Apr 1, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The countries most vulnerable to global warming

Earth split into two halves, one red and one blue.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

HSBC Global Research analysts are taking an increasingly granular look at which nations are the most and least resilient to climate change.

The big picture: A report this week ranked 77 countries on their capacity to adapt, shift away from fossil fuels, and benefit from growing cleantech markets.

  • The top 5 most resilient countries in their analysis are Sweden, France, Finland, Germany and the U.S.
  • The five most vulnerable are Nigeria, Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania and Tunisia.

Why it matters: It's no secret that global warming will hit poorer nations harder.

  • But HSCB ranks nations based on a very extensive matrix of vulnerabilities and opportunities. The analysis is based on nearly 50 indicators and 0ver 90 data points.
  • They are grouped in categories around temperature and other climatic conditions; food systems; fossil fuel dependence and revenues from low-carbon tech; wealth and inequality levels; governance and more.

The intrigue: HSBC has done versions of this report before.

But the new iteration uses a dozen expanded criteria like biodiversity, gender equality, land elevation, minerals needed for clean energy and, ominously, hospital beds.

Yes, but: While the rankings are important, the report also cautions that just looking at the top and bottom of the list can mask many important factors.

  • To take just a couple of examples, it notes that Qatar and Bahrain experienced the highest average annual temperatures at 28.4˚C and 28.3˚C."
  • In the U.S., meanwhile, the number of people affected by extreme weather is rising, they note.
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