The Critical Role of Green Skills for Net-Zero Amidst the 'Polycrisis': Takeaways from Davos 2023

10 February 2023

This article on key takeaways from the Davos Summit 2023 (The World Economic Forum 53rd Annual Meeting) held in January that brought together political, business, and other influential leaders from around the world to chart a course forward in the face of an unprecedented number of crises that threaten global stability. With green skills set to become a global challenge to reaching climate goals, the decisions we make today to skill young people for the green transition will shape the future of the planet.

The world is facing a “Polycrisis”—a storm of climate change, economic instability, rising food prices, food insecurity, geo-economic fissures, and social unrest. These crises are systemic, interconnected risks that compound and amplify each other such that the resulting global challenge surpasses the individual effects of each crisis. 

“Concurrent shocks, deeply interconnected risks and eroding resilience are giving rise to the risk of polycrises – where disparate crises interact such that the overall impact far exceeds the sum of each part,” state the authors of WEF’s Global Risks Report 2023. “Compounding crises are widening their impact across societies, hitting the livelihoods of a far broader section of the population, and destabilizing more economies in the world.  

More than half of the top global risks that make up the polycrisis according to WEF are climate-change related—a long-term global risk the world remains least prepared for, and which reflects the narrowing window to limit global warming to 1.5°C. 

Appropriately, a central theme of the discussions in Davos was climate change and its related issues, including decarbonization, curbing emissionsclimate litigationenergy security and clean energyclimate mobilizationAI for climate adaptation, and achieving an equitable green transition.