World Economic Forum Flags Climate Crisis

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Climate Change: This Year's Global Risks Landscape
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This year’s risks landscape is green. From economic to environmental, climate concerns now dominates the top-five longterm risks facing the world today and worrying the global elite over the next decade, the World Economic Forum said in its Global Risks Report. Economic risks, however, have disappeared from the top ten risks.

For the first time in the history of the survey’s 10-year outlook, environmental threats dominate the top five long term risks by likelihood and occupy three of the top five spots by impact, the report said.

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The report provides a rich perspective on the major threats that may impact global prosperity in 2020 and over the next decade and draws on feedback from nearly 800 global experts and decision-makers who were asked to rank their concerns in terms of likelihood and impact.

The report forecasts a year of increased domestic and international divisions with the added risk of economic slowdown. 78% of survey respondents said they expect “economic confrontations” and “domestic political polarization” to rise in 2020. Global experts also see the risk of “extreme heatwaves”, “destruction of natural ecosystems” and “health impacted by pollution” increasing, as well as a rise in cyber-attacks targeting operations and infrastructure and data/money theft.

The report said the top five global risks in terms of likelihood and severity of impact in the next 10 years were:

  • Extreme weather events with major damage to property, infrastructure and loss of human life.
  • Failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation by governments and businesses.
  • Human-made environmental damage and disasters, including environmental crime, such as oil spills and radioactive contamination.
  • Major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse with irreversible consequences for the environment, resulting in severely depleted resources for humankind as well as industries.
  • Major natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and geomagnetic storms.