2021 Global RIsk Report

The 2021 Global Risk Report released by World Economic Forum (WEF) last month is drawing a lot of attention since for the first time in its fifteen years of publication climate risk is now the most prominent risk both in terms of likelihood and impact. As identified in the survey which is done annually, climate risk is the most impactful risk after infectious diseases and the second most likely long term risk after extreme weather identified in the survey. Climate is also closely related to three of the other five categories of risks i.e. economic, geopolitical and societal (technology is the fifth category of risk).

Climate risk is connected to all of the top 5 global risks in terms of likelihood to occur over the next 10 years:

  1. Extreme weather events (e.g. floods, storms, etc.)
  2. Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation
  3. Major natural disasters (e.g. earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption, geomagnetic storms)
  4. Major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse
  5. Human-made environmental damage and disasters

Climate Risk is also related to 4 of the top 5 global risks (other than ‘weapons of mass destruction’) in terms of those that will have the most impact over the next 10 years;

  1. Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation
  2. Weapons of mass destruction
  3. Major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse
  4. Extreme weather events (e.g. floods, storms, etc.)
  5. Water crises

The report brings to attention that climate risk is the biggest challenge and threat facing governments, corporation, society and in fact humanity at large; failure to respond to climate risk would lead to catastrophic physical damage and severe economic harm.

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