Climate change disaster is biggest threat to global economy in 2016, say experts
By Paul Homewood
So says the Guardian:
A catastrophe caused by climate change is seen as the biggest potential threat to the global economy in 2016, according to a survey of 750 experts conducted by the World Economic Forum.
The annual assessment of risks conducted by the WEF before its annual meeting in Davos on 20-23 January showed that global warming had catapulted its way to the top of the list of concerns.
A failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation was seen as likely to have a bigger impact than the spread of weapons of mass destruction, water crises, mass involuntary migration and a severe energy price shock – the first time in the 11 years of the Global Risks report that the environment has been in first place.
The report, prepared by the WEF in collaboration with risk specialists Marsh & McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group, comes a month after the deal signed in Paris to reduce carbon emissions. The WEF said evidence was mounting that inter-connections between risks were becoming stronger. It cited links between climate change and involuntary migration or international security, noting that these often had “major and unpredictable impacts”.
Cecilia Reyes, Zurich’s chief risk officer, said: “Climate change is exacerbating more risks than ever before in terms of water crises, food shortages, constrained economic growth, weaker societal cohesion and increased security risks.
“Meanwhile, geopolitical instability is exposing businesses to cancelled projects, revoked licences, interrupted production, damaged assets and restricted movement of funds across borders. These political conflicts are in turn making the challenge of climate change all the more insurmountable – reducing the potential for political cooperation, as well as diverting resource, innovation and time away from climate change resilience and prevention.”
Where do they find these geniuses?
As the much maligned (by me!) Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes today, there may be some problems that are slightly more pressing:
Moral blackmail is creeping into the Brexit debate.
We are told that it would be deeply irresponsible to walk away from the European project at a moment when the EU is struggling for its life, and doubly wicked to do so in the midst of a geostrategic storm that threatens to overwhelm the Western liberal democracies.
It is certainly a dangerous time. An exhausted America has lost the will to police the Middle East, leaving a lethal vacuum and a three-way struggle between Saudi Arabia, Iran and a neo-Ottoman Turkey drifting ever further from the Western camp.
An exhausted America has lost the will to police the Middle East
Four wars are raging across the region, and we are not far from an epic settling of scores between the Sunnis and Shias. The ISIS caliphate still controls Mosul, Iraq’s second city, and jihadi ideology is spreading across southern Asia. Even the Maldives have become an ISIS recruiting ground.
China blows hot and cold. It chose to work hand in glove with the US at the Paris climate summit, but is acting as a predatory imperial power in its own neighbourhood, asserting military control over the reefs and atols of the South China Sea with complete disregard for the competing claims of other states.
Beijing has shrugged off a case lodged by the Philippines at the international tribunal in The Hague, even though it is a signatory to the convention on the law of the seas. This is the litmus test of Xi Jinping’s "China Dream".
A heavily-armed Russia has overturned a recognized border by military invasion, the first time this has happened in Europe since the Second World War. It has violated its solemn pledge in the 1994 Budapest accords to uphold the territory of Ukraine after Kiev agreed to give up its nuclear weapons.
To the extent that Vladimir Putin has been checked, it is in part because he has so far failed to break Europe’s unified front. He admitted to Bild Zeitung this week that Western sanctions are "severely harming Russia", as indeed they are, since the freeze on foreign funding has compounded the crash in oil prices.
A heavily-armed Russia has overturned a recognized border by military invasion
Yet he is still testing the credibility of Nato’s Article 5 on a weekly basis. Nato jets had to scramble 160 times last year to intercept Russian aircraft over the Baltics.
It is a little disturbing that India, Brazil and South Africa – though democracies – have refused to utter a whisper of reproof against Russia for tearing up the rules of global governance. The "BRICS" alliance comes first.
David Cameron did not, of course, know that the world was about to turn nasty when he first set the EU referendum in motion in early 2013, but critics are clearly right that this is a terrible time for Britain to throw a tantrum.
Even so, it is a stretch to argue that Britons should forgo their one chance to restore full parliamentary control over their laws, courts and borders, given that this referendum is surely the only chance they have to issue their verdict on 40 years of EU conduct. Alea iacta est.
The list could, of course, go on and on:
- Debt ridden western governments
- Ageing societies
- Mass unemployment in the Eurozone
- Stagnation in Japan
- Slowdown in emerging economies
- Mass migration to Europe
- Stock market collapse in China
- Development of nuclear weaponry in Iran and N Korea
Yet the great and the good tell us the thing they worry most about is an increase in temperature that is so small it cannot even be measured. Future generations will look back and be astonished how so many supposed experts allowed themselves to be so brainwashed.