Global Risks Report 2018: Extreme weather ranked among top global risks

Each year in January, the World Economic Forum publishes the Global Risks Report ahead of the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The Global Risks Report reflects the perspectives of global experts and decision-makers on the most significant risks facing the world.

This year’s report suggests that experts anticipate another year of heightened risk. From the approximately 1000 respondents of the annual Global Risks Perception Survey, 59% expect an intensified risk, compared to 7% pointing to declining risks.

Environmental risks have grown in prominence over the 13-year history of the Global Risks Report. This trend continues in the 2018 report. All five risks in the environmental category are ranked higher than average in both likelihood and impact over a 10-year horizon.

“Extreme weather events” and “Natural disasters” rank among the top three risks in terms of likelihood and impact. “Failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation” ranks among the top five.

The report follows a year characterized by hurricanes, extreme temperatures and the first rise in CO2 emissions in four years. With the three high-impact storms Harvey, Irma and Maria, 2017 was not only the most intense but also the most expensive hurricane season on record. Last year was also among the three hottest years on record, with local record high temperatures all over the world.

More frequent and intensified extreme weather events pose risks to lives and livelihoods, particularly of the poorest and most vulnerable people. The results of this year’s Global Risks Report illustrate that there is increasing awareness across business, governments and civil society of the urgency of tackling extreme weather risks.

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