Climate Change Vulnerability Index released as floods clobber listed nations

The Climate Change Vulnerability Index, published by UK-based risk analysis and mapping company Maplecroft, was released last week, examining the climate risks and adaptive capacity of 193 nations. A total of 30 countries were classified as being at “extreme risk,” with Haiti, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Madagascar making up the top five most in peril, while India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Thailand all ranked in the top 30. (ENS, Oct. 28; CNN, Oct. 26; Maplecroft, Oct. 21)

As the report hits the news, Bangkok faces a growing emergency. Flood defenses were breached on Oct. 29 in the Thonburi district, bringing water to the outskirts of the central tourist and business areas. The Chao Phraya river, which wends through the city, is predicted to break its banks in coming days as coastal tides swell its volume, threatening to inundate central areas. The floods have had a devastating impact on the country. More than 380 people have been killed and a third of Thailand’s provinces have suffered serious flooding, affecting 2.2 million people. (The Guardian, Oct. 29)

The needs of flood-hit Pakistanis are rising as winter approaches, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned Oct. 28. In southern Sindh, stagnant water remains a major environmental and health hazard, and water-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue are on the rise. An outbreak of diarrhoeal illness was reported in a camp for displaced residents in Sanghar district. (Dawn, Oct. 29)

The death toll in Mexico and Central America climbed to 90 this weekend as torrential rain storms continued, causing deadly mudslides and massive flooding. More than 250,000 people have been affected across the region, mostly in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco. (EFE, Oct. 23; LAHT, Oct. 17; Xinhua, Oct. 16)

The region was also devastated by flooding at this time last year.

See our last post on the climate crisis and our special feature on Extreme Weather.

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  1. Report: global carbon dioxide output soaring
    From AlJazeera, Nov. 4:

    The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the US department of energy has calculated, in a sign of how weak the world’s efforts have been at slowing man-made global warming.

    The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.

    “The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing,” John Reilly, co-director of MIT’s Joint Programme on the Science and Policy of Global Change, said.

    The world pumped about 564 million more tonnes of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009, an increase of six per cent.

    That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries—China, the US and India, the world’s top producers of greenhouse gases.

    It is a “monster” increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, who has helped calculate Department of Energy figures in the past.

    Extra pollution in China and the US account for more than half the increase in emissions last year, Marland said.