Risk experts see environmental hazards as the greatest threat to us
The World Economic Forum has identified the greatest risks to humanity. Climate and environment play a major role - and the resulting migration.
The greatest danger to humanity comes from the consequences of environmental degradation and climate change. This is the conclusion of the Global Risks Report 2018 presented by the World Economic Forum (WEF) one week before its annual meeting in Davos. For the second time in succession, 1,000 risk experts assess extreme weather phenomena as more dangerous than, for example, cyber attacks or interstate conflicts.
For their assessment, the experts indicated how likely they felt the threat scenario in question was to be and how large its impact would be. Extreme weather conditions are therefore very likely and can potentially cause very large amounts of damage. This is followed by natural disasters and the "failure of mankind"to adapt to climate change and the migration caused by it. A water crisis and the collapse of ecosystems are also seen as serious dangers. Cyber attacks are the only top threat scenario that does not originate from the environment. While the report says that weapons of mass destruction pose a major threat, experts consider their use to be unlikely.
Concerns about economic carelessness
According to the report, the WEF as a whole sees an increasing threat scenario compared to previous years. However, concern about economic risks has eased considerably. But it is precisely this carelessness that worries the experts; in the report they warn of too much "complacency".
"A sustained economic recovery gives us the opportunity to address global challenges such as weakened institutions, societies and environmental degradation. This is an opportunity that we must not frivolously miss,"says Klaus Schwab, President of the WEF.
At the lower end of the "Danger Matrix" are uncontrollable inflation, deflation, black market, a shock in energy prices and the negative consequences of technical progress - all of which, according to experts, are not particularly likely and excessively threatening.
Together with the Global Risks Report, the WEF also presents a list of scenarios that present "potential future shocks" and are intended as a thought-provoking stimulus for politicians worldwide. For example, one should prepare oneself for possible crop failures, species extinction, for example by overfishing. There is also the threat of a "new wave of populism"that could affect social cohesion even in established democracies.