Economy, environment seen as key global risks – WEF

08 January 2013 14:57  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Economic turmoil and natural disasters are seen as the key risks facing global development over the next 10 years, according to a World Economic Forum report released on Tuesday.

The Geneva, Switzerland based non-profit organisation surveyed around 1,000 professionals internationally about what they perceive to be the greatest threats to global development over the next decade.

Severe income disparity was the most commonly-identified threat, followed by unsustainable government debt and climate change.

Speaking at the launch of the report in London, John Drzik, CEO of consultancy Oliver Wyman Group, claimed that natural disasters are becoming more frequent at a time when governments are struggling to find the money to deal with them.

He said: “We see two big risks – an environmental storm and an economic storm. We see them on a collision course. Extreme weather events are increasing due to climate change and losses are rising significantly from those. This is intersecting with the economic storm, because an increasing burden of disaster relief is being borne by the government, which is creating rising expectations in the public for governments to step in and provide relief in disasters.

"The government has less capacity now to respond, due to rising debt levels. There is less capacity and less ability to respond,” he added.

Extreme weather such as Hurricane Sandy on the US east coast last December can affect the ability of petrochemical companies to continue manufacturing products in those regions, as well as threatening supply lines.

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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