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May 9, 2024

In Charts: Over 40% of high-emitting countries also at high risk from climate change

The Verisk Maplecroft report found that high-emitting countries will see an increase in the number of days they experience extreme heat in a year © AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
The Verisk Maplecroft report found that high-emitting countries will see an increase in the number of days they experience extreme heat in a year © AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Data shows ‘overlap’ between the ‘drivers’ and ‘sufferers’ of climate change

High-emitting countries, 30 of which are collectively responsible for 90 per cent of global carbon emissions, are also at risk from the effects of climate change, shows data by consultancy Verisk Maplecroft. 

Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates will be among the most exposed countries to the effects of climate change, the data reveals. Analysts calculated a climate risk score for the world’s top-30 polluters based on their exposure to hazards including heatwaves, extreme precipitation and sea level rise. Of the 30 countries, 43 per cent received scores indicating they are exposed to “high” or “very high” levels climate risk ahead of 2080.

The researchers mapped the top-30 emitting countries’ climate risk across three future scenarios: a “best-case scenario”, where warming is limited to less than 2C before 2080; a “middle-of-the-road”, scenario where warming is limited to below 3.5C by 2080; and a “worst-case scenario”, based on current policy pledges, which would see temperatures reach towards 5C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.

‘Drivers or sufferers’

Verisk Maplecroft head of sustainable finance James Lockhart Smith says the data results could have implications for the climate change conference process. During COP negotiations, “countries [debate as if they are] either drivers or sufferers of climate change”, he says. 

“But our analysis reveals a clear overlap between those perpetuating global warming and the societies and economies set to face the harshest consequences,” he adds.

The data shows that Egypt, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Vietnam and Brazil will see some of the worst impacts of climate change under all three scenarios, even if warming is limited to 2C. 

India continues to rank second globally for coal supply and third in the world for oil supply, after the US and China, data from the International Energy Agency shows.

Data from global energy think-tank Ember shows electricity generation from fossil fuels in all of these countries is growing.

Extreme heat

Verisk Maplecroft found that high-emitting countries will see an increase in the number of days they experience extreme heat in a year. “Heat itself is likely to be the single-biggest threat to economic activity, and indeed human life in these countries,” the report adds.

High-emitting countries in south-east Asia and South America will see the most dramatic differences in temperatures. Meanwhile, Gulf states, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which are already very hot climates, will not see such significant increases in temperature.

Influence on the COP process

A greater awareness of the “overlap” between heavy emitters and those most at risk of the effects of climate change could help to reinvigorate “stalled progress” in recent COP conferences, the report says. 

However, as climate risks will be more extreme in certain regions, exemplified by increases in heat, “self-interest could become even more entrenched” as some states are better adapted to cope with the changes, the report adds.

A service from the Financial Times