Climate change is affecting the entire world, but not all countries are affected equally. Each year, Germanwatch, an environmental organization that promotes global sustainability and equity, lists the 10 countries most affected by extreme weather events for the reporting year as well as the 10 countries most affected over the previous two decades.
The persistent message from the reports is that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more damaging as a result of climate change. A second message is that poor countries are overwhelmingly the most consistent and hard-hit victims. (Landmarks are not immune to the ravages of climate change. These are natural landmarks already damaged or destroyed by climate change.)
To find 20 countries that are most affected by climate change, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Germanwatch’s Global Climate Risk Index 2021 as well as previous reports. The CRI measures and analyzes the effects of climate from extreme weather events.
Many poorer countries tend to have a natural vulnerability to the ravages of extreme weather because of their geography and topography. In addition, their less resiliently-built environments further exacerbate their vulnerability. They are also least able to protect themselves from harm and recover from damage. Eight out of 10 of the most impacted countries in 2019 (as listed in the 2021 report) are low- to low-middle- income countries. Half of the countries are considered to be among the least developed economies in the world.
Ironically, the countries suffering the most are also the ones contributing the least to the climate crisis. The 10 countries on the most affected list contributed 2.21% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2020. In the same year, the population of those countries totaled over 695 million, 8.95% of the world’s population. (These are the 20 countries responsible for nearly all global emissions.)
These facts were widely discussed at last November’s climate summit in Glasgow, with the leaders of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable nations pleading for fairness and assistance in the global struggle with global warming.
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