Climate change and other health-related issues feature prominently in the World Economic Forum’s new report, Global Risks 2013, which is based on a survey, conducted last September, of over 1,000 experts from industry, government, academia and civil society, who were asked to review 50 global risks.

It is worth reading, particularly if you’ve an interest in inequality (severe income disparity is the global risk that respondents rated most likely to manifest over the next 10 years), antibiotic resistance, the digital revolution, and climate change.

On climate change, it says that a “climate-smart” mindset needs to permeate all levels of decision-making, given that natural disasters are expected to become more frequent and severe and the increased certainty that global temperatures will rise to some extent. It also argues for attention to both mitigation and adaptation measures.

It says:

“Climate-smart” is a term that originated in agriculture, to describe such agriculture that not only increases resilience in light of climate adaptation but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions. A climate-smart mindset incorporates climate change analysis into strategic and operational decision-making. It entails a search for synergies across climate change mitigation- and adaptation-related efforts where possible. Such a mindset needs to become an integral part of our urban planning, water- and food-security management, investment policy, and demographic policy development, among others.”

It says that an understanding of the evidence about cognitive biases helps explain why we may not pay due attention to, or act effectively on, risks that are perceived to be long-term and relatively uncertain.

Much of the report’s material is summarised in conceptual diagrams, some of which are reproduced below.

Global Risks Map 2013
Global risks by likelihood and impact


Possible impact of global warming on different sectors


The spread of antibiotic resistance

• On related themes, see Croakey’s call for leadership from the health sector and concerned citizens on climate change, in the wake of bushfires

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