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Global risks in 2022

Climate failure and social crisis top WEF report on this year’s global risks
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Drone view of burning pasture in Brazil on dry season

Climate action failure, extreme weather and biodiversity loss have been listed as the top three global risks by severity over the next 10 years.

According to the Global Risks Report 2022, the top long-term risks relate to climate while the top shorter term global concerns include societal divides, livelihood crises and mental health deterioration.

Additionally, most experts believe a global economic recovery will be volatile and uneven over the next three years.

‘Businesses and policy makers are waking up to the very real risks posed by both climate change and nature loss. They are two sides of the same coin, and their devastating impacts are being felt all around the world.   

‘As they gear up to the biodiversity summit in China, world leaders should put nature at the heart of their national climate plans and commit to halting and reversing the destruction of nature by 2030.  
‘The cost of inaction far outweighs the cost of action and the UK Government must lead by example. Building a greener future now will save money in the long term and provides opportunities for better jobs, improved health and a thriving natural world.’

Chief executive of WWF-UK


Exploring emerging risks

Now in its 17th edition, the report encourages leaders to think outside the quarterly reporting cycle and create policies that manage risks and shape the agenda for the coming years.

It explores four areas of emerging risk – cybersecurity; competition in space; a disorderly climate transition and migration pressures – which each require global coordination for successful management.

‘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. 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.’

Group chief risk officer, Zurich Insurance Group

Resilience and Covid-19

The report closes with reflections on year two of the Covid-19 pandemic, yielding fresh insights on national-level resilience.

The chapter also draws on the World Economic Forum’s communities of risk experts – the Chief Risk Officers Community and Global Future Council on Frontier Risks – to offer practical advice for implementing resilience for organisations.

‘Health and economic disruptions are compounding social cleavages. This is creating tensions at a time when collaboration within societies and among the international community will be fundamental to ensure a more even and rapid global recovery.

‘Global leaders must come together and adopt a coordinated multi-stakeholder approach to tackle unrelenting global challenges and build resilience ahead of the next crisis.’

Managing director, World Economic Forum

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