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Environmental risks dominate global report

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Geneva – Environmental risks dominate the World Economic Forum’s global risks report 2022 – for both the short and long term.

Climate-change related risks account for three of the top risks by severity in the next 10 years.

The global risks horizon changes over the next two to 10 years, as the cascading impacts of the covid pandemic are felt.

Less than 16 percent of respondents to the global risks perception survey are optimistic or positive about the outlook for the world.

Two years on from the first covid cases, countries are reporting record infections due to the Omicron variant, but the pandemic pales compared to the long-term risks the world faces from climate change.

This is the sobering view of nearly 1000 risk experts and global leaders in business, government and civil society in the forum’s 2022 report.

Climate action failure, extreme weather events, and biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse were considered the top three of the top 10 global risks by severity over the next 10 years in the annual global risks survey.

Societal risks make up a third of the global top 10, with societal cohesion erosion and livelihood crises completing the top five, while infectious diseases come lower down at number six.

Climate action failure is also considered the most critical threat to the world in both the medium and long term, with the highest potential to severely damage societies, economies and the planet.

Most respondents to the survey believe too little is being done with 77 percent saying international efforts to mitigate climate change have not started or are in early development.

The 17th edition of the report also looks at the pandemic’s cascading impacts and identifies tensions that will result from a divergent recovery.

But amid all the bleak predictions, there’s still reason to hope for more positive outcomes, with the global risks report 2022 including lessons in resilience from the pandemic, advice for cooperation in space, greater cyber resilience and a more sequenced climate transition.

The least disruptive climate transition measures will be those that holistically integrate the needs of individuals, societies, businesses and planet, the report says.