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Extreme weather most prominent risk, says WEF

Extreme weather most prominent risk, says WEF

While the World Economic Forum's annual Global Risks Report for 2018 found that weapons of mass destruction were ranked as the most impactful threat, they were ranked as less likely to occur than extreme weather events, food and water crises, large-scale involuntary migration, or ecosystem collapse.

The report presents the results of a recent WEF survey of 1,000 global experts, which finds that 59% expect heightened risks in the year ahead, and just 7% see risks diminishing.

Roughly 80 percent except an increase in the risk of war.

Alongside the pressing dangers of changes to the world's climate and natural systems, risk experts also reported a surge in geopolitical concerns, with 93 per cent saying they expect political or economic confrontations between major powers to worsen and nearly 80 per cent expecting an increase in risk associated with war between global powers.

Themed "Creating a shared future in a fractured world", the 2018 WEF meet will focus on worldwide cooperation on critical shared interests, such as worldwide security, environment, the global economy and divisions within societies.

Attacks against businesses have nearly doubled in five years and incidents once considered extraordinary are becoming commonplace, the forum's new Global Risks Report 2018 warned at its launch today.

Before 2010, environmental risks didn't register in the top five concerns at all. WEF, which runs the annual conference in Davos for global elites, found that three of the five most likely global risks for 2018 were environmental-extreme weather, natural disasters, and failure to mitigate climate change. And two of the most prominent risks for American businesses, specifically, will be inadequate protections against cyberattacks and the potential environmental disasters stemming from climate change.

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Economic risks, on the other hand, featured less prominently this year, leading some experts to worry that the improvement in global GDP growth rates may lead to complacency about persistent structural risks in the global economic and financial systems.

"A widening economic recovery presents us with an opportunity that we can not afford to squander, to tackle the fractures that we have allowed to weaken the world's institutions, societies and environment", Schwab said in a statement. We must take seriously the risk of a global systems breakdown.

"This generation enjoys unprecedented technological, scientific and financial resources", but is "the first generation to take the world to the brink of a systems breakdown", Schwab wrote.

Also, the President of Global Risk and Digital, Marsh, John Drzik said: "Geopolitical friction is contributing to a surge in the scale and sophistication of cyberattacks". Unfortunately, these technology advancements also bring major concerns concerning cyber dependency, cyber risks, and threats. "While cyber risk management is improving, business and government need to invest far more in resilience efforts". Cybercriminals are also taking down infrastructure and trying to disrupt critical industrial sectors, such as the 2015 attack on Ukraine's power grid, the WEF said. However, she believes we're now seeing a "too little, too late" response by governments and business to solving problems such as climate change.

"A global economic recovery is under way, offering new opportunities for progress that should not be squandered: the urgency of facing up to systemic challenges has, if anything, intensified amid proliferating indications of uncertainty, instability and fragility", it said. A global survey released by the World Economic Forum on Wednesday showed that for the second year in a row, the dangers of extreme weather are only second to that of nuclear missiles and other such weaponry.

In a section on cyberattacks, the report said cyber breaches recorded by businesses have almost doubled from 68 per business in 2012 to 130 in 2017.

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