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Economic and climate crises raise global opportunity, as well as risks

Date
08 January 2013
Economic and climate crises raise global opportunity, as well as risks

LONDON: A weak global economy is hindering our efforts to tackle climate challenges, according to the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risks 2013 report which was published today – but these risks also present global opportunities for a more prosperous future.

Based on a survey of over 1000 industry, government and academia experts, the Global Risks Report 2013 studies 50 global risks in terms of impact, likelihood and interconnections. It includes breakdowns for China, the Middle East and Latin America.

Continuously rising greenhouse gas emissions follow widening income inequality and government debt as the third most likely global risk, according to the respondents’ ranking.

Lee Howell, Editor of the report and Managing Director at the World Economic Forum, said: “These global risks are essentially a health warning regarding our most critical systems.”

The report makes it clear that if we do not assign resources to tackle climate change now, economic prosperity for current and future generations around the world is at risk.

Axel P. Lehmann, Chief Risk Officer at Zurich Insurance Group, commented: “With the growing cost of events like Superstorm Sandy, huge threats to island nations and coastal communities, and no resolution to greenhouse gas emissions, the writing is on the wall. It is time to act.”

David Cole, Group Chief Risk Officer, Swiss Re, which is a member of The Climate Group, said: “Coping with the economic and climate-change crises is unfortunately no longer seen as a continuum, but as opposing choices. The idea has gained ground that we can't have solutions to both. But we need to go beyond this thinking-in-boxes approach. So because smart risk management is about taking a holistic stance on situations, we should do the same when it comes to the economic and climate-change challenges we're facing.”

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, states the clean revolution as a global solution to managing these risks. He said: “In the same way risks are interdependent, so too are opportunities. The clean revolution looks to harness this interdependence by recognizing that without a stable climate and without efficient resource-use, there can be no growth and no prosperity.

“It is therefore essential that a clean revolution happens at local, national and international levels – and that synergies between them are maximized.”

The report findings will be the focus of the “Resilient Dynamism” sessions at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2013 which takes place in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland on January 23-27. The Climate Group will be at WEF again this year, providing tweets and news stories from next week.

Read the Global Risks 2013 report.

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By Clare Saxon

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