climate change

Davos 2023: The climate and environmental crisis flagged as among the world’s top risks 

Participants of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023 are seen in a hall at Davos Congress Centre. Photo credit: Reuters / Arnd Wiegmann.

By Anders Lorenzen

A survey carried out ahead of the annual Davos gathering in the lucrative alpine resort in Switzerland, which aims to ‘focus on the state of the world and the challenges ahead’, concluded that our collective failure to tackle climate change alongside environmental degradation ranks amongst the top risks the planet faces in the next decade. 

The survey was carried out by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the hosts of Davos, who added that the cost of living crisis, the energy crisis, food supply issues and heavy national debts make it even more challenging to deal with these crises.

John Scott, Head of Sustainability Risk at Zurich Insurance Group, which partnered on the report with risk strategy group Marsh McLennan said: “The interplay between climate change impacts, biodiversity loss, food security and natural resource consumption is a dangerous cocktail.” 

Polycrisis

1200 private-sector risk managers, public policy-makers, academics and industry leaders across the world responded to the survey.

Risks such as failure to mitigate and adapt to climate change, natural disasters, biodiversity loss, natural resource loss and large-scale environmental damage dominated the top-10 ranking of the global risks deemed most severe over a ten-year period.

The report which had been prepared ahead of the Davos summit comes after a year in which many commitments to act on climate change were been pushed aside due to the energy crunch which followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It hinted there’s no time for complacency as extreme weather events and other environmental pressures continue to accelerate. Last week Moody’s Investors Service estimated that insured losses from natural catastrophes over the course of the last five years had risen to an average of $100 billion a year.

The report warned of a ‘polycrisis’ as all these risks could interact with each other with compounding and unpredictable consequences. 

Davos takes place from the 16th to the 20th of January.

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