Countries that are being asked to contribute billions of dollars a year as part of a climate treaty to be signed at Copenhagen next month are least at risk from climate change, according to a new study.
The study, released to Asian Correspondent by international risk consultancy firm, Maplecroft, shows that out of 166 nations, the United States (152nd), United Kingdom (156th), Australia (157th), New Zealand (162nd), Canada (163rd) and Japan (164th) are among the 15 countries expected to be least affected by climate change. Listed in 166th place is Norway. Maplecroft rates the risk for all of these nations as low.
Maplecroft’s Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) quantifies and maps vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The index rates the ability of nations to mitigate risks to society and the business environment posed by changing patterns in natural hazards, such as droughts, flooding, storms, sea level rise and the resulting effects on ecosystems.
The findings have the potential to embarrass Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has been trying to get legislation on an Emissions Trading Scheme passed before the Copenhagen meeting on the grounds that Australia “will be worst affected by climate change”. This follows confirmation that Mr Rudd’s claim that Australia is the hottest continent is also not true.
Among the factors contributing to the rankings are population density, quality of health-care and communications systems, good governance and institutional frameworks.
The countries listed as most at risk are Somalia, Haiti and Afghanistan. Eight of the top 10 most at risk are in Africa.
The report rates India (56th) as high risk due to high population density, increased security risk, poor resource security and concerns about human rights. Other countries of concern to Maplecroft include Pakistan (29th), Philippines (44th) and Indonesia (61st), which all rated high risk, whilst Brazil (103rd) and China (110th) are categorized as medium risk, with Russia (127th) rated as low risk.
Maplecroft used 39 separate data sources in the production of the CCVI including the UN Development Programme, UN Environmental Program, UNAIDS, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, United States geological Survey, and World Health Organisation.