Climate change has become the biggest concern to global experts this year, overtaking the pandemic.
That’s according to the World Economic Forum’s yearly survey of global risks, which put climate action, extreme weather and loss of biodiversity as the top priorities.
It’s no surprise that the climate conversation is hot on everyone’s lips following the COP26 climate summit hosted in Glasgow in November last year. Weapons of mass destruction were the chief worry between 2017 to 2019, with North Korea’s strengthened nuclear programme.
The report reveals that only 1 in 6 experts are optimistic of positive action when it comes to climate change, with only 10% believing the global economic recovery following COVID-19 will accelerate this year.
The pandemic had replaced climate change in 2020 as the main scare for experts but the health of the planet has fought back in the last 12 months.
In its 17th edition, the Global Risks Report was largely completed by European experts, with 44% coming from the continent.
Peter Giger, Chief Risk Officer at the Zurich Insurance Group commented: “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.”
Managing Director at the World Economic Forum, Saadia Zahidi, added: “Global leaders must come together and adopt a coordinated multistakeholder approach to tackle unrelenting global challenges and build resilience ahead of the next crisis.”