The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Risks Report, like other recent analyses of global trends, notes “rising political discontent and disaffection,” but also significant concern for environmental issues. The forum polled 745 leaders, nearly half of whom are from the business community, on the likelihood and impact of various global risks. Participants named weapons of mass destruction the highest impact global risk. But the likelihood of them being used is considered minimal (only unmanageable inflation is considered less likely). A number of environmental-security-related risks, meanwhile, were named among the highest impact and most likely, in extreme weather events, natural disasters, and large-scale involuntary migration. All five environmental risks that the survey asked about rated above average in impact and likelihood. The good news? The risks of failing to adapt to and mitigate climate change and a major water crisis are considered less likely than last year.
Contributions from the Wilson Center originally appear on New Security Beat, the blog of the Environmental Change and Security Program.