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Environmental concerns dominate World Economic Forum's list of long-term risks

Environmental concerns dominate the list of the foremost long-term risks to world economy in the next 10 years, the World Economic Forum said in its "Global Risks Report," which also included projections for a rise in domestic political polarization and economic confrontations in 2020.

The latest 10-year outlook marked the first instance of the top five most likely global risks all being environmental. The risks identified in the report are extreme weather, climate action failure, natural disasters, biodiversity loss and human-made environmental disasters.

The report comes at a time of increasing focus on climate change amid ravaging wildfires in Australia causing multiple deaths and loss of habitat.

Economic confrontations between major powers and domestic political polarization, with respective probabilities of 78.5% and 78.4%, led the list of risks expected to increase in 2020.

The report warned that geopolitical tensions and protectionist measures threaten the world's ability to deal with "shared, critical" global risks.

It called on world leaders to take a "multistakeholder" strategy to issues related to the environment, public health and technology, among others.

"This is the year when world leaders must work with all sectors of society to repair and reinvigorate our systems of cooperation, not just for short-term benefit but for tackling our deep-rooted risks," said World Economic Forum President Borge Brende.

For the report, more than 750 global experts and decision-makers evaluated the probability of various global risks over the decade ahead, as well as the extent of the effect they would have if they were to materialize.

In October 2019, a report by the forum showed that cyberattacks were the chief concern for businesses in Europe and North America, while environment-related risks topped the list in South Asia and East Asia.