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There are three big, global threats that keep Michele Wucker, a risk expert, up at night: Inequality, financial fragility (that is, the chance of another economic meltdown), and the climate crisis. 

And all of these are connected, she says. The rich are getting richer, jetting across the world in carbon-spewing planes, while amped-up hurricanes and drought are hitting poor communities the hardest. Rising seas are swallowing up coastal real estate, with effects that could rattle the financial system. 

“Climate change ripples through the entire economy,” Wucker told Grist in an interview. “Any of the other risks you look at in the world are very likely to have some sort of a climate connection.” 

Wucker, a strategist and author, has spent decades working on finance, business, and global policy issues. Her 2016 book The Gray Rhino identified big risks that get ignored even though they are probable and predicted — like, say, a global pandemic. She coined the phrase “gray rhino” concept in opposition to the rare “black swan” events that catch everybody by surprise. The way she sees it, the climate crisis is not a slow-moving danger, but a... Read more

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