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Responding to environmental risks

Responding to environmental risks

Al Gore, Peter O’Neill and other world leaders spoke about environmental dangers in the WEF annual meeting.

Environmental dangers are a top risk in 2018.

Top 10 risks in likelihood and impact of extreme environmental risks.

As natural disasters caused more than $300 billion in damage in 2017, it has become clear economies must pay closer attention to an unprecedented scenario.

With the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) taking place January 23-26 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, leaders like Al Gore and Peter O’Neill gathered to discuss how communities and countries can better manage these risks and build long-term resilience.

O’Neil, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, spoke out saying people in the African country are already experiencing the harsh changes of climate change while other countries still debate if the problem is real or not.

Just across North Africa, according to Africa360, the 2001 disastrous flood in northern Algeria resulted in about 800 deaths and economic loss of about $400 million. In Mozambique, just the 2000 flood affected almost 2 million people of which about 1 million needed food, 329,000 were displaced and forced to search for a new home.

Banker Philipp M. Hildebrand, Vice Chairman and member of BlackRock’s Global Executive Committee, explains climate change is already upon us and environmental variations will continue to rock communities unless an enormous effort in all sectors is seen as he warns climate change is “too big a problem to delegate to governments alone.”

Over $57 trillion of investments, according to Hildebrand, are at risk if immediate action is not taken to revert the emergency times upon us, however, finance will play a critical role in making the correct transition.

Rethinking general approaches seem to be the correct way to respond to environmental risks, but that may cost, as according to the Finance For Climate Action Report by World Bank Group, in the period to 2030, the global economy will require US$89 trillion in infrastructure investments across.

Key findings for an environmental change

The WEF encounter hosted a debate between Gore, Hildebrand, O’Neil and Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Coordinator, Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad. These were some of the key findings:

  • The panel discussed the matter that Cape Town will run out of water in April if it doesn’t rain.
  • Hildebrand explained there is a sense that Governments have failed to come up with the right answers in general to climate change.
  • Al Gore said that if businesses are not dealing with these issues they are not fulfilling their fiduciary duty.
  • Al Gore continues saying Governments will need to set the frameworks and governance and businesses will need to do more.
  • Ibrahim suggested the world must rethink our approach to agriculture, as chemical pollution is harshly hitting plantation.
  • Ibrahim called out to be positive and continue debates and talks, as conversations give hope, however, hope does not give life, we need action.
  • “The climate isn’t choosing to only affect the poor, but it has a bigger impact on them”, Ibrahim concluded.

Environmental factors dominate the top risks in the Global Risks Report, and although awareness of environmental risks is increasing, corporate leaders need to improve their understanding of what these risks mean for their business, specifically if they are to mitigate them.

Continue to follow up on the WEF 2018 annual meeting here.