Climate Change

Global Risks Report 2022: What does it mean for the environment

The 17th edition of the Global Risks Perception Survey has ranked ‘climate action failure’ as the number one risk, with potentially the most severe impact over the next decade

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 14 January 2022

As the world enters the third year of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the climate crisis remains the biggest long-term threat facing humanity, according to the 2022 Global Risks Report.

The global risk report is an annual report prepared by the World Economic Forum. Some 84 per cent of the 1,000 experts who were surveyed by the makers of this report, stated that they were worried or concerned for the world that they live in.

So, what does the Global Risks Report 2022 mean for our environment? The 17th edition of the Global Risks Perception Survey by the World Economic Forum ranked ‘climate action failure’ as the number one risk, with potentially the most severe impact over the next decade.

The most documented risks associated with climate action failure are physical risks, such as an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather.

In 2020, multiple cities around the world experienced extreme temperatures not seen for years — such as a record high of 42.7°C in Madrid and a 72-year low of -19°C in Dallas.

The Arctic is also believed to be warming twice as fast as the global average with the temperature hitting an all-time high of 38°C in June 2020.

In the light of recent events, extreme weather due to climate change is seen as the second-most serious short-term risk, with biodiversity loss coming in third along with “social cohesion erosion”, “livelihood crises” and “mental health deterioration”.

But how does a pandemic impact climate change discussions? The report says developing economies (except China) will have fallen 5.5 per cent below their pre-pandemic expected gross domestic product growth by 2024, while advanced economies will have surpassed it by 0.9 per cent.

Such global divergence will impact the world’s ability to tackle common challenges including climate change, mitigation and climate equality.

The report also stated that, given the complexities of technological, economic and societal change at this scale, and the insufficient nature of current commitments, it is likely that any transition that achieves the net-zero goal by 2050 will be disorderly.

However, the 2022 report does end on a hopeful note by encouraging governments to think outside the quarterly reporting cycle and to create policies that shape the agenda for the coming years, by including lessons in resilience from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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