Extreme weather, related to climate change, is showing its worst face. Yesterday, for example, the passage of Typhoon Kammuri forced the evacuation of 200,000 Filipinos from their homes. Today those evacuated by other types of natural disasters could be us. The growing consequences of climate change are affecting not only the poorest countries, such as Burma or Haiti, but also some of the richest countries in the world, as can be seen from the "Global Climate Risk Index 2020", published by Germanwatch experts and presented today at the Climate Summit in Madrid.
In fact, Japan was the most affected country of 2018, the last year covered by the data. In Japan, almost 1,300 people lost their lives due to the extreme weather recorded last year and the damages caused by these meteorological phenomena amount to 35.8 billion dollars. It is not the only rich country affected. Germany and Canada are also among the most affected. Although, in the top 3 of the most affected countries are: Japan, the Philippines and Germany. Thus, while industrialized countries were the most affected by heat waves and severe drought, the Philippines was hit by the most powerful typhoon recorded in all of 2018. Then, in the top 10, they are after the aforementioned: Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Rwanda, Canada and Fiji.
This risk index also throws vulnerability over a period of years. And here there is no doubt, it was the poor countries that had to face higher impacts: seven of the ten most affected countries between 1999 and 2018 were developing countries or with low average income per capita. Thus, in this period Puerto Rico, Burma and Haiti were the countries most affected by the worst face of extreme weather events.
Heat waves were one of the main causes of damage in 2018. Of the ten countries most affected last year, Germany, Japan and India suffered prolonged periods of heat. Recent science has confirmed the long-established link between climate change and the frequency and severity of extreme heat. In Europe, for example, extreme heat is now up to 100 times more likely than a century ago. In addition, due to lack of data, the impacts of heat waves on the African continent may be undervalued.
Spain, increasingly vulnerable
Spain is also severely affected. In fact, our country is becoming increasingly vulnerable. Thus, Spain is ranked 38th in the most vulnerable countries in the 2018 ranking. Last year, with 2017 data, we were, instead, in 34th place. This report also shows average rankings for periods of several years. , and there Spain worsens in category, and falls from 34th place (which it had with data from 1998 to 2017) to 29 (1999 to 2018).
"The climate risk index shows that climate change has disastrous effects, especially for poor countries, but also causes increasingly serious damage in industrialized countries such as Japan or Germany," says David Eckstein of Germanwatch.
Half a million dead
In the last 20 years, worldwide, the more than 12,000 extreme weather events caused almost 500,000 deaths in the world and caused damage of about 3.54 billion US dollars.
Although climate impacts begin to result in permanent losses and damage worldwide, there is still no specific climate financing mechanism that reimburses losses of land, culture and damage. To date, industrialized countries have refused to negotiate. Something that is expected to be changed in this COP25, where, for the first time, financial support for climate-related losses and damages occupies a prominent place on the agenda. For the poorest countries this section is essential. They need states to reach an agreement to support those who suffer. Otherwise, they will continue to rely on loans to deal with the damage of climate change, which will make them even more indebted.
"Countries like Haiti, the Philippines and Pakistan are repeatedly beaten by extreme weather events and do not have time to fully recover. That underscores the importance of having reliable financial support mechanisms for poor countries like these not only in adapting to climate change, but also to face the weather, losses and damages, ”adds Eckstein.
"The climate summit must address the lack of additional climate finance to help the poorest people and countries cope with losses and damages. They are the most affected by the impacts of climate change because they lack the financial and technical capacity to deal with losses and damages, "emphasizes Laura Schaefer of Germanwatch. “Therefore, the climate conference should result in the decision to regularly determine the support needs of vulnerable countries for future damage. In addition, COP25 must decide the necessary steps to generate financial resources to meet these needs. And the implementation of climate change adaptation must also be strengthened, ”he adds.
(tagsToTranslate) Madrid Climate Summit