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Failure to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change Is No. 1 Risk of the Decade

“‘Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation’ is the No. 1 risk by impact and No. 2 risk by likelihood over the next 10 years,” according to the 2020 Global Risks Report from the World Economic Forum, which was produced with support from Marsh & McLennan and other partners. The graphic shows climate and environmental events as highly likely to occur — and with significant impact. This is the first time environmental risks have dominated the concerns of industry stakeholders, the report says.  

Global temperature increases are on track to rise by 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, the report adds — “twice what climate experts have warned is the limit to avoid the most severe economic, social and environmental consequences.” A “planetary emergency” is cited as a near-term consequence, and includes “loss of life, social and geopolitical tensions and negative economic impacts.”

Biodiversity loss is the second most impactful and third most likely risk scenario of the next decade. “The current rate of extinction is tens to hundreds of times higher than the average over the past 10 million years,” the report says, which could lead to the “collapse of food and health systems” and “the disruption of entire supply chains.”

China Is the Only Major Economy Expected to Have GDP in Positive Territory in 2020

Source: Euler Hermes, “Coping With COVID-19 in Differing Ways”

China is tracking toward 1.5% growth in GDP for 2020 (2019: 6.1%) — despite the global disruption coronavirus has inflicted on its economy. It is the only major economy expected to maintain a positive GDP this year, according to research by Euler Hermes.

China’s GDP growth is expected to reach 7.6% in 2021, the highest growth rate among the major economies. The U.K., whose lockdown mandates have been longer and more severe than many other countries, shows a significant drop in GDP for the year — 13.3%, but it is expected to rebound with GDP at rates ahead of Germany and the United States. 

The report warns of “false restarts” if second waves crop up and notes that a return to pre-crisis GDP levels should be seen in China and the U.S. by the end of 2021. Due to the extent of the crisis in Europe and the “more limited stimulus response,” Europe isn’t expected to reach its pre-crisis levels until 2022-2023.

New Model Shows Many More US Homes Face Large Risk of Flooding

Source: First Street Foundation

Nearly 70% more properties in the United States are at risk of flooding than official government estimates suggest. A new model by First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research and technology firm, shows that a total of 14.6 million properties across the country are at substantial risk — 5.9 million of these properties are unaware of, or underestimating, the risk. FEMA only classifies 8.7 million properties with substantial flood risk.

The model predicts that large swaths of the Midwest and inland Western are at risk of flooding; however, the risk is greatest for coastal states. West Virginia, Louisiana, Florida, Idaho and Montana are showing the greatest proportion of properties categorized as substantial risk.

Data for the model includes areas that FEMA does not, as well as current and future climate risks which helps predict how flood risk will change over the next 30 years. By 2050, the nonprofit predicts the number of properties with substantial risk across the U.S. will increase by 11% to 16.2 million. 

Global Flight Activity Rose in June, But Has a Long Way to Go to Full Recovery

Source: Flightradar24

The global aviation industry saw a rise in activity in June, yet total flights are still down 42% this year compared to 2019, as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Commercial flights are down by 62% compared to last year, however they did increase by 32% in June 2020 compared to May, according to Flightradar24, a global flight tracker.

A recent report by Airlines for America predicts that it will take until 2023 to see a return of pre-COVID passenger volumes within the U.S. The pandemic has already forced the airline industry to cut tens of thousands of jobs — and more layoffs are expected to happen in the upcoming months.

American Airlines plans to add 2,000 flights a day starting in July, while United Airlines will be adding 25,000 flights in August. American Airlines is facing criticism for allowing full-capacity flights, despite the recent uptick in coronavirus cases in the U.S. The U.S. administration has not mandated mask-wearing, social distancing or temperature checks at airports or on flights.

New Models Show Dramatic Impact of Proper Safety Protocols on COVID-19 Death Rate

Source: Goldenson Center at the University of Connecticut

Wearing a mask, along with other basic precautions, results in a significant drop in the number of coronavirus cases and number of deaths, according to a new simulator from the Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research. The simulation shows how individuals’ actions can directly impact how long the pandemic will last and comes at a time when the U.S. is reaching a record high in case numbers.

The graphic above show a hypothetical model of events after 100 people out of 1,000 become infected with the virus. When only 10% of the population wears masks, observes social distancing and sanitizes, there is a dramatic increase in case numbers and deaths.

The other hypothetical model below shows case results when 80% of the population follows safety protocols. In the second instance, after two months, almost zero percent are infected. It also shows that if a state follows proper safety measures for at least three months after reopening, COVID-19 could be eliminated from the area. 

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