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Global climate risk index 2017: Who suffers most from extreme weather events? Weather-related loss events in 2015 and 1996 to 2015
The Global Climate Risk Index 2017 analyses to what extent countries have been affected by the impacts of weather-related loss events (storms, floods, heat waves etc.). This year’s 12th edition of the analysis reconfirms that, according to the Climate Risk Index, less developed countries are generally more affected than industrialised countries. Regarding future climate change, the Climate Risk Index may serve as a red flag for already existing vulnerability that may further increase in regions where extreme events will become more frequent or more severe due to climate change. While some vulnerable developing countries are frequently hit by extreme events, there are also some others where such disasters are a rare occurrence.
The most recent data available – from 2015 and 1996–2015 – were taken into account to produce the following key messages:
- According to the Germanwatch Global Climate Risk Index, Honduras, Myanmar and Haiti were the countries most affected by extreme weather events between 1996 and 2015.
- In 2015, Mozambique, Dominica as well as Malawi were at the top of the list of the most affected countries.
- Altogether, more than 528 000 people died as a direct result of nearly 11 000 extreme weather events; and losses between 1996 and 2015 amounted to around 3.08 trillion US$ (in Purchasing Power Parities).
- The host region of the UN climate summit 2016 – the continent of Africa – is severely affected by climatic events with four countries ranking among the 10 countries worldwide most affected in 2015 – Mozambique (1st), Malawi (3rd), Ghana and Madagascar (joint 8th position).
- Precipitation, floods and landslides were the major causes of damage in 2015. A high incidence of extreme precipitation supports the scientific expectations of accelerated hydrological cycles caused by climate warming.
- Most of the affected countries in the Bottom 10 of the long-term index have a high ranking due to exceptional catastrophes. Over the last few years another category of countries has been gaining relevance: Countries like the Philippines and Pakistan that are recurrently affected by catastrophes continuously rank among the most affected countries both in the long term index and in the index for the respective year for the last six years.
- Of the ten most affected countries (1996–2015), nine were developing countries in the low income or lower-middle income country group, while only one was classified as an upper-middle income country.
- The climate summit in Marrakesh is giving the “go-ahead” on developing the “rulebook” for the Paris Agreement, including the global adaptation goal, adaptation communication systems, and finance assessment systems for building resilience. A review of the UNFCCC’s work on loss and damage provides the opportunity to better detail the next 5-year’s work on loss and damage, in relation to the climate regime, as well as to better understand exactly how loss and damage should be taken up under the Paris Agreement.