Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Global Risks Report 2013: Interconnectedness of the Economy and the Environment

The World Economic Forum (WEF) released the eighth edition of its Global Risks Report 2013 which ranks climate change from rising greenhouse gas emissions as a major global threats. Also high on the list is the failure of governments and businesses to mitigate or adapt to climate change. The 2013 report indicates that ongoing economic weakness detracts from our ability to tackle environmental challenges.

The WEF works with governments to develop mechanisms for managing risk. The report rates the top global risks based on a survey of over 1000 experts from industry, government and academia. The 2013 report sampled respondents from more than 100 countries, although the majority came from Europe and North America. A total of 40 percent of respondents came from a business background.

One of the major findings of the report is the fact that risks are interconnected including the strong relationship between the environment and the economy.

At the report’s launch, John Drzik, the CEO of the risk and insurance services group Oliver Wyman, said, “We see two big risks coming together, one is an environmental storm and the other is an economic storm, and we see them on a collision course.” Climate change poses a very significant cost to governments. As Drzik pointed out governments are having to step in to help those impacted by extreme weather events. However, economic difficulties put constraints on government response. However, the failure to mitigate and adapt to climate change will incur much greater costs.

Although the report does not present solutions, it does provide valuable insight into important issues that will be addressed at its annual meeting in Davos at the end of January and for wider debate.

To review the report click here.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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