Global Climate Risk Index 2020 and Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage

Context: The Global Climate Risk Index 2020 analyses to what extent countries and regions have been affected by impacts of weather-related loss events (storms, floods, heatwaves etc.).

  • The most recent data available— for 2018 and from 1999 to 2018 —were taken into account.

Analysis

  • Global Climate Risk Index is an annual ranking that measures the damage done by extreme weather to human life and economies.
  • It is published by environmental think-tank Germanwatch.
  • The countries and territories affected most in 2018 were Japan, the Philippines as well as Germany.
  • For the period from 1999 to 2018 Puerto Rico, Myanmar and Haiti rank highest.
  • Both Japan and Germany were hit hard by heatwaves and drought that year.
  • In 2018, a severe summer heatwave in Japan killed 138 people and caused more than 70,000 people to be hospitalised with heat stroke and exhaustion, the report said.
  • And in Germany, the period from April-July 2018 was the hottest ever recorded in the country, leading to the deaths of over 1,200 people.
  • Across Europe, extreme heat spells are now up to 100 times more likely than a century ago, says the report.
  • It noted that the impact of heatwaves on African countries may be under-represented due to a lack of data.
  • The heatwaves in Europe, North America and Japan also confirm: High-income countries are feeling climate impacts more clearly than ever before.
  • Powerful storms also left a trail of destruction in 2018, with the Philippines second in the climate risk index due to large losses when it was battered by top-strength Typhoon Mangkhut – the most powerful typhoon recorded worldwide in 2018.
  • Madagascar was the fourth most weather-affected country as two cyclones killed about 70 people and forced 70,000 to seek refuge.
  • Looking at the period between 1999 -2018, poor countries had to face much higher impacts.
  • Seven of the ten countries most affected in this period are developing countries with low or lower middle income per capita.
  • Between 1998 and 2017, disaster-hit countries reported $2.9 trillion in direct economic losses, with 77% resulting from climate change, according to a United Nations report.
  • The U.S. faced the highest losses, followed by China, Japan, and India.
  • India — in fifth position — suffered water shortages, crop failures and worst flooding, Germanwatch said in the report.
  • India has fallen from its 15th rank of countries hit most by climate change-induced weather phenomena in 2017, to number five in 2018.
  • The report says that in India, it was the 2018 monsoon that severely affected the country and contributed to its sliding to the number 5 position.
  • The state of Kerala was especially impacted, 324 people died because of drowning or being buried in the landslides set off by the flooding – the worst in one hundred years.

Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage

  • The L&D Mechanism was established at the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) in Warsaw, Poland, which took place in November 2013.
  • The aim of the L&D Mechanism is to address loss and damage associated with impacts of climate change, including extreme events (such as hurricanes, heat waves, etc.) and slow onset events (such as desertification, sea level rise, ocean acidification, etc.) in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • The L&D Mechanism will promote the implementation of approaches to addresses loss and damage in three ways:
  1. Enhancing knowledge and understanding of comprehensive risk management approaches;
  2. Strengthening dialogue, coordination, coherence and synergies among relevant stakeholders;
  3. Enhancing action and support, including finance, technology and capacity–building.

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