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Here’s what happened in 2022 in 10 striking pictures

A NASA image of Earth and the Moon taken in April 2022.

The year 2022 has been full of rapid and unexpected changes. Image: REUTERS/NASA/GSFC/NOAA/USGS

Tom Crowfoot
Writer, Forum Agenda
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  • The year 2022 has been full of rapid and unexpected changes.
  • From severe flooding in Pakistan to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, these 10 pictures cover major news events from the past 12 months.

2022 has been a year like no other. Economic, environmental and geopolitical turmoil have defined the past 12 months, in a year that saw the death of the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Here are 10 pictures that tell the story of how key news stories unfolded around the world in this unpredictable year.

1. Inflation surges around the world

A woman walks with a shopping trolley as she shops in an Utile supermarket in La Verrie, France, the year 2022.
Inflation has been unusually high in countries around the world in 2022. Image: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

This has resulted in a cost-of-living crisis, with many families, even in some of the world’s wealthiest nations, being forced to choose between eating or heating this winter.

2. The Omicron coronavirus variant spreads

The Omicron variants were a highlight in the year 2022.
The Omicron variants were a highlight in the year 2022. Image: REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

The highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 spread around the world this year. Two Omicron “cousins” have also recently been named by the UK Health Security Agency, as the virus continues to mutate.

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3. Russia invades Ukraine

Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, 2022.
Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, 2022. Image: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, leading to global crises for both food and energy, as well as displacing millions of people.

4. US Supreme Court overturns abortion rights

The vote for abortion rights was 5-4 to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe vs Wade ruling, on 24 June, 2022.
The vote for abortion rights was 5-4 to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe vs Wade ruling, on 24 June, 2022. Image: REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy

In a controversial ruling on 24 June, the US Supreme Court revoked women’s constitutional right to abortion, restoring the ability of individual states to determine a woman's reproductive rights.

5. Record-breaking heatwaves

A man sprinkles water on his donkey to cool off from the heatwave in Karachi, Pakistan in 2022
A donkey in Pakistan cools off, when temperatures exceeded 49°C in April. Image: REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Climate change has led to many record-breaking temperatures around the world. From runways melting to devastating wildfires, no country was safe from the extreme levels of heat experienced this year.

6. Droughts around the world

The summer of 2022 produced Europe’s worst drought in 500 years
The summer of 2022 produced Europe’s worst drought in 500 years Image: REUTERS/Susana Vera

This summer produced Europe’s worst drought in 500 years, with two-thirds of the continent experiencing some sort of extreme heat warning.

In China, factories were forced to shut down in August due to decreased water levels around the Yangtze river basin, which curbed electricity generation at hydropower plants.

7. Flooding in Pakistan

A man rides a boat past toll plaza amid flood water on main Indus highway in Sehwan, Pakistan.
A flooded highway in Sehwan, Pakistan. Image: REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Flooding in Pakistan from June to August killed more than 1,391 people and caused an estimated $30 billion in damage as houses, crops and key infrastructure were swept away.

8. Queen Elizabeth II passes away

Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on 8 September, 2022.
Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on 8 September, 2022. Image: Tristan Fewings/Pool via REUTERS

Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on 8 September and was succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III. She died at 96 years of age after 70 years on the throne, making her the world’s second longest-ever reigning monarch.

9. World population exceeds 8 billion

On 15 November 2022, the world surpassed 8 billion people.
On 15 November 2022, the world surpassed 8 billion people. Image: REUTERS/Jon Nazca

The world reached its first landmark of 1 billion people in 1803. Over 200 years later, on 15 November 2022, the world surpassed 8 billion people.

10. COP27’s ‘loss and damage’ fund for vulnerable countries

A panel session at COP27 in the year 2022
One of the many issues discussed at the UN summit was ‘loss and damage’. Image: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The fund agreed at the COP27 summit will support poor countries that are being heavily impacted by climate change, despite their historically low emissions. It will cover the cost of any climate-related damage that these countries cannot avoid or adapt to.

The events of this year will shape our Annual Meeting in Davos on 16-20 January 2023. Visit the event page to learn more.

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