Durban/Bonn, 29 November 2011: While the UN climate summit at Durban has started under the impression of severe local thunderstorms, the climate and development organization Germanwatch publishes its Global Climate Risk Index (CRI) for the seventh time. The index focuses on countries especially affected by weather extremes such as floodings and storms in 2010 and during the past twenty years. The Global Climate Risk Index is based on data collected in the worldwide renowned database at MunichRe.
Sven Harmeling, Team Leader International Climate Policy at Germanwatch and the index’s author: "Both extraordinary weather extremes in 2010 left their footprint in this year’s Climate Risk Index. More than 1500 people died in Pakistan after floodings across the country, causing damages of several billion dollars. These losses moved Pakistan on top of the ranking. A heat wave in Russia has caused more than 50.000 deaths. Many parts of the country were set in flames. This results in Russia ranking fourth in the Index." According to studies by the German Potsdam Institut für Klimafolgenforschung (PIK) the man-made climate change had with an 80 percent certainty a significant influence on those heatwaves.
Guatemala and Colombia rank second and third in 2010 after being hit by storms and floodings. Even though the analysis of damages and deaths cannot lead to conclusions yet on the influence of climate change at these events, it does provide a sense of their vulnerability to climate change.
Sven Harmeling: "The findings can be seen as a warning signal to be better prepared for a higher level of extreme weather events. To be prepared for the future, we need to understand our past’s lectures. Unfortunately, the current inadequate promises of the world’s governments to fight climate change will push our limits of preparing for disasters and adaptation. Durban’s climate summit will also be decisive for necessary commitments made by all governments to reverse the global emissions trend."
From 1991 to 2010 there were 710,000 deaths caused by weather extremes, as well as more than 2.3 trillion US-Dollar damages. All of the top ten countries that have been mostly hit by weather extremes during the past twenty years were developing countries. Those include Bangladesh, Myanmar and Honduras.
The Global Climate Risk Index 2012 is available at www.germanwatch.org/cri.htm