AXA report finds climate change to be biggest concern for UK risk experts

A report by global insurance firm AXA has found climate change was viewed as the top concern for both risk experts and the public in the UK.

According to Reinsurance News, the report – titled AXA Future Risks Report – was produced in partnership with research institute IPSOS and geopolitical analysis consultancy Eurasia Group.

The report found that from a range of 25 potential risks that could impact the world over the next decade, 64% of UK risk experts and 59% of the UK population ranked climate change is the highest risk.

In the wider continent, these findings were also in line with Europe who also ranked climate change as the chief risk – with 62% of experts and 53% of the overall population ranking it as such.

Experts also agreed globally that climate change had the most potential to have the biggest impact on society in the next five to ten years. However, the global public saw it as second most important risk behind pandemics and infectious diseases.

In terms of who is best placed to deal with the risk of climate change, on a global level people see governments as underprepared to tackle the challenge – with only 19% of experts and 32% of the UK public believing government can help mitigate climate change.

Meanwhile, the report found climate change awareness is highest in Europe, where both experts and the public placed this risk at the top of the list. It came third in Asia and the Middle East and fourth place in Africa.

Despite this, 57% of the UK’s general population believes globalisation has a positive impact on risk due to its ability to unite countries to fight against risk more efficiently and effectively. The UK also ranked highest in Europe in terms of feeling positive about the impact of globalisation.

To provide its own support on tackling climate change, AXA has recently joined the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign that is committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The campaign is providing business, governments and other stakeholders the chance to work collaboratively to tackle climate change.

AXA UK and Ireland CEO Claudio Gienal said, “At a time when life has been dominated by other important issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and economic instability, it is perhaps surprising that climate change would top the list.

“However, this clearly demonstrates that for many people climate change is a very real risk which is fast approaching, if not already upon us. There is no doubt that climate change is one of the most serious and damaging risks we as a global population face, so it’s encouraging that this has been acknowledged as the number one risk in the UK.

“We have a real opportunity here for everyone – governments, the private sector and individuals – to come together and work more closely to help mitigate the risks we face now and in the future.

“That’s why it’s great to see the insurance industry stepping up with the launch of the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance, and we’re delighted to join the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign. Insurers have an essential role to play and AXA stands ready to play our part.”

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