New Study Shows Poorest Nations Hit Hardest By Climate-Driven Extreme Weather

Climate Risk Index (CRI) by Country: Annabel Driussi for Our Daily Planet

By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer

Extreme weather intensified by climate change hit the world’s poorest countries hardest in 2019, according to the latest Global Climate Risk Index by environmental organization Germanwatch. Eight of the 10 countries hardest hit by extreme weather since 2000 are poorer nations that haven’t produced the emissions that are now upending weather patterns. Leaders of industrialized countries — who have high historic emissions — have promised $100 billion to finance climate adaptation in poorer nations, a promise that isn’t currently being kept. But Kristalina Georgieva, who leads the International Monetary Fund, said recently that the global response to the pandemic should help poorer countries take on the climate crisis. 

Why this Matters: The emissions causing the climate crisis have mostly been emitted by wealthier nations, which should bear the largest financial responsibility. In the past, global institutions like the IMF have been criticized for imposing policies that promoted privatization at the expense of public health and environmental concerns. The pandemic has only reinforced that climate, health, and economic risks are intertwined. Georgieva hopes to use the recovery as an opportunity to help countries adapt to extreme weather and other shifts. 

More from the Global Climate Risk Index

“The good news is that it can be win-win-win-win,” Georgieva told The Guardian. “Building resilience can be good for nature and ecosystems; it can be good for economic growth; at a time when economies have lost low-skilled jobs, it boosts job creation; and the fourth win is that it can bring health benefits [such as reduced air pollution].” The index, which has been published for 16 years now, ranks which countries and regions have been most impacted by extreme weather made worse by climate change.

  • In 2019, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and the Bahamas were most affected as a result of Cyclone Idai hitting the southeast coast of Africa and Hurricane Dorian wrecking damage on the Caribbean. 
  • Cyclone Idai was one of the deadliest and costliest cyclones, with heavy rains that caused flash floods and landslides. 
  • Of the ten most affected countries in 2019, six were hit by tropical cyclones
  • From 2000 to 2019 . . 
    • Puerto Rico, Myanmar and Haiti were most impacted by extreme weather.
    • Globally, over 475,000 people died as a direct result of more than 11,000 extreme weather events 
    • These weather events totaled $ 2.56 trillion in losses

Wealth (GDP) by Country: Annabel Driussi for Our Daily Planet

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