The top five risks to the global economy in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report, published today, are environmental — a first in the survey’s history.
And with “economic and political polarization” set to increase in 2020, the onus on businesses and governments to step up as climate leaders and assume the shared risk of climate breakdown has never been more urgent.
“Recent environmental disasters fueled by climate change like the fires in the Amazon and Australia and the floods in Indonesia and Venice serve as unfortunate reminders that we cannot afford to wait when it comes to our commitment to slow global warming,” said Sebastian Troëng, executive vice president at Conservation International. “The business world is finally waking up to the impacts of climate change and nature loss."
The Global Risks Report features input from more than 750 global experts and decision-makers and forecasts the major threats that the global economy will face in the next 10 years. This year, the report’s top five global risks are all related to the environment — from extreme weather events to climate change to biodiversity loss.
To avoid massive losses to the world’s supply chains, the report emphasizes the importance of new policies that align the targets for boosting economies with science-based solutions that protect nature — however, only 3 percent of climate investment by the private sector currently supports natural climate solutions.
“If we collectively make an effort to increase [investments in nature], it is possible to hold global warming to a level that will avoid catastrophic climate change for the benefit of people everywhere,” Troëng said.
“If we’re to successfully tackle the most severe environmental risks facing economies and communities around the globe, the time is now to come together and double down on economically smart climate strategies based on nature.”
Cover image: Storm clouds and lightning, South Dakota, United States. (© Roger Hill/500px)