Climate Resilient and
Inclusive Cities Project

Climate Action Failures Top World's Next Decade Risks

The world faces a set of risks that feel both wholly new and eerily familiar. Cost of living dominates global risks in the next two years while climate action failures dominate the next decade.

These findings explored in the latest edition of the World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report that was out yesterday, on 11 January 2023.

The report detailed that next decade will be characterized by environmental and societal crises, driven by underlying geopolitical and economic trends.

“Cost-of-living crisis” is ranked as the most severe global risk over the next two years, peaking in the short term. While "failure to mitigate climate change", "failure of climate-change adaptation" and "natural disasters and extreme weather events" sit at the top three of ten global risks in the next decade.

“Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse” that is viewed as one of the fastest deteriorating global risks over the next decade ranks fourth, and all six environmental risks feature in the top 10 risks over the next 10 years.

Nine risks are featured in the top 10 rankings over both the short and the long term, including “Geoeconomic confrontation” and “Erosion of social cohesion and societal polarisation”, alongside two new entrants to the top rankings: “Widespread cybercrime and cyber insecurity” and “Large-scale involuntary migration”.

John Scott, Head of Sustainability Risk at Zurich Insurance Group, shared his concerns about the lack of progress on climate change highlighted in the report. “This year, the failure of climate change mitigation is one of the most highly rated risks. Even more concerning… it's one of the risks that is least prepared for, with over 70% of respondents to the global risk perception survey, rating mitigation of climate change as ineffective,” he said during press conference of the report's launch.

Scott called for more public/private cooperation on climate mitigation. “Solving climate change is the ultimate team sport. It isn't just coming from one sector. It has to be governments, it has to be business, it has to be the finance sector to work together to really address these complex and systemic issues,” he said

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