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Index on Countries Most at Risk from Climate Change

In Marrakech, as in Paris (and surely at every COP before that), climate finance is a hot-button issue. Vulnerable developing countries around the world need financial aid from rich nations to adapt to a changing climate and the extreme weather it brings. Competition for financial flows is tight, and has only been exacerbated by accounting discrepancies between what rich countries say they’ve given and what poor countries say they’ve received. Vulnerability to climate change is one key factor in determining how those limited funds are allocated, but, as Pacific Standard’s Ted Scheinman wrote last year, quantifying climate vulnerability is a difficult, even “devilish” endeavor. Luckily, GermanWatch was back at COP22 today to present its latest annual Global Climate Risk Index.

Of course, the risk report is not a “true” climate vulnerability index, as GermanWatch’s Sönke Kreft, lead author of the report, is quick to point out. It doesn’t account for slow-onset climate risks, like sea-level rise or glacial melt, and it doesn’t make projections into the future. Rather, the index measures the number of deaths and the economic damage, in both absolute and relative terms, for countries around the globe. “The beauty of our index is that it’s relatively simple,” Kreft said in a press conference on Tuesday.

US Army Africa/Samuel Rogers

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