- NL Sena
The 2017 Global Risk Report by the World Economic Forum speaks volumes about the environmental threats the world faces. In terms of the likelihood of global risks, the report finds “Extreme weather events” at the top. Of the top five global risks in terms of impact, four are environmental or related to it such as “Major natural disasters” and “Water crises”.
The report also predicts that water crises additionally put countries at “societal risk” because of its impact on other factors aggravating risks. It mentions that droughts in India, South Africa, and Vietnam led to a decline in farm production and energy generation through hydropower. Depletion of groundwater reserves in India could impact the long-term economic growth and trigger rural to urban migration into already densely-populated cities. Apart from the groundwater reserves, according to a press release on January 20 by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and River Rejuvenation, water levels in 91 major water reservoirs across the country are at just 53 per cent of their total storage capacity.
“Environmental risks are also closely interconnected with other risk categories. Four of the top ten risk interconnections in this year’s GRPS involve environmental risks, the most frequently cited of these being the pairing of “water crises” and “failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation.” the report said.
“The rise of environmental risk is a notable development in the report’s 12-year history. Now, economic risks have been overtaken by the need for action on the environmental side,” Margareta Drzeniek Hanouz, head of competitiveness and risk at the World Economic Forum said.
The report is the collective opinion of 745 members of the World Economic Forum along with its affiliates. The members analyzed the strength and likelihood of 30 risk factors and 13 trends that’d affect the world.