The recent speculation of the dying Great Barrier Reef could be a new name on the list of places that have been severely affected due to climate change. Impact of climate change can affect countries and regions in terms of economic and environmental growth. Here is a list of top ten countries that are most vulnerable to climate change.
The Philippines leads the World Bank’s list of nations most in danger of facing more frequent and intense storms hitting its 7,000 islands. In the last five years, the country has experienced several typhoons that have resulted in severe damage and losses. Some have hit new areas such as Mindanao, which historically have not been affected.
In November last year, Typhoon Haiyan left a trail of devastation across central Philippines, claiming the lives of more than 6,000 people. Government estimates of total damage and losses reached $12.9 billion.
Cambodia has 10.6 per cent of its population living at an altitude of 5 meters (less than 17 feet) above sea level. Agriculture accounts for 35.6 per cent of Cambodia’s GDP. The country’s ND-GAIN vulnerability index – which “measures the overall vulnerability by considering vulnerability in six life-supporting sectors” – food, water, health, ecosystem service, human habitat and infrastructure – was ranked 106th out of 116 countries.
Vietnam has 42.8 percent of its population living in coastal areas at an altitude of 5 meters. Agriculture accounts for 19.7 percent of the country’s GDP. Vietnam was ranked 90th in the ND-GAIN’s vulnerability index.
Climate change could hamper Nigeria’s important oil industry, which currently generates 1.95 million barrels of crude oil per day. Five months of flooding in 2012, for instance, resulted in an estimated loss of 500,000 barrels per day, according to global risk consultancy Maplecroft. The oil-rich Niger delta is especially exposed to climate change, where rising sea levels have already resulted in the loss of some oil wells. Increasing variability in rainfall is also likely to hit food security.
Haiti’s location leaves it vulnerable to both earthquakes and hurricanes, and it has suffered a series of recurring natural disasters that have dented its development, including its ability to prepare for climate change.
“In Haiti, the population is heavily exposed to extreme levels of poverty, poor basic health and access to health care, inadequate infrastructure and is largely reliant on agriculture,” according to a report.
Bangladesh had a lower percentage of people living in costal areas (14 percent) than Vietnam. Agriculture accounts for less of the country’s GDP than Vietnam’s or Cambodia’s GDP. Bangladesh’s ranking on the ND-GAIN vulnerability index (104) was higher than Vietnam’s and just two spots higher than Cambodia.
Senegal has 14.8 percent of its population living in a coastal area. The country has the lowest percentage of agriculture (16.7 percent) of the four other countries most vulnerable to climate change. Senegal ranked 100th in the ND-GAIN vulnerability index.
Most of Sudan, one of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest countries, is arid land or desert. Its susceptibility to drought makes it the world’s most vulnerable country to foods shortages, according to the Work Bank.
“Extremely large relative population increases are projected in Sub-Saharan Africa, along with decreases in average annual water run-off. This will increase pressure on the demand for food and water, when most of the region already suffers from high levels of food insecurity and water stress,” says the U.K.’s weather-tracking Met office on its website.
Three of Fiji’s major industries are under threat from global warming—fishing, sugar exporting and tourism—according to the World Development Bank.
“Under a medium emissions scenario, Fiji could see temperatures rise by 2-3°C by 2070, which could lead to significant decreases in rain-fed agriculture, reduced fish catches, widespread coral bleaching, and falling tourism numbers,” the bank said in a 2013 report.
Mozambique had the lowest percentage of people living in coastal areas (6.5 percent) of the five countries most vulnerable to climate change. The country had the lowest ranking (109) on the ND-GAIN vulnerability index among the five.