Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Climate Change January 15, 2016 - 10:30 am

Biggest economic threat for 2016? Could be climate change impacts

World Economic Forum releases Global Risks Report ahead of annual gathering in Switzerland

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
A graphic from the World Economic Forum's 2016 Global Risks Report which shows climate change occupying top spot when it comes to potential impact on the global economy. It's the first time climate change has been given that dubious label by the WEF.
A graphic from the World Economic Forum's 2016 Global Risks Report which shows climate change occupying top spot when it comes to potential impact on the global economy. It's the first time climate change has been given that dubious label by the WEF.

If you think plummeting oil prices will have the greatest impact on the global economy this year, guess again.

An international economic watchdog is warning the real threat to the world’s bank accounts this year could be climate change.

In its 2016 Global Risks Report, the World Economic Forum lists the “failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation” as having the greatest potential impact among a group of catastrophic scenarios that includes weapons of mass destruction, water shortages and the fluctuating energy market.

The risk report, based on an annual survey culled from consultations with private and public sector players across the world, is published in advance of the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, each year.

This is the first time climate change has held the “greatest impact” ranking by the non-profit organization, which was founded in 1971.

And while climate change-linked catastrophes threaten to have the greatest impact on the economy, it falls second to “large-scale involuntary migrations” — such as the Syrian refugee crisis — in its actual likelihood of economic impact. (See graphic.)

The year 2015 was a busy one for international crises, the WEF report noted, but so were efforts to resolve them.

The organization credits the recent COP21 United Nations climate change meeting held in Paris last December — and the signing of the Paris Agreement — as steps in the right direction.

But many groups claimed the agreement didn’t go far enough to protect indigenous communities already affected by climate change.

And Nunavut played a role in Canada’s delegation at the conference.

Premier Peter Taptuna and Minister of Environment Johnny Mike traveled to Paris alongside members of the Inuit Circumpolar Council and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami to participate in the conference.

Taptuna said that “climate change disproportionately affects the Arctic and that a global plan is urgently needed” while attending the conference Dec. 6.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a promise to address climate change within Canada, but since being sworn into office in November, Trudeau and his Liberal majority government have yet to offer a concrete policy.

And in December, the Prime Minister promised he would meet with the provinces to address climate changes within the next three months.

Trudeau will be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Jan. 20 to Jan. 23.

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