WEF report warns of geopolitical tension, climate threat in 2020

Climate change
The leaders cannot address the climate or biodiversity crises without repairing societal divisions and driving sustainable economic growth, says World Economic Forum study.

World leaders, businesses and policy makers must collaborate closely to address threats to environment, climate, public health and technology systems, says the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2020. The new year will see deeper domestic and global divisions and a slowing economy, predicts the report published this week.

Geopolitical turbulence is pushing the world to great power rivalries at a time when there is an urgent need for the leaders and businesses to focus on tackling shared risks. The leaders cannot address the climate or biodiversity crises without repairing societal divisions and driving sustainable economic growth.

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The survey of 750 experts and decision-makers asked the respondents to rank the biggest global concerns. More than three fourths of them saw a rise in economic confrontations and domestic political polarization in 2020. The report says this would be catastrophic, in view of the challenges such as climate crisis, biodiversity loss and record species decline.

The report says the stakeholders must adapt to the power-shift and geopolitical tension while preparing for the future. The top five of the global risks listed by the survey are about environment. These include damage to life, property and infrastructure due to extreme weather events, failure to address climate change, biodiversity loss and a collapse of the ecosystem.

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The state of the planet looks ominous for the younger generations. People born after 1980 ranked environmental risks higher than other respondents. Almost 90% of them see aggravation of extreme heat waves, destruction of ecosystems and health impacted by pollution in 2020.

The top 5 risks identified by the study for the next 10 years are failure of tackle climate change, weapons of mass destruction, biodiversity loss & ecosystem collapse, extreme weather events and water crises.

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