The latest Global Risks Report was released this week by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The 17th edition of the annual report is overwhelmingly concerned with climate-related risks. The WEF identifies the potential threats of these to be greater than the threats linked to another financial crisis. This highlights how the negative effects of climate change are already being felt on humans and economies with increasing droughts, fires, floods, resource scarcity and species loss, among other impacts. Without action, the severity of these environmental impacts are set to increase.
The WEF Global Risks Report series tracks global risk perceptions among experts and world leaders. Based on the results of the latest Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS), it analyses risks across five categories: economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal, and technological.
Over the next five years, respondents highlighted societal and environmental risks as the most concerning. Respondents also identified societal risks, including ‘social cohesion erosion’, ‘livelihood crises’, and‘mental health deterioration’, as those risks that have worsened the most since the beginning of the pandemic. Infectious diseases are also seen to pose a big risk globally.
However, over a ten-year trajectory, environmental concerns dominated, with environmental risks making up the top five. The top three risks were identified as ‘climate action failure’, ‘extreme weather’, and ‘biodiversity loss’.
Respondents to the GRPS ranked ‘climate action failure’ as the number one long-term threat and the risk with potentially the most severeimpacts over the next decade. The WEF report highlights how the effects of climate change are already being felt with droughts, fires, floods, resource scarcity and species loss, increasing, among other impacts. The report outlines the difficulties facing a shift away from carbon intense industries and the risks of failing to account for societal implications and geopolitical frictions in the transition.