Global experts are now more worried about the failure to act on the climate crisis than they are about infectious diseases, as the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow and major protest movements brought the crisis into sharp focus.
Three environmental risks – climate action failure, extreme weather, and biodiversity loss – were more worrying than anything else, according to the World Economic Forum’s annual survey of global risks.
The COVID-19 pandemic knocked worries about climate action off the top of the list in early 2020. Climate change had also been the biggest concern in 2016, just after the Paris Agreement talks.
Matt Williams from climate think tank ECIU said pandemics and the nature and climate crises are connected.
“The more we damage the natural world, the more we are likely to come into contact with new diseases and the more extreme weather will become – and our ability to cope with it and work with nature to soak up emissions will be undercut.