10 greatest threats facing the world in 2014
The World Economic Forum on Thursday released its Global Risks 2014 report.
"Taking a 10-year outlook, the report assesses 31 risks that are global in nature and have the potential to cause significant negative impact across entire countries and industries if they take place," is how the WEF describes the report in a statement accompanying its release.
"The risks are grouped under five classifications — economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological — and measured in terms of their likelihood and potential impact," the statement says.
The report canvasses the views of 700 experts from around the world. Ten of what the WEF calls the "global risks of highest concern" for 2014 are as follows:
#1 ) Fiscal crises in key economies
"Fiscal crises feature as the top risk in this year's Global Risks report. Advanced economies remain in danger, while many emerging markets have seen credit growth in recent years, which could fuel financial crises. A fiscal crisis in any major economy could easily have cascading global impacts."
#2) Structurally high unemployment / underemployment [Part of our Our Goals is to help create Jobs].
"Unemployment appears second overall, as many people in both advanced and emerging economies struggle to find jobs. Young people are especially vulnerable – youth unemployment is as high as 50% in some countries and underemployment (with low-quality jobs) remains prevalent, especially in emerging and developing markets."
World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab. (Photo: Fabrice Coffrini, AFP/Getty Images)
#3) Water crises [Yes, providing electric mobility vehicles will reduce C02, thus leading to, hopefully, a return of rain & snow to drought areas.]
"Environmental risks feature prominently on this year's list. Water crises, for instance, rank as the third highest concern, illustrating a continued and growing awareness of the global water crisis as a result of mismanagement and increased competition for already scarce water resources."
#4) Severe income disparity
"Closely associated in terms of societal risk, income disparity is also among the most worrying issues. Concerns have been raised about the squeezing effect the financial crisis had on the middle classes in developed economies, while globalization has brought about a polarization of incomes in emerging and developing economies."
#5) Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation [Part of our Our Goals is to build viable alternatives; to support eager adaptation of those superior alternatives].
"Even as governments and corporations are called upon to speed up greenhouse gas reduction, it is clear that the race is on not only to mitigate climate change but also to adapt. Failure to adapt has the biggest effect on the most vulnerable, especially those in least developed countries."
#6) Greater incidence of extreme weather events (e.g. floods, storms, fires)
"Climate change is the key driver of uncertain and changing weather patterns, causing an increased frequency of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts. The Global Risks 2014 report draws attention to the combined implications of these environmental risks on key development and security issues, such as food security and political and social instability, ranked 8th and 10th respectively."
#7) Global governance failure
"The risk of global governance failure, which lies at the heart of the risk map, was viewed by respondents as one of the risks that is most connected to others. Weak or inadequate global institutions, agreements or networks, combined with competing national and political interests, impede attempts to cooperate on addressing global risks."
#8) Food crises [Yes, as rain and snow return to drought areas, hopefully, higher crop yields may be able to resolve some of this issue.]
"One of the top societal risks in the report, food crises occur when access to appropriate quantities and quality of food and nutrition becomes inadequate or unreliable. Food crises are strongly linked to the risk of climate change and related factors."
#9) Failure of a major financial mechanism/institution
"Over five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the failure of a major financial mechanism or institution also features among the risks that respondents are most concerned about, as uncertainty about the quality of many banks' assets remains."
#10) Profound political and social instability.
"Potential State Collapse. The risk that one or more systemically critical countries will experience significant erosion of trust and mutual obligations between states and citizens. This could lead to state collapse, internal violence, regional or global instability and, potentially, military conflict.".
15 Major Current Environmental Problems
1. Pollution: Pollution of air, water and soil require millions of years to recoup. Industry and motor vehicle exhaust are the number one pollutants. Heavy metals, nitrates and plastic are toxins responsible for pollution. While water pollution is caused by oil spill, acid rain, urban runoff; air pollution is caused by various gases and toxins released by industries and factories and combustion of fossil fuels; soil pollution is majorly caused by industrial waste that deprives soil from essential nutrients. More efficient homes can dramatically reduce energy use, of which a significant proportion is dirty energy. Very low to zero polluting vehicles can further reduce pollution and use of dirty energy.
2. Global Warming: Climate changes like global warming is the result of human practices like emission of Greenhouse gases. Global warming leads to rising temperatures of the oceans and the earth’ surface causing melting of polar ice caps, rise in sea levels and also unnatural patterns of precipitation such as flash floods, excessive snow or desertification. More efficient homes using less energy reduce the levels of CO2 from polluting power plants, The same is true for electric cars, which do not emit CO2 themselves, but which may be recharged from a dirty energy source. We are advocates of utilization of solar wind and energy storage systems as well....which then eliminate CO2 emissions for our client's!!
3. Overpopulation: The population of the planet is reaching unsustainable levels as it faces shortage of resources like water, fuel and food. Population explosion in less developed and developing countries is straining the already scarce resources. Intensive agriculture practiced to produce food damages the environment through use of chemical fertilizer, pesticides and insecticides. Overpopulation is one of the crucial current environmental problem.
4. Natural Resource Depletion: Natural resource depletion is another crucial current environmental problems. Fossil fuel consumption results in emission of Greenhouse gases, which is responsible for global warming and climate change. Globally, People are taking efforts to shift to renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, biogas and geothermal energy. The cost of installing the infrastructure and maintaining these sources has plummeted in the recent years. More energy efficient homes that are built better, should last significantly longer, electric cars, which do not have "regular replacement parts", should last longer, and will not contribute to waste and resource consumption in the manufacture of those parts. By having a longer lifecycle fewer resources will be consumed within a given time frame. Ultra efficient homes will consume half or less energy than conventional homes, thus requiring far less fossil fuel, Electric cars recharging off the grid use about 1/10th as much fossil fuel as a gas car. First off most EVs are rated over 100 miles per gallon equivalent, whereas the ICE fleet worldwide achieves only about 25 mpg. That does not include trucks. Also, only about 30% of US electric energy is derived from burning coal. So even if an EV is recharged on the grid, it is far "cleaner" than a gas car. With Solar & Wind Power we achieve Zero resource depletion relative to energy production. Our products also integrate recycled content....thus our clients contribute to further reductions of resource depletion.
5. Waste Disposal: The over consumption of resources and creation of plastics are creating a global crisis of waste disposal. Developed countries are notorious for producing an excessive amount of waste or garbage and dumping their waste in the oceans and, less developed countries. Nuclear waste disposal has tremendous health hazards associated with it. Plastic, fast food, packaging and cheap electronic wastes threaten the well being of humans. Waste disposal is one of urgent current environmental problem.
6. Climate Change: Climate change is yet another environmental problem that has surfaced in last couple of decades. It occurs due to rise in global warming which occurs due to increase in temperature of atmosphere by burning of fossil fuels and release of harmful gases by industries. Climate change has various harmful effects but not limited to melting of polar ice, change in seasons, occurrence of new diseases, frequent occurrence of floods and change in overall weather scenario. As our products are less emitters of pollutants and CO2, our customers are therefore having a Positive effect against Climate Change.
7. Loss of Biodiversity: Human activity is leading to the extinction of species and habitats and and loss of bio-diversity. Eco systems, which took millions of years to perfect, are in danger when any species population is decimating. Balance of natural processes like pollination is crucial to the survival of the eco-system and human activity threatens the same. Another example is the destruction of coral reefs in the various oceans, which support the rich marine life.
8. Deforestation: Our forests are natural sinks of carbon dioxide and produce fresh oxygen as well as helps in regulating temperature and rainfall. At present forests cover 30% of the land but every year tree cover is lost amounting to the country of Panama due to growing population demand for more food, shelter and cloth. Deforestation simply means clearing of green cover and make that land available for residential, industrial or commercial purpose. Our client's homes are built using AICF panels filled with concrete that has coal power plant fly ash, recycled content aggregate, and more. These AICF panels are manufactured with EPS Foam that also has recycled content. We are looking into the possibility of using materials other than EPS foam, such as a papercrete (recycled paper based) insulation panel...So, being as our AICF panel is usded for the house primary structure, as opposed to wood studs, we can have a very positive effect on the amount of wood used in our homes. We can also use fiberglass doors and other alternatives in the construction.
9. Ocean Acidification: It is a direct impact of excessive production of CO2. 25% of CO2 produced by humans. The ocean acidity has increased by the last 250 years but by 2100, it may shoot up by 150%. The main impact is on shellfish and plankton in the same way as human osteoporosis. Our products significantly reduce or eliminate CO2 emissions, therefore we are able to state uncategorically that our clients buying our products are indeed contributing positively to a reduction in ocean acidification.
10. Ozone Layer Depletion: The ozone layer is an invisible layer of protection around the planet that protects us from the sun’s harmful rays. Depletion of the crucial Ozone layer of the atmosphere is attributed to pollution caused by Chlorine and Bromide found in Chloro-floro carbons (CFC’s). Once these toxic gases reach the upper atmosphere, they cause a hole in the ozone layer, the biggest of which is above the Antarctic. The CFC’s are banned in many industries and consumer products. Ozone layer is valuable because it prevents harmful UV radiation from reaching the earth. This is one of the most important current environmental problem.
11. Acid Rain: Acid rain occurs due to the presence of certain pollutants in the atmosphere. Acid rain can be caused due to combustion of fossil fuels or erupting volcanoes or rotting vegetation which release sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere. Acid rain is a known environmental problem that can have serious effect on human health, wildlife and aquatic species. Ultra efficient homes and electric vehicles significantly reduce emission and pollution. The "embodied pollution" from their construction manufacture is spread out over their longer lifecycle, therefore within a given time frame their pollution CO2 impact is less. Certainly because they last longer and use far less fossil fuel (if any) over their operating time frame, our client's acid rain contribution is dramatically lowered.
12. Water Pollution: Clean drinking water is becoming a rare commodity. Water is becoming an economic and political issue as the human population fights for this resource. One of the options suggested is using the process of desalinization. Industrial development is filling our rivers seas and oceans with toxic pollutants which are a major threat to human health. We have already detailed in comments above how our products are cleaner throughout their entire construction, manufacture and lifecycle...they are also more recyclable in their demise. Wood Stud homes are often torn down and the busted wood sent to the dump or burned. It could be recycled as chips, and put into new chip board or paper or other wood products. Our AICF homes when demolished can be materials segregated and the the busted concrete can be crushed and reused, Foam is 100% recyclable, Electric car batteries are primarily thin sheets of copper and aluminum with micron thin layers of Lithium and iron phosphate. So those batteries are actually more preferable to recycle than lead acid batteries used in ICE cars today.
13. Urban Sprawl: Urban sprawl refers to migration of population from high density urban areas to low density rural areas which results in spreading of city over more and more rural land. Urban sprawl results in land degradation, increased traffic, environmental issues and health issues. The ever growing demand of land displaces natural environment consisting of flora and fauna instead of being replaced.
14: Public Health Issues: The current environmental problems pose a lot of risk to health of humans, and animals. Dirty water is the biggest health risk of the world and poses threat to the quality of life and public health. Run-off to rivers carries along toxins, chemicals and disease carrying organisms. Pollutants cause respiratory disease like Asthma and cardiac-vascular problems. High temperatures encourage the spread of infectious diseases like Dengue.
15. Genetic Engineering: Genetic modification of food using biotechnology is called genetic engineering. Genetic modification of food results in increased toxins and diseases as genes from an allergic plant can transfer to target plant. Genetically modified crops can cause serious environmental problems as an engineered gene may prove toxic to wildlife. Another drawback is that increased use of toxins to make insect resistant plant can cause resultant organisms to become resistant to antibiotics.
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