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FINDING HOPE—By Ådne Sandvik Dyrnesli

Or how a bunch of rich men in private jets makes ecologist Vigdis Vandvik optimistic about the future of the climate crisis.

Cover image (detail) of The Global Risk Report 2020, World Economic Forum.


– Did I show you that graph from World Economic Forum? Vandvik asks me.


I’m in the office of community ecologist Vigdis Vandvik, centre director of BioCEED at the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Bergen, interviewing her for an earlier blogpost.


– No, I don’t think so, I reply.


Outside it’s a cloudy autumn day. I’ve just asked her about what makes her optimistic, if anything, about the climate crisis.


– I have to show it to you afterwards, or do you want to see it now?


– Sure, we can look at it now.


– It gives me an enormous amount of hope.


Vandvik slides her chair over to her computer, the screen turns on to show a research paper in progress. With quick clicks she starts looking for an old presentation.


– World Economic Forum are all these rich guys who fly to Devos in their private jets to talk about the world economy.


She’s looking for it while she talks, slightly distracted, taking brief pauses.


– I often use this image in my presentations, when I talk to students.


A colorful image appears on the screen.


– This is it!

– So these rich guys get together in Davos, and talk about what’s the biggest threats to the world economy. In 2007 some of the problems were infrastructure, chronic diseases and China hard landing. In 2011 there was a small awakening, with a lot of problems related to the climate. A big report from IPCC was published around that time. You can see that climate change appears on both Likelihood and Impact in 2011.


Vandvik points to the where the first green fields appear in the graph, before she continues.


– I was a bit shocked by this, but thought that it was only a flicker, and as you can see the next few years there’s not that much. But after a while, you can see it changing. It’s greener and greener. And look at 2020! It’s almost all green.


– Weapons of mass destruction is the only thing not related to the climate crisis.

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