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Somalia, Haiti and Afghanistan are the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change according to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI), released today by global risks consultancy, Maplecroft.

The CCVI is part of Maplecroft’s new Climate Change Risk Report 2009/10. It rates 166 countries on their capacity to mitigate risks to society and the business environment posed by changing patterns in natural hazards, such as droughts, flooding, storms and sea level rises and the resulting effects on ecosystems.

Climate Change Vulnerability Index 2009 / 2010

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Extreme risk
High risk
Medium risk
Low risk
No Data
Rank Country Rating
1 Somalia Extreme
2 Haiti Extreme
3 Afghanistan Extreme
4 Sierra Leonne Extreme
5 Burundi Extreme
Rank Country Rating
6 Guinea Extreme
7 Rwanda Extreme
8 The Gambia Extreme
9 Chad Extreme
10 Nigeria Extreme

Unlike other studies, the index does not attempt to predict changes to patterns of natural hazards or ecosystems as a result of climate change, but instead measures how vulnerable a country is now and how well prepared it is to combat the impacts of climate change.

Poorer nations with few natural resources and limited infrastructures are particularly vulnerable, with Somalia, Haiti, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Burundi most at risk. Somalia’s ability to adapt to climate change is severely undermined by food insecurity, conflict and political violence and human rights risk, whilst in Haiti, declining water quality and the rising risk of food and energy insecurity all contribute to its very poor rating.

Of the 28 countries rated as “extreme risk” by the CCVI, 22 are located in Africa.

Norway, (166), is the lowest ranked country in the CCVI and best equipped to address the challenges of climate change. Among the factors contributing to its ranking are its low population density, excellent health-care and communications systems, good governance and a strong institutional framework. Additionally, Norway’s overall food, water and energy security are high and its ecosystems are well protected. The countries least at risk after Norway are Finland (165), Japan (164) and Canada (163). Other low risk countries include UK (155), USA (152) and Germany (151).

India (56) is the only emerging economy to be rated as high risk. This is due to high population density, increased security risk, poor resource security and concerns about human rights violations. India’s vulnerability is of particular concern to business because of its huge role in global supply chains. Other countries of concern include Pakistan (29), Philippines (44) and Indonesia (61), which all rated high risk, whilst Brazil (103) and China (110) are categorized as medium risk, with Russia (127) rated as low risk.

Maplecroft has designed the index to enable governments, international organisations and the private sector to identify increased financial and societal risks arising from vulnerability to climate change. To enable this, the CCVI is accompanied by an interactive GIS (Geographical Information System) map, which pinpoints climate change vulnerability at sub-national and site specific levels by breaking down each country into 25km2 cells. Users can locate not only countries of high risk but regions, towns and industrial sites, allowing governments and business to develop mitigation strategies against the potential impacts of climate change.

“The interrelated nature of global risks mean that ineffective adaptation to climate change will make the world more vulnerable to other risks such as energy, food and water security, infectious diseases like malaria, displacement, political instability and even conflict. In combination, these risks reinforce one another and threaten to undermine global development and economic growth. Governments and non-governmental organisations increasingly view business as a key player in preventing the impacts of climate change. Business needs to reduce the impacts of climate change throughout global value chains and by doing so make a positive contribute to the defining challenge of the 21st century.”

- Professor Alyson Warhurst of Warwick Business School and Founding Director of Maplecroft.

Maplecroft used 39 separate data sources in the production of the CCVI including: UN Development Programme, UN Environmental Programme, UNAIDS, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, United States geological Survey, World Health Organisation, World Resources Institute, International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and risk indices from Maplecroft’s Global Risks Portfolio.

Maplecroft’s new Climate change Risks Report 2009/10, which includes the CCVI, provides detailed analysis and risk indices for four key areas of climate change risk: climate change vulnerability; CO2 emissions from energy use and land use change; unsustainable energy and climate change regulation. The report provides quantifiable risk data in country scorecards, sub-national GIS maps for all risk indices and has been created to help businesses, investors and international organisations assess and compare climate change risks across countries.

Press enquiries:

Jason McGeown, Head of Communications
Tel: +44 (0)1225 420000
press@maplecroft.com

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