President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press after meeting with Congressional leaders to discuss 'fiscal cliff' negotiations December 28, 2012 in Washington, D.C. - 

The World Economic Forum is preparing for its annual summit in Davos, Switzerland, later this month. In advance of the meeting, the international group has released its list of the biggest threats to the global economy. Topping the ranks again this year are income disparity and fiscal imbalances.

"These two issues are quite structural in nature, and it [takes] a lot of political leadership and capital to tackle these issues in a meaningful way," says Lee Howell, a managing director with the World Economic Forum. Howell notes that the eurozone and U.S. are starting to show some progress on fiscal issues.

The WEF report also highlights rising greenhouse gas emissions and the failure of the international community to take action on climate change. Howell says the issue has broad implications for the global economy.

"I think case in point is in the United States -- post the Superstorm Sandy -- where we learned that not only do you need to be environmentally resilient, but theres a bit of economic resilience as well because it's taken time to really find the funds to address the damages," says Howell.


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