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global climate risk index: India sixth most vulnerable country facing extreme weather events: Report

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BONN, Germany: India is the sixth most vulnerable country in the world in terms of facing extreme weather events with Haiti, Zimbabwe, Fiji, Sri Lanka and Vietnam taking top five positions in the fresh list of nations facing climate risk.

The ranking was released here by the Germanwatch, an independent Berlin-based development and environmental organisation, on Thursday in its latest global climate risk index (CRI). The Index put the United States (US) at 10th position with Chinese Taipei, Macedonia and Bolivia being the other three vulnerable countries in the list of top ten.

The Germanwatch comes out with the CRI by analysing number of deaths per 1,00,000 inhabitants, extent of financial losses and loss per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of countries.

India was at number four in terms of CRI ranking last year. Economic and population data from International Monetary Fund (IMF) was taken into account while arriving at the ranking. The CRI indicates a level of exposure and vulnerability to extreme events.

In the present analysis, only weather related events – storms, floods and temperature extremes (heat and cold waves) – are incorporated. “Geological incidents like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or tsunamis, for which data is also available, are not relevant in this context as they do not depend on the weather and therefore are not possibly related to climate change”, the report said.

The report noted that India had in 2016 lost the maximum number of human lives (2119) and over $21 billion worth of properties. The US had suffered the maximum financial loss (over $47 billion) last year. Analysing the relevant data of past 20 years (1997-2016), the CRI report found that the world had lost lives of 5,24,000 people and suffered financial losses to the tune of $3.16 trillion as a direct result of more than 11,000 extreme weather events during the period.

As far as long-term (1997-2016) CRI of countries are concerned, India is not in the list of the top 10 vulnerable nations which include Honduras, Haiti, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand and Dominican Republic (in that order) in the list. India figured at 12th position in that list.

“The CRI does not provide an all-encompassing analysis of the risk of anthropogenic climate change, but should be seen as just one analysis explaining countries’ exposure and vulnerability to climate-related risk based on the most reliable quantified data. It is based on the current and past climate variability and also on climate change”, the report said.

In the context of climate risk, the report also specifically mentioned the UNEP Adaptation Gap Report of 2016, which warned the nations that the increasing impacts and resultant increase in global adaptation costs by 2030 or 2050 are likely to be much higher than what is expected now.

Referring to the CRI, the report advised that the high ranking countries are the most impacted and therefore they should consider the index as a “warning sign” that they are at risk of either frequent extreme weather events or rare, but extraordinary catastrophes.

Updated: November 9, 2017 — 9:33 pm

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