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Climate catastrophe, viruses and terrible poverty: what threats are waiting for humanity in the coming years?
Material posted: Publication date: 13-01-2022
The World Economic Forum has published a study on the risks to humanity for 2022.

Experts of the Swiss non-governmental organization World Economic Forum (WEF) They shared the 17th edition of the annual report, in which they talked about the risks that humanity may face in the near future. The document talks about the main problems of people around the world: from the coronavirus pandemic to an increase in the average temperature on the planet.

From May to September 2021, the WEF interviewed more than 12 thousand representatives from 124 states. They named the existing problems in the world and told what they fear in the future. In addition to surveys and research, the organization annually organizes meetings in Davos, Switzerland — entrepreneurs, politicians and journalists from all over the world come to the event and discuss the most pressing issues concerning all countries of the world. In 2022, the meeting was supposed to take place in January, but due to the spread of the omicron strain, it was postponed to the beginning of summer. The discussion of the report was held in an online format.

WEF experts named the main risks for humanity

Nervous tension in society is associated with the coronavirus pandemic, which has seriously affected the economies of countries, the healthcare system, and may further exacerbate social and geopolitical tensions. The participants of the WEF study assume that the situation will not change in the future. 41.8 percent of respondents suggested that in the next three years the world will be mired in constant instability and will face all sorts of surprises. 10.7 percent of respondents were relatively positive - they believe that in the next three years the world will be able to recover from shocks. The rest noted that in the future humanity will face catastrophes. In the study, the participants also described how they look at the world. More than half of the respondents (61.2 percent) expressed concern about the global situation. 23 percent of respondents are in an anxious mood. 12.1 percent turned out to be positive, 3.7 percent considered themselves optimistic.

The lack of calm regarding the situation in the world is not groundless, but is associated with risks that humanity may face. Based on the data obtained, the WEF has compiled a rating of the most serious problems threatening the world in the next 10 years. The first three lines of the list were taken by the failure in the fight against climate change, extreme weather conditions and loss of biodiversity. Below are threats in the form of social inequality and increasing difficulty in obtaining a minimum income. The risk of infections was in the sixth position, and human damage to the environment and the crisis of natural resources, respectively, were in the seventh and eighth positions. The top 10 were closed by threats in the form of a debt crisis and geo-economic confrontation.

Humanity faces failure in the fight against climate change

A possible failure in the fight against climate change has been recognized by many countries as one of the main threats in the next two years. The problem was raised in Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Canada, Finland, as well as in France, Germany, Hungary, Singapore, Ukraine and the USA. As for Russia, it, along with Kazakhstan, Argentina and the Czech Republic, has not designated global warming as one of the main threats to its population. Scientists warn of irreversible environmental changes and urge to take decisive measures to save the planet. One of the ways to save from a global catastrophe may be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a "clean" industry.

Of particular concern is the increase in the global average temperature. At the climate conference in Glasgow in November 2021, world leaders agreed to restrain the growth rate to 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, if the climate policy remains the same in the future, the indicator will increase significantly and may reach 2.7 degrees Celsius.

Coronavirus has exacerbated the cybersecurity problem

Humanity's dependence on digital technologies has grown in the last 20 years. Most of the processes of life have moved online: from paying for utilities and running a business to daily shopping for groceries and clothes. The coronavirus pandemic has worsened the situation — people around the world began to study and work remotely, which is why their personal data was at risk of getting to third parties. Data leakage costs companies hundreds of millions of dollars and undermines the mental state of users.

In the future, the problem may worsen — people will be more likely to experience anxiety about their personal data. Netizens are already being intimidated, faced with fraud and harassment. More than half of those who faced a leak of their data in 2021 experienced anger. 46 percent of the victims were in a stressful state, 41 percent complained of a vulnerable situation. Others felt helpless and were scared.

The world was overwhelmed by a wave of migration

Most of the world's population is already facing a crisis of obtaining a minimum income — one of the risks threatening the planet in the next decade. In search of better economic conditions, people are forced to change their place of residence. Over the past few years, the number of migrants has increased significantly — in 2010, 221 million people belonged to them, and in 2020, the figure reached 281 million.

Migration flows were slowed down by the coronavirus pandemic, but people continued to move in search of better living conditions when restrictions were partially lifted. Today, climate change is also leading to mass migration, which is actually displacing people from their homes due to natural disasters. If global warming continues, droughts, fires and floods will evict more than 200 million people by 2050.

Space has turned into a competition ground

The position of the space industry has changed over the past decade. Previously, the discoveries were carried out at the expense of public funds, but now the sphere attracts private investment. Space expeditions and achievements in this field help countries maintain their own prestige and demonstrate their power. As a result, there is a risk of militarization of space. By 2030, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States are planning to significantly expand the space infrastructure. Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Iran, Turkey and other countries are going to develop in this area.

Tens of thousands of satellites are planned to be launched into space in the coming years — 70 thousand objects are expected to enter orbit in the next decade. The figures have increased significantly since the 1970s, when the number of objects, including missiles, their hulls and debris, did not reach five thousand. In 2020, the value exceeded 30 thousand. Experts are concerned that an increase in the number of objects could lead to collisions and affect safety in space.

The topic of ecology has been replacing the traditional agenda for several years. The problems of extreme weather conditions, infections, loss of biodiversity, and the crisis in the labor market were identified by the WEF as a threat to humanity back in 2021. In the future, the focus of global concern will shift even more towards the "green" agenda. Experts expect that in 5-10 years social issues will fade into the background, giving way to environmental issues.

Tatiana Volkova

Source:Climate catastrophe, viruses and terrible poverty: what threats are waiting for humanity in the coming years?: Climate and ecology: Habitat: 

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