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What are the biggest global risks in 2022?

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  • Environmental risks dominate the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2022 – both short and long term.
  • Risks from climate change are also three of the top risks by severity over the next 10 years.
  • The global risk horizon changes over the next two to ten years, as the cascading effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are felt.
  • Less than 16% of respondents to the Global Risk Perception Survey are “optimistic” or “positive” about the outlook for the world.

Two years after the first cases of COVID-19, countries are reporting record infections from the Omicron variant, but the pandemic pales in comparison to the long-term risks the world faces from climate change.

That’s the sobering view of nearly 1,000 risk experts and global leaders in business, government and civil society in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2022.

Climate action failure, extreme weather events, loss of biodiversity and collapse of ecosystems were ranked as the top three global risks by gravity over the next 10 years in the annual Perception Survey. global risks (GRPS).

In total, half of the top 10 are environmental hazards, with also human environmental damage and natural resource crises.

Image: World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2022

Societal risks make up one-third of the world’s top 10, with erosion of societal cohesion and livelihood crises rounding out the top five, while infectious diseases come in sixth.

Failure of climate action is also considered the most critical threat to the world in the medium term (2 to 5 years) and long term (5 to 10 years), with the highest potential to cause serious harm to people. societies, economies and the planet.

Climate change is an urgent threat requiring decisive action. Communities around the world are already experiencing increased climate impacts, from droughts to floods to rising sea levels. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report continues to rank these environmental threats at the top of the list.

To limit the rise in global temperature to well below 2 ° C and as close as possible to 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels, it is essential that businesses, policymakers and civil society put in place short- and long-term global climate actions in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change.


The World Economic Forum’s Climate Initiative supports scaling up and accelerating global climate action through public and private sector collaboration. The Initiative works on several lines of work to develop and implement inclusive and ambitious solutions.

This includes the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, a global network of business leaders from diverse sectors developing cost-effective solutions for the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. CEOs use their position and influence with policymakers and corporate partners to accelerate the transition and realize the economic benefits of a more secure climate.

Contact us to get involved.


Most survey respondents believe too little is being done: 77% said international efforts to mitigate climate change have “not started” or are at a “early stage of development”.

Global Risk Outlook and Divergence

In fact, pundits and executives weren’t entirely optimistic about the world’s outlook, with less than 16% of GRPS respondents “optimistic” or “positive,” with the vast majority (84.2%) ” concerned ‘or’ worried ‘.

Sense of global outlook

The 17th edition of the report also examines the cascading impacts of the pandemic and identifies the tensions that will result from a divergent recovery.

Image: World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2022

By 2024, the report says, developing economies (excluding China) will have fallen 5.5% below their expected GDP growth before the pandemic, while advanced economies will have exceeded it. 0.9%.

Such a global divergence will impact the world’s ability to address common challenges, including climate change, improving digital security, restoring livelihoods and societal cohesion, and managing competition in the world. ‘space.

“Growing disparities within and between countries will not only make it more difficult to control COVID-19 and its variants, but will also risk blocking, if not reversing, joint action against common threats the world cannot afford. allow ignoring, ”Saadia Zahidi said. , Managing Director of the Forum.

Global risks in the short, medium and long term

Global risk horizon

When will risks become a critical threat to the world?

Image: World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2022

The risk horizon changes over the coming years, as the full implications of the pandemic become clearer.

Over the next two years, risk experts and leaders consider eroding social cohesion, deteriorating mental health, infectious diseases and livelihood crises to equal environmental threats – which are constant. short and long term.

Over the next five years, economic risks of debt crises and geoeconomic confrontations emerge as governments struggle to balance fiscal priorities. While the long term top five is dominated by environmental risks.

But amid all the grim predictions, there is still reason to hope for more positive results, with the Global Risks Report 2022 including lessons in resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic, tips for cooperation in space, greater cyber-resilience and a more sequenced climate transition.

“The least disruptive climate transition measures will be those that holistically integrate the needs of individuals, societies, businesses and the planet. ”