Climate risks, data theft top fears for Davos

  • Forum’s report shows climate change has become the dominant concern for three years running
- Agence France-Presse, LONDON

Jan 17, 2019-

The risks of catastrophic weather and flooding from climate change are exercising business leaders heading into next week’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, the organisation said on Wednesday.

An annual WEF report—based on a survey of about 1,000 respondents drawn from the Davos community of business leaders, politicians, civil society and academics—shows climate change has become the dominant concern for three years running.

Data theft and cyberattacks have joined climate change in the top tier of worries, but respondents also highlighted anxiety about worsening international relations and the risk that poses for the world economy.

Just under 90 percent of people in the survey, conducted over September and October, expected international trading rules and agreements to weaken further, as President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda undermines the architecture on which global trade has been built. “With global trade and economic growth at risk in 2019, there is a more urgent need than ever to renew the architecture of international cooperation,” Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum, said in a press release accompanying the 114-page report. “We simply do not have the gunpowder to deal with the kind of slowdown that current dynamics might lead us towards. What we need now is coordinated, concerted action to sustain growth and to tackle the grave threats facing our world today,” he said.

The growing risk of Britain crashing out of the European Union without a Brexit deal in late March is also worrying global institutions and will figure at the meetings next week in the Swiss Alps, with a number of British and EU officials attending.

Fully 90 percent of the respondents expected “further economic confrontation between major powers in 2019”, although the survey was conducted before Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed last month to try to negotiate a peace pact on their tariffs war.

Trump has also withdrawn from the Paris accord on climate change. While other countries agreed at UN talks last month on a common action plan, the most vulnerable states along with environmentalists warned the pact lacked the ambition needed to restrict carbon emissions.

Published: 17-01-2019 11:20

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