Press Release | 08 December 2009

Global Climate Risk Index 2010 - reflecting most severely affected countries over almost two decades

Copenhagen needs to respond

Copenhagen/Bonn, 8 December 2009: The climate and development organization Germanwatch published its Global Climate Risk Index 2010 in Copenhagen today, ranking Bangladesh, Myanmar and Honduras as the countries most severely affected by extreme weather events from 1990 to 2008. When only considering the year 2008, Myanmar, Yemen and Viet Nam have been hit hardest. According to Germanwatch, the Index, based on data made available by the NatCatSERVICE database of Munich Re, underlines the need for the current climate summit to step in and to help those countries to adapt to climate change.

The Global Climate Risk Index of 2010 analysed the impacts of weather-related loss events - mainly storms, floods and heatwaves - for all countries currently negotiating in Copenhagen. Sven Harmeling, author of the Index at Germanwatch, comments: "Weather extremes are an increasing threat for lives and economic values across the world, and their impacts will likely grow larger in the future due to climate change. Our analyses show that in particular poor countries are severely affected."

As Christoph Bals, Political Director at Germanwatch, pointed out today: "It is first and foremost the duty of industrialised countries to implement an adaptation framework for the most vulnerable developing countries. One key element should be an internationally financed insurance mechanism for those countries at risk, financed primarily by those who have caused climate change." Such a mechanism has been developed by Germanwatch together with the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative.

Saleemul Huq, adaptation expert from the Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and originally from Bangladesh, says: "The Germanwatch Climate Risk Index clearly shows the devastating impacts of extreme weather events on many poor countries, including my own. What is remarkable is that many of these countries are already taking action now to prepare for the effects of climate change; they are not just sitting back and waiting. Nevertheless the richer countries have a clear legal and moral responsibility to scale-up adaptation finance, in addition to their commitments to provide development aid of 0.7 percent of their Gross National Income."