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WEF: climate change poses one of the biggest risks to our fractured world

Written by Sara Giordano

In the recently published 2018 World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report (full report in pdf here), environmental risks rank higher than average for both likelihood and impact over a 10-year horizon (CNBC,Quartz, 27 Jan): The most pressing environmental challenges are, among others, extreme weather events and temperatures, failures of climate-change mitigation and adaptation, and transition risks (figure 2). The truly systemic challenge remains, however, the interconnectedness among these environmental risks and between them and risks in other categories—such as water crises and involuntary migration. The report points out that trends towards nation-state unilateralism may make it more difficult to sustain the long-term, multilateral responses that are required to tackle global warming.

Figure 2: The Global Risks Landscape 2018

The record-breaking in insured losses in 2017 makes the risk of natural catastrophes one of the top three business risks in 2018 also according to Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty. In a survey of 1,911 risk experts from 80 countries conducted by the insurer (full report in pdf here), business interruption and cyber incidents are the biggest business risks. Climate change and risks associated with increased weather volatility also ranks, for the first time, in the top 10 (WSJ, 18 Jan).

Meanwhile, at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said climate change is one of the three big challenges facing the world, along with terrorism and growing protectionism (Reuters, 23 Jan). “We are not only aware of our responsibilities towards climate change; we are willing to take lead in mitigating its effects”, he affirmed. India has indeed made major commitments and added more than 14 GW to solar energy generation in the past three years (full PM Modi’s speech here).

In Davos, the Business and Sustainable Development Commission has also released a consultation paper ‘Better Finance, Better World’ ( The Guardian, Bloomberg, 23 Jan) (full paper in pdf here) examining blended finance, the opportunities for growth, and the barriers that prevent further mobilization of private capital for the SDGs.

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