Saturday, January 22

Covid has undermined the fight against global warming, says WEF | Coronavirus

The scars left by the covid-19 pandemic have deepened the global gap between rich and poor countries and will make it more difficult to find common cause in the fight against global warming, according to the World Economic Forum.

A WEF report places climate or environment-related threats in the top five on its list of 10 long-term risks, but warned that a “vaccine gap” was making it difficult to collaborate to limit temperature increases. .

In its annual survey of global risks, the WEF, which postponed its annual meeting in Davos until the summer due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, said the mood among its members was pessimistic.

Only 16% of those who responded to the survey said they were optimistic about the world’s prospects, and only 11% believe that the global recovery will accelerate. Most of those surveyed anticipate that the next three years will be marked by volatility and shocks or by a widening of the gap between winners and losers.

Saadia Zahidi, Director General of the World Economic Forum, said: “Economic and health upheavals are exacerbating social divisions. This is creating tensions at a time when collaboration within societies and among the international community will be critical to ensuring a more smooth and rapid global recovery.

“World leaders must come together and take a coordinated multi-stakeholder approach to address relentless global challenges and build resilience before the next crisis.”

Looking 10 years ahead, the WEF report found that inaction on climate change is the biggest global risk, followed by extreme weather, biodiversity loss, natural resource crises, and human environmental damage.

Peter Giger, chief risk officer for the Zurich insurance group, who helped prepare the report, said: “The climate crisis remains the greatest long-term threat facing humanity.

“Lack of action on climate change could reduce world GDP by a sixth and the commitments made in Cop26 are still not enough to reach the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius. It is not too late for governments and businesses to act on the risks they face and drive an innovative, purposeful and inclusive transition that protects economies and people. “

The report said that the economic consequences of the pandemic were adding to already existing pressures, such as widening digital, educational and skills gaps, which ran the risk of dividing the world into different trajectories.

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“In some countries, the rapid launch of vaccines, successful digital transformations and new growth opportunities could mean a return to pre-pandemic trends in the short term and the possibility of a more resilient outlook on a longer horizon.” , He said.

“However, many other countries will be held back by low vaccination rates, ongoing acute stress on health systems, digital divides and stagnant labor markets. These divergences will complicate the international collaboration necessary to address the increasing impacts of climate change, manage migration flows and combat dangerous cyber risks. “

Respondents to the survey said that the two years since the start of the pandemic had led to increased “social risks.” Mental health had deteriorated, livelihoods had been damaged and social cohesion had eroded, they said.

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