ENVIRONMENT: GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE :
Top Economic Risk of 2016 Is Global Warming
Top Economic Risk of 2016 Is Global Warming
The World Economic Forum suggests climate change remains the most severe challenge to global business
By Benjamin Hulac
January 15, 2016
Based on current trends and needs, the demand for water will be 40 percent more than what can be sustained in 2030, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
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Climate change is the most severe global economic risk of 2016, the World Economic Forum said yesterday.
The nonprofit economic analysis institution, set to convene next week in Davos, Switzerland, for its yearly meeting, has labeled climate change or related environmental phenomenaextreme weather, major natural catastrophes, mounting greenhouse gas levels, water scarcity, flooding, storms and cyclonesamong the top five most likely and significant economic threats the world faced in each of its annual reports since 2011.
The 2016 report, the latest installment of a report the WEF has published since 2007, marks the first time an environmental risk tops the rankings.
Climate change is exacerbating more risks than ever before in terms of water crises, food shortages, constrained economic growth, weaker societal cohesion and increased security risks, Cecilia Reyes, the chief risk officer of Zurich Insurance Group Ltd., one of the organizations that worked on the report, said in a statement.
The WEF document does not paint a sanguine picture.
North Americas eastern seaboard, East Asia, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific are particularly exposed to extreme weather patterns and natural catastrophes, according to the reporta survey conducted in the fall of 750 experts, who answered questions about 29 types of global risk, like cyberattacks, government instability and weapons of mass destruction.
Global climate change threatens top producers of wheat, corn, rice and other agricultural commodities, the report notes. Recent years illustrated the climate vulnerability of G-20 [Group of 20] countries such as India, Russia and the United Statesthe breadbasket of the world.
Hot, dry and tense
Climate change is compounding and amplifying other social, economic and humanitarian stresses globally. It is linked to mass and often forced migration; violent conflict between nations and regions; water crises; and, as the world population rises and simultaneously gets hotter, food shortages, the report reads.
Forced displacement is already at an unprecedented level, the authors continue, referring to emigration.
About 70 percent of fresh water humans withdraw globally is for agricultural purposes, according to the WEF, and that figure rises to 90 percent in the worlds poorest countries. Meanwhile, climbing demand for meat, as emerging-market nations become wealthier, squeezes dry already-stressed water supplies across the planet.
A report commissioned by the Group of 7 nations and published in June called climate change a threat multipliera term the Department of Defense often usesand reached comparable conclusions to the WEF study unveiled yesterday.
That study forecast that nearly $48 trillion is needed by 2035 to meeting growing energy demand, noting the water of 80 percent of the worlds citizens is seriously threatened already.
A growing business awareness
The scope of climate impacts is broad and swift, the report says, highlighting massive rains and flooding in Pakistan in 2010 that killed about 2,000 and affected the lives of 20 million.
Following the worldwide financial meltdown of 2008, the people WEF surveyed listed the collapse of investment prices as the most likely and most grave hazards. Yet that trend shifted.
Environmental worries have been at the forefront in recent years, the authors wrote, reflecting a sense that climate change-related risks have moved from hypothetical to certain because insufficient action has been undertaken to address them.
The complete article may be read at the URL above.
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