• Switzerland edition
 
Green and economic issues pose risks: WEF
World Economic Forum protester building snowman in Davos last year. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Green and economic issues pose risks: WEF

Published: 08 Jan 2013 12:03 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Jan 2013 12:03 GMT+01:00

"The world is more at risk as persistent economic weakness saps our ability to tackle environmental challenges," warned the WEF, which each year hosts a
massive get-together of decision makers and activists at the Swiss mountain resort in Davos.
 
In its Global Risks 2013 report, based on a survey of more than 1,000 experts from industry, government, academia and civil society, WEF pointed out
that crises and austerity measures were severely testing the global economic system.

At the same time, it said, the world faced rising global temperatures and more extreme weather like catastrophic flooding in China and Hurricane
Sandy, which slammed into the East Coast of the United States in late October.

The acute social and economic difficulties are making the world more reluctant to address more long-term threats like climate change, while natural disasters wreak serious havoc on many economies, the report cautioned.

"Two storms — environmental and economic — are on a collision course," warned John Drzik, the head of Oliver Wyman Group and one of the experts surveyed for the report.

The experts, who were asked to rate 50 global risks, suggested the risk of growing wealth gaps was the most likely to materialize, followed by unsustainable government debt and rising greenhouse gas emissions.

They deemed, however, that major systemic financial failure would have the biggest impact if it happened, followed by a major water supply crisis and chronic fiscal imbalances.

The list of global risks "are essentially a health warning regarding our most critical systems," said WEF managing director Lee Howell, who edited the
report.

"National resilience to global risks needs to be a priority so that critical systems continue to function despite a major disturbance, he added in the statement.

In addition to the economic and environmental risks, the WEF report also identified so-called "digital wildfires" as a top risk category.
 
"While in many ways a force for good, the democratization of information can also have volatile and unpredictable consequences," it cautioned.

One example, it said, was the September riots provoked by the crudely made anti-Islam film "The Innocence of Muslims."

"As the media's traditional role as gatekeeper is eroded," the world needs to find ways to put out such blazes, WEF said.

The third and final risk category in the 2013 report was linked to what the WEF described as dangerous complacency towards health concerns like rising
resistance to antibiotics.

The risks highlighted in the report will be the focus of a special session at the WEF's annual meeting in Davos at the end of January.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Richemont shares drop on sluggish sales figures
Photo: Richemont

Richemont shares drop on sluggish sales figures

Shares in Geneva-based Richemont, number two in the luxury products world after LVMH, fell on Wednesday after the group reported falling sales in Asia. READ  

Health officials warn of vegan dangers for kids
Photo: AFP

Health officials warn of vegan dangers for kids

As veganism gains popularity in Switzerland, federal authorities are warning that a diet without animal products carries health risks for young children. READ  

Billion dollars needed to fight Ebola epidemic: UN
Photo: Malcolm Curtis/The Local

Billion dollars needed to fight Ebola epidemic: UN

Nearly one billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations said in Geneva on Tuesday, while Washington pledged 3,000 troops to try to "turn the tide" of the epidemic. READ  

Thieves steal 1.3 tonnes of infected cheese
Photo: Liechtenstein Tourism

Thieves steal 1.3 tonnes of infected cheese

Investigators in Liechtenstein are probing the theft of 1.3 tonnes of cheese that was set to be destroyed because it contained dangerous bacteria, according to a report from the Swiss news agency ATS. READ  

Real Madrid thrash Basel in Champions Cup game
Basel's Japanese forward Yoichiro Kakitani vies with Real Madris defender Nacho in Tuesday's game. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

Real Madrid thrash Basel in Champions Cup game

FC Basel’s hopes of toppling Real Madrid were dashed on Tuesday night when the Spanish team thrashed the Swiss football club 5-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. READ  

Senior and policeman injured after roof falls
Home in Ganterschwil, Saint Gallen, where roofs tend to be steeply pitched. Photo: Dietrich Michael Weidmann

Senior and policeman injured after roof falls

The roof of a house in a Saint Gallen village that proved to be too slippery for a 68-year-old man who suffered serious injuries after falling to the ground on Tuesday, was also more than a match for a policeman who scaled the building to take photos. READ  

ETH Zurich remains top uni in Europe: QS list
Building at ETH Zurich. Photo: Roland Fischer/Wikimedia Commons

ETH Zurich remains top uni in Europe: QS list

Switzerland’s two federal institutes of technology, ETH Zurich and EPFL, rate among the world’s top 20 universities in the latest QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) rankings for 2014, published on Tuesday. READ  

Swiss housing vacancy rate rises: new figures
Photo: Theo Iff/Federal Housing Office

Swiss housing vacancy rate rises: new figures

Almost 46,000 homes in Switzerland are empty, a 14 percent increase over last year, as the national vacancy rate rose to more than one percent (1.08 percent), new government figures show. READ  

Football club fires masseuse over sex video
FC Lenzburg team: "We could not fire half the team." Photo: FC Lenzburg

Football club fires masseuse over sex video

The masseuse for the Lenzburg football club, a second division team from the canton of Aargau, was fired following a sex scandal, a newspaper reported on Monday. READ  

Swiss teen Bencic scores upset Tokyo win
Bencic showing winning form in Tokyo. Photo: Toru Yamanaka/AFP

Swiss teen Bencic scores upset Tokyo win

Rising Swiss star Belinda Bencic upset two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-0 in the first round of the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament in Tokyo Monday, maintaining recent impressive form. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Swiss football club fires team masseuse over explicit sex video
National
Geneva police arrest easyJet passenger over hand luggage row
Business & Money
Latest forecasts for Swiss economic growth turn less bullish
Sport
Formula One legend Schumacher to continue treatment at Swiss home
National
Former federal planning official calls for nine Swiss cantons
Features
The Local gets the lowdown on mushroom picking in Switzerland
National
Virgin boss Richard Branson's son rescued from peak of Matterhorn
National
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter's commute turns Twitter sensation
Features
High-tech cameras give dizzy view of Eiger's north face (VIDEO)
Politics
Baden municipal council strips 'nude selfies mayor' of duties
Business & Money
Switzerland stays atop competitiveness table for sixth year
National
Federal parliament secretary agrees to step down over nude selfies
Sponsored Article
Car insurance made easy online with St Bernard
National
Swiss residents pick Swedes as ideal European soul mates: survey
National
Zurich officials call project to move prostitutes to 'sex boxes' a success
National
Swiss gays recognized as parents of child born to surrogate mother
Health
Increase in mountain bike accidents keeps Swiss hospitals busy
National
Swiss policeman belatedly honoured for saving Jews from Holocaust
National
'Suicide tourists' to Switzerland double in three years: study
National
Swiss Post SMS scheme gets stamp of approval after pilot project
Business & Money
American tax evasion crackdown hits Swiss private banks' bottom line
Politics
Woman accuses Swiss politician in nude selfies scandal of lying
National
Villagers in Graubünden valley reject hydro plant to protect vultures
Business & Money
Court rules against appellation for absinthe from Neuchâtel valley
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,077
jobs available