India, Cambodia, Philippines Top Climate Risk Index

December 3, 2014 — Environmental group Germanwatch announced that, from 1994 to 2013, 15,000 incidents of extreme weather killed more than 530,000 people. Tuesday’s announcement came as representatives from 195 countries met to discuss ways to decrease damage caused by anthropogenic climate change.

Extreme weather from climate change affects poorer nations more than rich ones. Germanwatch’s Climate Risk Index found that Honduras, Myanmar and Haiti were worst affected by climate disasters from 1994 to 2013.Germanwatch's Climate Risk Index

“These results show the particular vulnerability of poor countries regarding climate risks, despite the fact that the absolute monetary damage in rich countries is substantially higher,” Germanwatch reported.

Germanwatch used data from reinsurance company Munich Re and the International Monetary Fund, basing its index on death tolls from extreme weather - droughts, floods, storms and more - deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, absolute economic losses and losses as a percentage of gross domestic product. The group could not project its Climate Risk Index into the future, although the text held plenty of warnings.

Victims ‘remain victims’

Financial damages from disasters over two decades reached nearly $2.2 trillion (1.8 billion euros). In 2013 alone, the damage amounted to $131.5 billion dollars, according to the report, which took the dollar at its 1994 value. The sum reaches north of $200 billion when adjusted for fluctuations in purchasing power parity over the past 20 years.

In 2013, monsoon-battered Cambodia and typhoon-hit India, followed the Philippines, in the top spot after Typhoon Haiyan killed 6,300 people and caused $13 billion in damage. “It is clear that those who have been victims so far remain victims into the future and negotiations have not yet made much headway,” Heherson Alvarez, a delegate from the Philippines, said Tuesday. “It’s not a Chinese, US or European dilemma,” Alvarez added. “It is a dilemma of the human species.”

Launched Monday in Lima, Peru, the 12-day UN Framework Convention on Climate Change kicks off a yearlong effort toward an agreement to limit warming to a total of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6F) above pre-industrial revolution levels. Nations will convene in Paris in December 2015 to finalize their agreement.

The UN’s panel of climate scientists has said that every continent, from Africa to the Americas and Oceania to Asia and Europe, has shown the impacts of global warming, with increasing temperatures causing more heat waves, downpours and rising sea levels. Scientists say that though they cannot link every individual weather event to climate change, the frequency of such aberrations has increased. This year should rank among the warmest on record. -

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