The WEF on what the next decade could look like: climate-action failure, biodiversity loss and more

Energy & Climate Change, Natural Environment

It’s hard to hold on to hope when there seem to be never-ending portents of doom surrounding the future of our planet as know it.

And the World Economics Forum’s Global Risks Report 2022 is no exception to the above.

The 17th edition of the report surveys nearly 1,000 global experts and leaders on what they predict will most impact global economic recovery in the coming years and reveals ‘a disorderly climate transition’ as one of the top four areas of emerging risk.

Breaking this down further the report identifies the top 10 biggest risks by severity across the globe over the next decade – and many are set to have a devastating impact on our environment should they fail to be mitigated.

Taking spots 1-3 in the ranking are climate-action failure, extreme weather, and biodiversity loss, while further down the list lie human environmental damage (7th) and natural-resource crisis (8th).

Elsewhere geoeconomic confrontation (10th) – there are no clear separating lines between geopolitics from environmental policy after all – and social cohesion erosion (4th) both of which could have the potential to impact buy-in for climate action measures.

Commenting Zurich Insurance Group chief risk officer said: “The climate crisis remains the biggest long-term threat facing humanity. Failure to act on climate change could shrink global GDP by one-sixth and the commitments taken at COP26 are still not enough to achieve the 1.5 C goal.”

Offering a ray of hope he continued: “It is not too late for governments and businesses to act on the risks they face and to drive an innovative, determined and inclusive transition that protects economies and people.”

How can we do the above when the report also states that just one in six of those questioned are optimistic and only one in 10 believe the global recovery will accelerate?

The WEF’s answer? Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration. It concludes by saying that ‘to resolve these systemic issues, global leaders must adopt a coordinated multistakeholder response, even as room for cooperation narrows’.

Food for thought for high-level conferences in 2022 including COP15, Stockholm+50 and COP27.

Keen to continue the conversation? Why not join consider joining CIWEM’s climate-change network?

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