Nearly two years after the first cases of Covid-19, countries are reporting record outbreaks due to the Omicron variant, "but the pandemic pales in comparison to the long-term risks the world faces from climate change".
This is the view of nearly 1,000 experts and business leaders, government and civil society as expressed in the Report on the Global Risks 2022 World Economic Forum , published last Tuesday and summarized by the WEF (World Economic Forum).
The report says the Nationally Determined Contributions unveiled at COP 26 fall short of the Paris target of 1.5°C warming. “The current trajectory is projected to put the world on a warming path of 2.4°C, with only the most optimistic scenarios keeping it at 1.8°C.”
Failure to act on climate, extreme weather and biodiversity loss now come first, second and third respectively in a list of the top ten global risks over the next decade, in the annual survey of the perceptions report.
Society risks, including infectious diseases in sixth place, round out the list, followed by 'human environmental damage' and ' natural resource crises' .
"The failure of climate action is also considered the most critical threat to the world both in the medium term - up to five years - and during the decade, with the greatest potential to seriously harm to societies, economies and the planet,” says the WEF summary.
“Most survey respondents think too little is being done: 77% said international efforts to mitigate climate change have not 'started' or are in 'early development'” , he adds.
"The pandemic pales
Compared to long-term risks the world faces due to climate change "
Saadia Zahidi, chief executive of the WEF, said last week: “Widening disparities within and between countries will not only make it more difficult to control Covid-19 and its variants, but will also risk blocking, even to reverse joint action against threats the world cannot afford to ignore. »
Chapter 2 of the report - disorderly Climate Transition - points out that if containments related Covid have resulted in lower emissions of greenhouse gases, "the ascendant trajectory quickly resumed: the emission rate GHG grew faster in 2020 than the average over the past decade.”
The chapter highlights the difficult choice between pursuing carbon-intensive development and its costs on the one hand, and on the other hand moving away from industries that still employ millions of workers and risking economic volatility, rising unemployment and “societal and geopolitical tensions”.
It states that there are "still many unknown risks associated with the deployment of untested biotechnical and geoengineering technologies, while the lack of public support for land use transitions or new pricing systems will create political complications that will further slow action.
“A transition that ignores societal implications will exacerbate inequalities within and between countries. This will aggravate geopolitical tensions. »
The Report on Global Risks 2022, however, added that there are encouraging lessons of resilience to pandemic Covid, and it takes into account advice for cooperation in space, greater cyber-resilience and “a more sequential climate transition”.