The World Economic Forum listed extreme weather events and the threat of cyberattacks as top safety and security concerns for 2018 in its annual Global Risks Report, released to the public on Jan. 16.
The report—which every January shares the perspectives of global experts and decision-makers on the most significant risks that face the world—cautions that the world is struggling to keep up with the accelerating pace of change. It highlights areas where the general population is pushing systems to the brink, from extinction-level rates of biodiversity loss to mounting concerns about the possibility of new wars.
On a more positive note the World Economic Forum said that “the prospect of strong economic growth in 2018 presents leaders with a golden opportunity to address signs of severe weakness in many of the complex systems that underpin our world, such as societies, economies, international relations and the environment.”
The World Economic Forum uses its Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS) to compile information and statistics for the report. Nearly 1,000 respondents were asked for their views about the trajectory of risks in 2018, with 59% of answers pointing to an intensification of risks and 7% pointing to a decline.
According to the new report, a deteriorating geopolitical landscape is partly to blame for the pessimistic outlook in 2018, with 93% of respondents saying they expect political or economic confrontations between major powers to worsen and nearly 80% expecting an increase in war-related risks involving major powers.
However, as in 2017, the environment was by far the greatest concern raised by experts. Among the 30 global risks the experts were asked to prioritize in terms of likelihood and impact, all five environmental risks—extreme weather; biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse; major natural disasters; man-made environmental disasters; and failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation—were ranked highly on both dimensions.
Extreme weather events were seen as the single most prominent risk at this time.
Click here to view a PDF version of The Global Risks Report 2018 in its entirety.