The world faces growing risks as persistent economic weakness and chronic deficits undermine governments’ abilities to cope with long-term threats such as climate change, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum.

And more than five years after subprime mortgage problems triggered the global financial crisis, confidence in the financial system remains tenuous at best despite waves of regulatory reform. The report cites major systemic financial failure as the risk that carries the greatest potential negative impact for the global economy.

“Two storms ­— environmental and economic — are on a collision course,” says John Drzik, CEO of management consultancy Oliver Wyman Group, who advised the forum on the report. “If we don’t allocate the resources needed to mitigate the rising risk from severe weather events, global prosperity for future generations could be threatened.”

Meanwhile, a separate forecast sees a significant shift ahead in the balance of risk between developed and emerging markets.

Eurasia Group, a New York–based political risk consultancy, cites growing instability in a number of emerging markets as the greatest risk of 2013. Extremism is rising in much of the Middle East, political risk is rising in countries ranging from Russia to Venezuela, and China’s growing economic might is fueling nationalism that threatens to exacerbate tensions with its neighbors, it says. By contrast, Eurasia predicts that Europe will continue to muddle through its currency and debt crisis and the U.S. stands to benefit from an improving economy and an energy boom if Washington’s fractious politics don’t get out of hand.

“Developed markets have bounded downside risk. The financial crisis is finally over,” says Ian Bremmer, the firms’s president. “The downside in emerging markets if things go wonky is much greater.”

The World Economic Forum’s eighth annual Global Risks report, which seeks to focus debate at its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, later this month, identifies severe income disparity, chronic fiscal imbalances and rising greenhouse gas emissions as the three risks most likely to arise in the next decade. As for potential impact if they do occur, the respondents cited major systemic failure, water supply crises and chronic fiscal imbalances as the greatest threats. The results are based on a survey of more than 1,000 experts from business, government, academia and nongovernmental organizations.