Niall Ferguson, a leading historian and senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, spoke with The Japan Times following his attendance at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, last month. Ferguson spoke about global risks and geopolitics in 2020 as well as his latest book, "The Square and the Tower," which was published in Japanese in December.

What was your impression of the latest WEF meeting in Davos?

This year, the program of the conference was very much focused on environmental issues. This coincided with the outbreak of an epidemic in China, which potentially is a much more imminent threat than climate change. So, there was a certain irony in the fact that we were talking about climate change, just as this pandemic was taking shape. The thing that is most dangerous to us as a species is in the short run; a nuclear war and a lethal pandemic. These things can happen tomorrow.