The most immediate risk hanging over humanity in the next ten years is the extreme events caused by the climate crisis. And the risk of greater impact hanging over humanity in 2020 is the failure to act against the climate crisis. The message was given by a thousand political, business, academic and youth leaders from around the world, in the latest edition of the report that set the tone for the World Economic Forum, which took place in January in Davos, Switzerland.
For the first time since the Global Risk Report began to be published in 2007, environmental factors dominate the list of major risks to stability and the global economy. Of the top five most likely risks, four are directly related to the climate crisis, and one – the loss of biodiversity – is exacerbated by it. Of the five risks with the greatest potential impact, only one (the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction) is unrelated to the climate.
According to the Global Risk Report, the world in 2020 is “uneasy”, with the geopolitical uncertainty caused by the estrangement between the USA and China setting the tone for relations between countries. As the world holds its breath, the fundamentals of the economic system are beginning to sink and the world is witnessing low growth rates, like the meager 3% expected by the IMF in 2019.
“Climate change is hitting the world harder and faster than expected,” says the report. “The short-term consequences make up a planetary emergency. The implications are catastrophic, wide-ranging and cross-cutting. Worse still, the complexity of the climate system means that some impacts are still unknown. ”