The next decade isn't looking too hot. Or, it is, but not in a Paris Hilton "that's hot" sort of way.
Over the next decade, some experts say the world is going to experience simultaneous economic, political and ecological challenges, and we might have trouble addressing them all at once. This has been labeled as the "crisis era," which just doesn't sound good at all.
This bleak info comes from a new report by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The WEF surveyed 1,200 private-sector risk managers, public policy-makers, academics and industry leaders from all over the world to see what big risks the world is facing in 2023.
According to these risk specialists, we could have what's known as a "polycrisis" on our hands. A polycrisis happens when different risks come together and snowball to form one massive crisis with amped-up impacts and unpredictable consequences.
The top-ranked risks are largely environment-related – climate change, natural disasters, biodiversity loss, losing natural resources and damage to the environment. Other high-ranking risks include involuntary migrations, societal breakdown, cybercrime and economic hostilities between major trading blocs. Again, these different crises could compound on top of one another to form a monster crisis.
"The interplay between climate change impacts, biodiversity loss, food security and natural resource consumption is a dangerous cocktail," explains John Scott, Head of Sustainability Risk at Zurich Insurance Group, which contributed to the report.
Because governments are preoccupied with dealing with today's challenges, like the cost of living going up, energy and food supply problems and economic hardships, it could be difficult for the world to collectively address the problems that are headed our way.
"The coming years will present tough trade-offs for governments facing competing concerns for society, the environment and security," the report says.
And, as risk management leader at Marsh (another author of the report) Carolina Klint says: "We need to be better at balancing the short-term outlook of risk with the long-term outlook of risk. And we need to make decisions now that might feel counterintuitive because they might be a little bit costly upfront, but it's just unavoidable."