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Bangladesh rated world’s most vulnerable country to climate change

A third of global economic output worth $44 trillion is likely to face ‘high’ or ‘extreme’ risk as a result of global warming

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Bangladesh is set to suffer more from climate change by 2025 than any other country, warns a new report by risk analysts Maplecroft.

It says rising sea levels, severe storms and other extreme climate-related events will also threaten the future of the country’s capital Dhaka, along with Mumbai, Manila, Kolkata and Bangkok.

Maplecroft’s 2013 Climate Change and Environmental Risk Atlas reveals that 31% of global economic output worth $44 trillion is likely to face ‘high’ or ‘extreme’ risk as a result of global warming.

“With global brands investing heavily in vulnerable growth markets to take advantage of the spending power of rising middle class populations, we are seeing increasing business exposure to extreme climate related events on multiple levels, including their operations, supply chains and consumer base,” said James Allan, one of the authors.

“Cyclone Phailin demonstrates the critical need for business to monitor the changing frequency and intensity of climate related events, especially where infrastructure and logistics are weak.”

Phailin hit the Bay of Bengal in early October, prompting India’s largest civil evacuation in 23 years, with over 550,000 people leaving their homes.

The storm caused an estimated US$4.15 billion of damage to the agriculture and power sectors in the state of Odisha, while around one million tonnes of rice were destroyed

Maplecroft’s ratings are based on three indicators: the level of exposure faced by regions, the sensitivity of populations to change and their adaptive capacity.

While the news that Bangladesh is at high risk may not surprise many analysts, the country’s Government appears increasingly concerned at its acute vulnerability to climate change.

Last year Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened a climate adaptation fund worth US$350 million, amid fears it will face devastating storms on an annual basis.

Of particular concern to the business community are the growing risks faced by the world’s leading emerging economies, China and India.

By 2025, China’s GDP is estimated to treble from current levels to $28 trillion, while India’s is forecast to rise to $5 trillion – totalling nearly 23% of global economic output between them.

Maplecroft says China’s manufacturing heartland, encompassing the cities of Guangzhou, Dongguan and Foshan are among the most exposed to physical risks from extreme climate-related events.

West Africa and the Sahel face the most increased levels of risk, with Nigeria now rated as the sixth most climate vulnerable economy on the planet.

Bangladesh UN envoy on international climate talks goals:

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