Monday 24th October 2016                 Change text size:

Developing world at “extreme risk” of climate change

Developing world at “extreme risk” of climate change

Haiti, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are the top three countries in most danger of being worst-affected by global warming. Alex Blackburne delves into a recently-released report.

Nearly 20% of the world nations have been described by a report as being at “extreme risk” of climate change effects.

Global risks advisory firm Maplecroft, whose climate change vulnerability index (CCVI), evaluates the potential risks to populations, ecosystems and business environments by global warming. The results indicate that Haiti, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Madagascar will be worst-hit.

Those five, along with the remaining countries that make up the top ten – Cambodia, Mozambique, DR Congo, Malawi, and the Philippines – are all located in the developing world. Principal environmental analyst at Maplecroft, Dr Matthew Bunce, explained how such nations will be affected.

Over the next 30 years their vulnerability to climate change will rise due to increases in air temperature, precipitation and humidity.

This means organisations with operations or assets in these countries will become more exposed to associated risks, such as climate-related natural disasters, resource security and conflict.

Understanding climate vulnerability will help companies make their investments more resilient to unexpected change.”

Maplecroft’s index highlights the growing concerns into climate change. In the UK, although it’s still a major issue, we’re unlikely to feel even half of the effects that some less fortunate nations will experience across the globe.

On top of this, it’s not even the current generation in such countries that are going to get the brunt of the danger. It will be the children in the developing world who haven’t even been born yet – arguably the least powerful generation in terms of influence on world affairs.

Dr Charlie Beldon, environmental analyst at Maplecroft, explained the reasoning behind the overwhelming effects on the developing world.

The expansion of population must be met with an equal expansion of infrastructure and civic amenities.

As these megacities grow [the population of Calcutta, India, for example, is predicted to increase from the current 3.1 million to 18.7 million by 2020], more people are forced to live on exposed land, often on flood plains or other marginal land.

It is therefore the poorest citizens that will be most exposed to the effects of climate change, and the least able to cope with the effects.”

The CCVI should be a wake-up call to the decision-makers in the developed world.

The countries which are going to be worst-hit will struggle to do anything about it. It’s up to the people with money to make a difference before these countries pass the tipping point.

To download a PDF version of the CCVI 2012 map, click here (Adobe Acrobat required).

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