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Environmental Concerns Top Lists of Global Risks for 2019

Environmental concerns top the dual lists for global risks in 2019, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2019 published Jan. 15.

The annual report provides two top 10 lists of pressing issues facing the world in the coming year: one evaluating the likelihood that the issue will occur and one assessing the degree of impact the issue would have if it took place.

Extreme weather events, failure of climate-change mitigation / adaptation, and natural disasters were the top three global risks in terms of likelihood.

This is the third year in a row for extreme weather events to be deemed the highest risk in terms of likelihood, and the first time in which three environmental concerns were designated as the top three likely risks.

Environmental disasters caused by humans and biodiversity loss / ecosystem collapse both made the top 10, making five of the top 10 most likely concerns environment matters.

Weapons of mass destruction was rated the highest global risk in terms of impact.

Yet, WMDs didn’t make the top 10 list of likely risks for 2019, meaning it is a more theoretical high-impact risk compared to the environmental concerns that appeared on both lists.

All five of the environmental concerns in the list of risks likely to happen this year were also featured in the top 10 list of risks based on their impact to the world.

Failure of climate-change mitigation / adaptation, extreme weather events, and natural disasters were in the top five.

“As the impact of environmental risks increases, it will become increasingly difficult to treat those risks as externalities that can be ignored or shipped out,” the report said. “Domestic and coordinated international action will be needed to internalize and mitigate the impact of human activity on natural systems.”

The full report is available here.