BATH, United Kingdom — The phenomenon of climate change is well underway, with many nations already experiencing first-hand the effects of drought, increasing agricultural uncertainty and perhaps most worrisome of all, rising ocean levels.
This global change in temperature does not affect all countries equally. Some countries have prepared themselves for the effects of climate change by investing in environmental technology, and others are naturally protected from extreme meteorological deviations, especially those nations with little coastline or a temperate climate.
The World Bank and consultant firm Maplecroft have drawn up lists of the countries most at risk of experiencing the adverse effects of climate change. Many of the countries they expect to suffer are low-income countries that lack the capability to adequately prepare themselves for the changing climate. Listed below are five countries threatened by climate change.
This low-income country leads Maplecroft’s Climate Change Vulnerability Index, as its low-lying geography and extensive coastline put it at high-risk of flooding from both rising oceans and the increasing prevalence of storms.
Though Bangladesh is making significant progress toward reducing poverty and may well complete all of the Millennium Development Goals, that progress could be wiped away in just a few decades, throwing many of its 47 million poor even further into poverty.
Malawi is no stranger to the effects of climate change. This African nation is already experiencing the unpredictable meteorological swing between extended drought periods and the flooding caused by the rainy season. It has taken a toll on Malawi’s agricultural output, not good for a country that depends on agriculture to keep its economy afloat.
Though it does not border the ocean, Malawi is listed among the nations most threatened by climate change because its agricultural destruction alone is enough to cause severe consequences for its millions of people.
Another African nation with no coastline, Ethiopia is threatened by the changing weather patterns associated with climate change. Droughts plague the country when farmers’ crops begin to grow, and the rainy season now comes long after the fields could use a shower. These changes are causing water and food insecurity in this large country and increasing the rate of poverty.
Tuvalu is just one of many small island countries around the world, and all face danger the presence of climate change. Tuvalu is just one of many island nations that risks total eradication due to rising sea levels, which could soon put this tiny nation underwater entirely.
In fact, Tuvalu has already begun to experience the effects of climate change. Scientists attribute a 2011 drought on the atoll to global temperature increases. What is even scarier is that Tuvalu is classified as an upper-middle-income country. If Tuvalu cannot save itself from the devastating effects of a changing climate, how can low-income countries?
Haiti is classified as having “extreme risk” of experiencing the effects of a changing climate, but this is not only because it is a relatively small nation located on an island. Haiti is also located in a “hurricane corridor,” meaning that it is hit year after year by tropical storms that deplete its agricultural output.
Throw climate change into the mix, and the reality is more frequent, more unpredictable and more severe storms, in addition to rising sea levels. What is worse is that deforestation in Haiti has already weakened its ecosystem; it cannot endure too much more. Climate change could very well send waters sweeping over this small nation, taking everything with it. Countries threatened by climate change are in serious danger.
– Elise Riley