The countries most vulnerable to climate change, in 3 maps

Author: Ana Swanson

The Washington Post


What is the best place to weather climate change? Research by the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index, or ND-GAIN, suggests it is Scandinavia. In a pinch, though, any developed country will do. As these maps by ND-GAIN illustrate, developed countries are far less vulnerable than developing countries to the risks of climate change.

ND-GAIN ranks 175 countries both by vulnerability and readiness to adapt to climate change. The group measures vulnerability by considering the potential impact of climate change on six areas: food, water, health, ecosystem service, human habitat and infrastructure. The readiness rank weights portions of the economy, governance and society that affect the speed and efficiency of adaptation projects.

The areas in red, including most of Africa and South Asia, are very vulnerable to climate change and ill-prepared to deal with its impact. The few countries in blue, including Vietnam, Ghana, Rwanda, Namibia and Botswana, are countries that are vulnerable but are relatively well equipped. Countries in yellow are less vulnerable but also less prepared. The countries in green, which include most of the world’s developed countries, are both less vulnerable and better equipped to deal with the challenge of climate change.

Here is the map broken down by readiness, with green indicating “more ready” and red indicating “less ready”:

And here is the map for vulnerability:

According to the index, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden and Finland are best equipped to deal with the pressures of climate change, while the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Burundi and Chad are the worst equipped.