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Climate change vulnerability: Phl ranks 9th

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines ranked ninth among countries that are most vulnerable to climate change, a report by British risk consultancy Maplecroft said.

Maplecroft’s Climate Change Vulnerability Index 2014 also ranked Manila among five cities facing “extreme” climate risk.

The index, which rated 193 countries, was developed to identify climate-related risks to populations, business and governments over the next 30 years.

Topping the list of countries at highest risk of climate change was Bangladesh, followed by Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Haiti, South Sudan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic
of Congo, Cambodia, Philippines, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, Eritrea and Chad.

Maplecroft also cited the vulnerabilities of other important growth markets: India (20th), Pakistan (24th) and Vietnam (26th) which are in the “extreme risk” category; and Indonesia (38th), Thailand (45th), Kenya (56th) and China (61st), all classified as “high risk.”

The report said most of these countries are ill prepared to deal with more severe floods, storms, droughts and sea level rise likely to result from a warming planet, adding that much investment is required in flood and other defenses to protect infrastructure and assets.

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 “Adaptive measures... will, however, require the sustained commitment of governments,” said a statement from Maplecroft.

“The growing economic importance of cities in developing countries may increase exposure of assets, investments and supply chains to the impacts of climate change,” the report stated.

The United States and much of Europe are in the “low” risk category - partly because they had more money to spend on adaptation measures.

Cities most at risk

The top three cities most at risk of the effects of climate change were Dhaka in Bangladesh and Mumbai and Kolkata in India while Bangkok in Thailand ranked fifth.

London and Paris are the only cities classified as “low” risk in an analysis of 50 cities.

Maplecroft said cities with some of the biggest economic growth potential are among those with the “greatest vulnerability to climate change.”

While Canada and the US are low risk countries, a breakdown showed several areas in the US as highly vulnerable - including the coastal regions of Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, South and North Carolina, which are exposed to cyclones and storm surges.

Three factors were evaluated in coming up with the findings - exposure to extreme climate-related events; sensitivity of populations in terms of health, education, agricultural dependence and available infrastructure; and the adaptive capacity of countries to combat the impacts of climate change.

“The ability of highly vulnerable countries to manage the direct impact of extreme events on infrastructure will be a significant factor in mitigating the economic impacts of climate change and may present opportunities for investment,” Maplecroft said.

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