Climate change is becoming the number one concern around the world, according to AXA’s Future Risks Report 2022, with geopolitical risks coming in second place.
The report also found that the feeling of vulnerability to certain risks has been increasing and confidence has waned.
Based on responses from a panel of 4,500 risk experts from 58 countries and a representative sample of 20,000 people from 15 countries, it concluded that climate risks have become the top concern in all geographies, and the main concern of the general public in the United States.
Last year, US experts ranked cyber risk first and Asian experts ranked pandemic risk second.
This year, geopolitical risks come in second place, overtaking cyber and pandemic risk. According to the report, 95% of the experts surveyed expect geopolitical tensions to persist and spread throughout the world. As an indirect consequence, energy-related risks are now in fourth place, up from 17th place last year.
On top of these, the report found that economic risks are increasing and fuelling social tensions. Financial instability, macroeconomic deterioration and monetary and fiscal stress have been ranked in the top ten economic risks by experts. Additionally, inflation is becoming an important concern for both experts and the general public.
According to the report, in the general population, the feeling of vulnerability remains at a very high level, and is even increasing in the face of certain risks such as climate change and the energy crisis. Furthermore, confidence in certain categories of decision-makers to find solutions is worsening, particularly regarding public authorities, private companies and scientists.
Experts said that this trend can be explained by the fact that the public believes that the level of preparation of public authorities for certain risks – such as climate change, cyber or geopolitical tensions – is insufficient.
Thomas Buberl, CEO of AXA, said: “The 2022 edition of AXA’s Future Risk Report describes an overheated world, where crises are stacked on each other. It also confirms underlying trends such as the fear of climate change, a heightened sense of vulnerability among populations and the decline in trust in major institutions to find sustainable solutions.
“These trends point to an additional risk, the feeling of powerlessness, at a time when we need the mobilisation of all actors to provide collective, innovative and coordinated responses. The insurance sector in particular, can contribute its expertise in terms of prevention and protection. At AXA, we are determined to play our part to the full.”
The Future Risks Report 2022 is produced in partnership with the IPSOS research institute and the geopolitical analysis consultancy Eurasia Group.