Poorer Countries Play Catch-Up on Climate Adjustments

Author: Allison Prang, The Wall Street Journal

The researchers who compiled the latest Notre Dame Global Adaption Index say their data show that the world’s poorest countries are likely a century behind the world’s wealthiest countries in their ability to deal with climate change.

The index ranks countries based on various factors tied to vulnerability and readiness to look at how well countries can hold up against and adapt to climate change. According to the 2013 data, the top five countries are Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Finland and Australia. The bottom five countries on the index are Eritrea, the Central African Republic, Burundi, Afghanistan and the North Korea. A total of 177 countries were given rankings in this year’s index.

The U.S. was ranked by the index at 13. In the past, the U.S. has ranked much higher on the ranking scale – back in 1995, the U.S. was at No. 4.

The rankings were released at an event at the Wilson Center in Washington.
Director of the Notre Dame Interdisciplinary Center on Network Science Nitesh Chawla used the recent typhoon in the Philippines as an example to illustrate the readiness gap.

“According to the data, the Philippines are about 40 years behind the most developed countries in climate readiness,” he said in a news release. “While that’s better than the poorest countries, it shows that the Philippines still has a long way to go.”

At Thursday’s event, ND-GAIN also awarded Pepsico and Monsanto corporate adaptation prizes, based off of their work in India and Kenya respectively.