Climate change: which countries are most at risk? Click on this interactive map to find out

David Wheeler at CGD has updated his interactive map of climate risk (this is the link for the interactive map, not the screen grab picture to the right – no point in clicking on that). This covers 169 countries,  across four dimensions: Extreme Weather, Sea Level climate change interactive mapRise, Agricultural Productivity Loss and Overall. In the overall category, China comes out as the most at risk country in the world, followed by India, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Vietnam. That helps explain the upsurge in interest in the issue in China and other G20 emerging countries, where public concern has overtaken that in the developed countries. Surprisingly, several Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia and Libya, emerge as the least at-risk countries, with Egypt the safest of all. I guess this refers to levels of risk before considering the country’s adaptive capacity, otherwise you would expect more developed countries to head the list. i.e. the difference between risk and resilience. Here’s CGD’s blurb: “The maps draw upon a comprehensive new dataset described in a new working paper, ‘Quantifying Vulnerability to Climate Change: Implications for Adaptation Assistance’. The dataset is the first to cover the entire world: 233 countries and other political jurisdictions. The paper presents a methodology for aid donors and others to craft cost-effective assistance for climate adaptation which can be applied consistently to all 233 states and all three problems, or to any subset. The map displays color-coded rankings for 169 of the 233 states. Small islands, which are very highly vulnerable to sea level rise, and other small jurisdictions cannot be displayed on a map of this resolution but are nonetheless included in the paper and dataset. The paper presents two sample applications of the data: assistance for 20 small, poor island states to adapt to sea-level rise and general assistance for all low-income countries to adapt to extreme weather changes, sea-level rise, and reduced agricultural productivity.”]]>

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9 Responses to “Climate change: which countries are most at risk? Click on this interactive map to find out”
  1. Looks like a great map. It would be readable if it followed design standards that bar the communication of essential information solely through color. If they cannot be cleaned up first, kindly refrain from publishing such problematic graphics in the future.
    Duncan: errm, care to expand a bit for the graphically challenged, Anthony?

  2. Andy Norton

    Duncan, the CGD map has two rankings – one of direct vulnerability, another of what they term ‘indirect vulnerability’. The second one is supposed to take account of adaptive capacity. However, I found that even on the second map the US is rated significantly more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than Yemen. I cannot imagine how that can possibly be right….
    Duncan: thanks Andy, that is indeed odd. Wonder if David Wheeler cd clarify?

  3. The first thing that jumps out in the page is the map image. In the original, it is inconsistent with the guidelines of the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite (WAI-ARIA) of World Wide Web Consortium (WC3). On the Oxfam page as a static image it degrades because of its reliance on color to communicate 100% of the information.
    Ten percent of the men in North America and the UK have some form of colorblindness, which makes the editorial choices the most memorable aspects of the page, rather than the content itself.
    In attempting to find the original source of the map, I was at first unable to do so because the links aren’t underlined and I was in too much of a rush to pick up on the text note about the link to the map. I assumed that the bold (with or without color?) font was merely for emphasis (thereby disguising the link) and instead ended up wasting time going through the link to read the larger report itself, which lacks the map that is the subject of your page.
    New visitors shouldn’t have to retrain themselves on how to read and navigate your site before figuring out what the links are, how they’re hidden, and how to use them.
    You could look at Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) of the W3C. A practical summary and implementation guidelines are contained in Universal Design for Web Applications by Wendy Chisholm and Matt May, published by O’Reilly in 2009.
    In addition to non-standard links, other usability and accessibility issues include:
    1. Low-contrast (greyscaled or containing red or green?) fonts that cause eyestrain.
    2. A lack of site maps and other aids to navigation, which hinders search engine indexing as well as accessibility by humans.
    3. The photo labeling and tagging is poor or non-existent.
    4. The site is practically impossible to understand by people using readers.
    The benefit of making your site more accessible to all people is that it becomes more accessible to search engines, which in turn attracts more readers.
    Last but not least, hopefully the comments box can be made distinguishable from the white background.

  4. Pete H

    I guess that countries which already have the most extreme climates – like Saudi Arabia, Libya or Egypt have least to lose and most to gain from climate change. Maybe they are likely to get cooller and wetter (OK – their geography will take time to adapt to having more water).
    On the other hand for countries with a high population density and highly productive agriculture any change can only disturb a fine balance.

  5. Hi, my name is Julio Espinoza, I work for an environmental NGO in Nicaragua: the Humboldt Center ( I follow the posts in your web page with great interest, congratulations for your contributions to a more sustainable world.
    I tried to get the “working paper” trough this link and I couldnt get the paper, apparently acrobat sends a message saying the document can´t be opened, can you tell me how can I get this paper?
    thank you, keep the good work.

  6. Mahfuja Parven

    Greetings. I came from Bangladesh most vulnerable country which is affected by Climate Change.The rate of sea level rise is 7mm/ year in the coastal areas of Bangladesh . According to a study , the local sea level at Chittagong port has increased by asmuch as 25 c.m between 1944 to 1964. The sea level in the Bay of Bengal is predicted to rise 83 c.m to 153 c.m by the year 2050 . An increase in the sea level raises the base level of rivers which in turn reduces river flow. This certainly seems to be one of the contributing factors for the increased flooding intensity in Bangladesh.
    Asia’s largest rivers, the Padma and the Brahmaputra join in the world’s most extensive delta and flow into the Bay of Bengal.There lies Bangladesh , a nation of 145 million people beset by poverty and the floods of the rivers and now also affected by raising sea levels. For this, global warming and its effects is an important issue for Bangladesh and whole world.Thanks all. Best Wishes and Best Regards.

  7. Shupiwe

    How do these compare to countries at risk from peak oil? Or peak fossil fuels? Or peak bauxite? It would be interesting to compare these. The gulf states would fare much worse and Europe and the west as well as BRIC might also do worse.

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