Climate change: the No. 1 risk for humanity
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has just published its long-awaited “Global Risk report 2022“. The report is a ranking of the risks that weigh on humanity. Even if the threat of social fracture has increased because of the COVID-19, it is still climate change that represents the greatest threat in the short and long term and this is not really a surprise.
A survey to consider
As was the case last year, the famous World Economic Forum, also called “Davos Forum”, could not be held at the beginning of the year. It is a habit for world’s CEOs, leaders, governments and civil society members to meet in January in the Swiss resort. Although the event will take place at the beginning of the summer due to the pandemic, the WEF has nevertheless published its Global Risks 2022 report.
Every year, more than 1,000 experts, representatives of associations, and politicians answer a questionnaire to rank the risks that threaten humanity. Everyone expected that the COVID crisis would stand out significantly, but the pandemic did not appear at the top of the list.
At first glance, this may seem surprising, but it is reassuring to see that long-term trends are favored, especially when it comes to the environmental impact of our actions.
Environmental risks ahead of social risks
One of the key takeaways of the study is that for the next 10 years, the top 3 ranked global risks are: the failure of climate measures, extreme climatic events and the loss of biodiversity.
In this context, the impact of the pandemic is seen more as a factor that will slow down efforts to tackle climate change or contribute to de-prioritize concrete and short-term measures.
It is interesting to see to what extent extreme climate events appear to be a major concern. There is no doubt that last summer’s tragedies (multiple fires and floods in Europe, droughts, etc.) had an impact on the sample of respondents.
All of these crisis, which are extremely visible, have a revealing effect on opinion. The good news, if we may use this expression in this context, is that these issues contribute to raising awareness and to making people understand that no region of the world is safe from these devastating climatic episodes.
When we focus on the long-term risks (5-10 years), environmental risks are again evoked: the crisis of natural resources and human-induced damage to the environment.
The fact that environmental risks are ranked ahead of social risks is a strong message and demonstrates a collective awareness of these issues.
A relatively pessimistic world
It is not really a surprise, but leaders are particularly pessimistic at the beginning of 2022. Fewer than 16% of those surveyed say they are optimistic or positive about the future outlook. Only 11% think the economic recovery will accelerate. This lack of optimism is obviously problematic, according to Saadia Zahidi, the WEF’s executive director “World leaders must come together and take a coordinated, multi-stakeholder approach to address key global challenges and build a sense of resilience before the next crisis.”
Regarding the fight against climate change, most participants in the study consider that too little has been done: 77% believe that international efforts to combat the effects of climate change have “not yet started” or are in a preliminary stage of “early development”.
When we put all the efforts made at the various COP into perspective, we see that there is still a long way to go to change this perception.
It is never too late to act in order to limit the effects of climate change, which we know has strong consequences on poverty and the social divide at the global level.
As is often the case, the response must come from institutions but also from the private sector, which must be mobilized. In short, the answer must be collective
Let’s leave the final word to Saadia Zahidi: “The least disruptive climate transition measures will be those that holistically integrate the needs of individuals, societies, companies and the planet”.
…and happy new year, anyway 😉