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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Dozens of the world’s leaders in business, finance and politics are planning to convene June 3 to discuss how the global economy can be “reset”— with climate change a defining theme — as nations recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Driving the news: The online event will be hosted by His Royal Highness Charles, Prince of Wales, and Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

What they’re saying: “The meeting will see various guests from the public and private sector make contributions on how we can achieve a ‘Great Reset’ of our global economic system in the post-COVID era,” a forum spokesman told Axios.

The intrigue: Others involved include International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and Bank of America President and CEO Brian Moynihan, according to spokespeople.

  • Other top leaders across business, finance and additional sectors are slated to attend, but a forum spokesman said such details, along with a specific agenda, are still being worked out.

But, but, but: Climate change concerns appear near the bottom of a survey the forum itself released this week conducted with nearly 350 senior risk professionals across a variety of sectors.

  • Two climate-related actions — reducing emissions and adapting to a warmer world — barely broke the top 20 out of a list of 31 concerns (check out the appendix charts on page 51-53 of the survey.)
  • Respondents were asked to assess what areas of society would face the most fallout due to the pandemic, which are the greatest concerns for the world and which are the greatest concerns for their businesses.

Flashback: The World Economic Forum has increasingly focused on climate change, and this year’s annual Davos confab saw a greater emphasis. Prince Charles delivered a speech on the issue and created a sustainability initiative with executives to focus more on climate going forward.

One level deeper: While the event is broadly about the economy, multiple people involved told Axios that climate change is a core part of the mission.

“When the public health emergency recedes, the obvious biggest crisis you have to address is climate change,” said one person involved, who would only speak on the condition of anonymity because the event was still being planned. “The understanding of this group is that this public health crisis reveals that you also have an enormous social and economic crisis in terms of inequity.”

Reality check: A healthy dose of scrutiny is always needed for rhetoric-heavy moves like this.

  • In addition to the lack of priority among risk professionals surveyed, it’s also unclear whether political leaders — especially outside of Europe — will have the appetite to prioritize clean-energy and climate-change policies as they seek to recover from the pandemic.
  • This effort also faces heightened scrutiny of the concept of globalism, as nations have literally closed borders and looked inward to handle the pandemic’s wrath.

Go deeper

Newsom addresses DNC from site of California wildfires: "Climate change is real"

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) used his Democratic National Convention address on Thursday to highlight the real-world effects of climate change, speaking just a mile from the site of one of the over 370 wildfires that are currently ravaging his state.

What he's saying: "Well, I confess this is not where I expected to be speaking here tonight," said Newsom, who was originally set to speak at the DNC but remained in California to monitor the fires. "We are just coming off a record heat wave that led to 130 degree temperatures — the highest temperature ever recorded in California."

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Aug 21, 2020 - Energy & Environment

California’s crises show politicization of climate change and energy

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The response from America’s political class to California’s overlapping crises of heatwaves, wildfires and power blackouts shows just how politicized these topics have become.

Driving the news: President Trump and other Republicans say the whole country will face California’s problems if Democrats pass their climate policies. Meanwhile, some Democrats are pushing political messages with the state’s extreme weather.

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conservation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.