Nordic countries least vulnerable to climate change

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Norway and Finland are the countries that will be least affected by climate change, while Bangladesh and India are most at risk, according to an index released yesterday (20 October).

The 170-country Index, compiled by British consultancy Maplecroft, ranks the Nordic countries and Ireland as the least vulnerable to the impacts of climate change over the next 30 years.

At the other end of the index were some of the world's "largest and fastest-growing economies".

Bangladesh and India were ranked as the most vulnerable economies. Other countries at "extreme risk" included the Philippines, Vietnam and Pakistan, also "big economies of the future".

Bangladesh's poor prognosis was influenced by extreme levels of poverty and high dependency on agriculture, Maplecroft said. Moreover, high risk of floods and droughts coupled with the lowest government capacity to adapt to climate change guaranteed a bottom place.

India, on the other hand, could see its attractiveness as an emerging foreign investment destination kicked back by vulnerability relating to acute pressures from population rise.   

"These countries are attracting high levels of foreign investment from many multinational organisations," said Matthew Bunce, principal environmental analyst at Maplecroft.

Understanding climate vulnerability would help companies operating in the countries to "make their investments more resilient to unexpected change," he added.

Africa dominated the high risk category, with poverty-stricken dense populations and reliance on flood and drought-prone agricultural land, Maplecroft added.

The UK, France and Germany were ranked as "medium risk" countries, along with the US and Russia.

The ranking were determined by exposure to climate-related natural disasters and sea-level rise, population, development level, conflicts, natural resources, agricultural dependency and the capacity to adapt.

The global community is gathering in Cancún, Mexico from 29 November to 10 December to attempt to agree on the fundamentals of a new climate treaty, including issues like adaptation, finance and reducing emissions from deforestation (REDD).

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