Triple Crisis blogger Sunita Narain published the following opinion article in Business Standard on the World Economic Forum’s analysis that climate change is the highest-ranking risk the world will face in the coming years.
The fatal disconnect
The World Economic Forum — the gathering of power glitterati each year in Davos — has assessed the top risks the world faces in 2011. According to this analysis, climate change is the highest-ranking risk the world will face in the coming years, when its likelihood and impact are combined. What’s even more important is the interconnections between climate change and the other top risks: economic disparity (ranked three), extreme weather events (ranked five), extreme energy price volatility (ranked six), geopolitical conflict (ranked seven), flooding and water security (nine and ten).
This is not a past or future scenario. This is the present. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says world food prices this January hit a “historic peak”. The food price index, collated by FAO, averaged 231 points in January, which is the highest since 1990, when it started measuring food prices globally. The reasons for the spike are not just the traditional, ranging from greedy speculators to faulty future markets and rising demand. They are newer: extreme weather events, floods and droughts, heat and frost waves. And they suggest a threat even more difficult to contain.