The World Economic Forum points to climate change as the most serious emerging threat to the global economy in its 2016 Global Risks Report.
“The risk with the greatest potential impact in 2016 was found to be a failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation,” the WEF reports. “This is the first time since the report was published in 2006 that an environmental risk has topped the ranking.”
Climate change took top billing in the survey of nearly 750 experts, ahead of weapons of mass destruction, water crises, large-scale involuntary migration, and severe energy price shocks.
“We know climate change is exacerbating other risks such as migration and security, but these are by no means the only interconnections that are rapidly evolving to impact societies, often in unpredictable ways,” said Margareta Drzeniek-Hanouz, the WEF’s head of global competitiveness and risks.
“Mitigation measures against such risks are important, but adaptation is vital.”
The survey identified large-scale involuntary migrations as the most likely risk in 2016, followed by severe weather events and failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
“Such a broad risk landscape is unprecedented in the 11 years the report has been measuring global risks,” Cann writes. “For the first time, four out of five categories—environmental, geopolitical, societal, and economic—feature among the top five most impactful risks. The only category not to feature is technological risk, where the highest ranking risk is cyberattack, in 11th position in both likelihood and impact.” (h/t to Nunatsiaq News for pointing us to this story)