Pakistan, Guatemala, Colombia and Russia, in that order, were the countries worst affected by climate change in 2010, according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2012 prepared by the think tank Germanwatch. Releasing the index at the annual summit of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change taking place in Durban, South Africa, Germanwatch said that if the two decades between 1991 and 2010 were taken together, Bangladesh was the country worst affected, followed by Myanmar and Honduras.
“This year´s analysis underlines that less developed countries are generally more affected than industrialised countries,” said a Germanwatch spokesman. “The Climate Risk Index can serve as a warning signal indicating past vulnerability which may further increase in regions where extreme events will become more frequent or more severe through climate change.” He demanded that the Durban summit take “substantial steps” to scale up adaptation to climate change effects, such as more frequent and more severe floods, storms and droughts, as well as a rise in the sea level.
All of the 10 countries worst affected between 1991 and 2010 were developing countries in the low income or lower middle income country group, the spokesman pointed out. The think tank has calculated that more than 710,000 people died as a direct consequence of more than 14,000 extreme weather events during this period, and losses of more than US$2.3 trillion in purchasing power parity terms occurred over these two decades.
Germanwatch warned that “loss and damage from anthropogenic climate change is expected to further increase” and its spokesman decried the inability of governments to commit to steps that would limit global warming to two degrees Celsius.
The spokesman pointed out that many developing countries are already taking action to prepare for climate-related disasters and to promote as well as implement adaptation. “However, adequate financial and institutional support provided by developed countries is required to further increase disaster preparedness and resilience of poor countries.”