Climate: Which nations, cities most at risk?

A third of humanity, mostly in Africa and South Asia, face the biggest risks from climate change but rich nations in northern Europe will be least exposed, according to a new report.

Last Updated: Oct 26, 2011, 09:29 AM IST

Paris: A third of humanity, mostly in Africa
and South Asia, face the biggest risks from climate change but
rich nations in northern Europe will be least exposed,
according to a new report.

Bangladesh, India and the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC) are among 30 countries with "extreme" exposure to
climate shift, according to a ranking of 193 nations by
Maplecroft, a British firm specialising in risk analysis.

Five Southeast Asian nations -- Indonesia, Myanmar,
Vietnam, the Philippines and Cambodia -- are also in the
highest category, partly because of rising seas and increasing
severe tropical storms.

Maplecroft`s tool, the Climate Change Vulnerability Index
(CCVI), looks at exposure to extreme weather events such as
drought, cyclones, wildfires and storm surges, which translate
into water stress, loss of crops and land lost to the sea.

How vulnerable a society is to these events is also
measured, along with a country`s potential to adapt to future
climate change-related hazards.

Of 30 nations identified in the new report as at
"extreme" risk from climate change, two-thirds are in Africa
and all are developing countries.

Africa is especially exposed to drought, severe flooding
and wildfires, the report says.

"Many countries there are particularly vulnerable to even
relatively low exposure to climate events," said Charlie
Beldon, co-author of the study.

Weak economies, inadequate healthcare and corrupt
governance also leave little margin for absorbing climate
impacts.

At the other end of the spectrum, Iceland, Finland,
Ireland, Sweden and Estonia top the list of nations deemed to
be least at risk.

With the exception of Israel and oil-rich Qatar and
Bahrain, the 20 least vulnerable countries are in northern and
central Europe.

China and the US, the world`s No1 and No2 carbon emitters
are in the "medium" and "low" risk categories, respectively.

In a parallel analysis of major cities at risk,
Maplecroft pointed to Dhaka, Addis Ababa, Manila, Calcutta and
the Bangladesh city of Chittagong as being most exposed.

Three other Indian metropolitan areas -- Chennai, Mumbai
and New Delhi -- were listed as being at "high" risk.

"Vulnerability to climate change has the potential to
undermine future development, particularly in India," Beldon
observed.

Recent studies -- reviewed in a special report by the
UN`s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due out
next month -- point to strengthening evidence of links between
global warming and extreme weather events.

PTI