron and Saudi Aramco.

“We are demanding concrete and real climate action,” said Nicolas Siegrist, the 26-year-old organiser of the protest, who also heads the Young Socialists party in Switzerland.

A climate activist displays a placard during a protest in advance of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023 on January 15, 2023 [Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters]
“They will be in the same room with state leaders and they will push for their interests,” Siegrist said of the involvement of energy companies at the WEF meeting.

The oil and gas industry has said that it needs to be part of the energy transition because fossil fuels will continue to play a major role in the world’s energy mix as countries shift to low-carbon economies.

More than 100 protesters gathered in a Davos square were chanting “change your diet for the climate, eat the rich”. Others booed oil firms cited during a speech.

Demonstrators pose beside Swiss police officers during a protest ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023 [Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters]
“I know some of the companies are involved in alternatives, but I think governments with their subsidies have to skew the field in favour of alternative energy,” Heather Smith, a member of the 99% Organisation, a volunteer movement.

Smith was holding a sign saying “Stop Rosebank”, a North Sea oil and gas field she is campaigning to halt plans for.

The economic crisis and rising interest rates have made it harder for renewable energy developments to attract financing while energy companies have been profiting from the energy crisis.

“There is still too much money to be made from fossil fuel investments,” Smith added.

Climate activists protest ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023 in Davos, Switzerland [Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters]
Source: News Agencies