Global Climate Risk Index 2020

  • 10th December 2019
  • by secretary

4 December 2019. Who suffers Most from Extreme Weather Events? Weather-related Loss Events in 2018 and 1999 to 2018

BRIEFING PAPER GLOBAL CLIMATE RISK INDEX 2020 Who Suffers Most from Extreme Weather Events? Weather-Related Loss Events in 2018 and 1999 to 2018 David Eckstein, Vera Künzel, Laura Schäfer, Maik Winges

This year’s 15th edition of the Climate Risk Index clearly shows: Signs of escalating climate change can no longer be ignored – on any continent or in any region. Impacts from extreme weather events hit the poorest countries hardest as these are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of a hazard and have a lower coping capacity and may need more time to rebuild and recover. 
The Global Climate Risk Index 2020 analyses to what extent countries and regions have been affected by impacts of weather-related loss events (storms, floods, heat waves etc.). The most recent data available — for 2018 and from 1999 to 2018 — were taken into account. The countries and territories affected most in 2018 were Japan, the Philippines as well as Germany. For the period from 1999 to 2018 Puerto Rico, Myanmar and Haiti rank highest.

The countries most susceptible to heatwaves and prolonged drought – mainly in the global South – are often in a much more precarious situation as they cannot rely upon government support in the form of financial resources or technologies. Furthermore, many African countries are particularly drought-prone and are already subjected to desertification and other forms of land degradation, which negatively impacts agriculture and frequently spurs conflicts over subsistence crops, thus perpetuating food insecurity and the risk of hunger. (page 18)

The Climate Risk Index may serve as a red flag for already existing vulnerabilities that may further increase as extreme events will become more frequent or more severe due to climate change. The heatwaves in Europe, North America and Japan also confirm: High-income countries are feeling climate impacts more clearly than ever before. Effective climate change mitigation is therefore in the self-interest of all countries worldwide. 
At this year’s Climate Summit in Madrid, the second review of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage will investigate whether the body fulfills its mandate to avert, minimise and address loss and damage and whether it is equipped to do so in the future. In that process, COP25 needs to debate the lack of climate finance to address loss and damage. Furthermore, the implementation of measures for adapting to climate change must be strengthened. 
Related: Climate Change in Africa is a Geo-Political Issue. Remarks at a press conference conducted by the African Group of Negotiators on 07 December 2019 during the United Nations Climate Change Conference #COP25 in Madrid, Spain.