|Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual introduction.
Body. Discuss five key global risks as mentioned in The ‘Future of Earth, 2020’ report.
Conclusion. Way forward.
The Future of Earth, 2020 report has listed five global risks that have the potential to impact and amplify one another in ways that may cascade to create global systemic crisis. The survey identifies— climate change, extreme weather, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, food crises, and water crises, as the most severe in terms of impact as five global risks.
The ‘Future of Earth, 2020’ report’s five key global risks:
- Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation: Report aptly highlighted that humanity’s response to this crisis, including the 2015 Paris Agreement, has not been sufficient to halt climate change. Despite declarations of a climate crisis or climate emergency by the leaders of more than 700 cities, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during 2019 reached more than 415 ppm.
- Extreme weather: Forest fires, floods, droughts, cyclones has become a new normal. The five years from 2014 to 2018 were the warmest recorded over land and ocean since 1880. Across Europe and India, unprecedented heatwaves brought temperatures higher than a scorching 45°C.
- Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse: Climate change and global warming is destroying habitat, rapidly and dramatically shifting ecosystems. In 2018, the world’s last male northern white rhino died in his Kenyan enclosure, while the Brazilian blue parrot was declared extinct in the wild.
- Food crises: Extreme weather events such as heat waves or droughts impact crop production. For example, after the 2012 heatwave in the United States, maize yields dropped by 13%. Changing rainfall patterns predicted by many climate change scenarios are expected to make food crises more frequent and more severe.
- Water crises: Climatic Conditions are driving water shortages and power outages. Water tables are declining due to overuse especially for agriculture and the population exposed to heat and water stress is 50% higher than ever.
Interrelation between different Global Risks:
- Acceleration of global warming: Extreme heat waves can accelerate global warming by releasing large amounts of stored carbon from affected ecosystems, and at the same time intensify water crises and/ or food scarcity.
- Increased Vulnerability: The loss of biodiversity weakens the capacity of natural and agricultural systems to cope with climate extremes, thus increasing vulnerability to food crises.
- Further strain: Strains on food production are expected to increase, as a result of various forces including climate change, biodiversity loss, and a global population on the rise.
The Future of Earth, 2020 report highlights important global risks. It highlights the urgency to collaborate and coordinate globally to fight climate change and associated risks. Merely setting climate targets would not help.