Climate change activist and former US Vice President, Al Gore, told participants at the 44th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos today that he believed political momentum was building towards action on climate change, but urged governmental actions and the need to put a price of carbon.

“We’re getting closer to a political tipping point. These extreme weather events, which are now 100 times more common than 50 years ago, are really capturing people’s attention. Even with business leadership we will need governmental actions. We need to put a price on carbon. We need to put a price on denial in politics,” Gore said.

Gore’s comments come in the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change summit in September. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, speaking on the same panel, issued a plea to global leaders to seize the opportunity presented by the summit. “Instruct your negotiators with firm and decisive action. Our objective is to raise political will and to catalyse ambitious and decisive actions on the ground,” he said.

Gore and Ban Ki-moon were speaking on a panel which included William H. (Bill) Gates III, Co-Chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Jim Yong Kim, President of The World Bank; Ngozi Okojo-Iweala, Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance of Nigeria; and Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway.

Responding to a question whether a renewed emphasis on climate change might detract from the agenda to tackle global poverty, Bill Gates said he saw no conflict. “I don’t think it’s necessary that focusing on climate change should take away from the development agenda,” he said.

The World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture initiative, which has mobilised diverse stakeholders to partner and commit more than $5.7 billion towards sustainable agricultural development in 14 countries, is working to increase farmer incomes, food security and environmental sustainability simultaneously.