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The world’s biggest worries are environmental disasters, not economic collapse

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January 18, 2018 Read full Quartz article here

For the second year running, business and political leaders think the world’s biggest threat is extreme weather, according to the latest Global Risks Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) published today.

In recent years, economic risks such as market collapses, fiscal crises, and systemic financial failures, have dropped down the list of concerns, replaced with fears about the environment. WEF, which runs the annual conference in Davos for global elites, found that three of the five most likely global risks for 2018 were environmental—extreme weather, natural disasters, and failure to mitigate climate change. (The report is based on a survey of almost 1,000 experts in business, government, and civil society, mostly polled in September and October last year.)…

…In 2017, the economic losses from natural and man-made disasters reached $306 billion, almost double the previous year’s cost, according to Swiss Re. The US was hit the hardest, and these figures don’t even capture the full extent of suffering from environmental disasters. By definition, richer countries book higher economic losses (more valuable infrastructure is destroyed) but parts of south and southeast Asia suffered catastrophic floods that led to thousands of deaths, while people in poorer parts of the world are displaced by global warming….

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