Why Canada is the best haven from climate change

A A A

A group of islands with the potential to develop into a tourist paradise has been named as the country least equipped to withstand the effects of climate change.

The Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean, between Mozambique and Madagascar, are a small nation of sparkling blue lagoons and picture-postcard beaches. But the country is politically unstable and a report published today says it is the world's most vulnerable country to the future impacts of global warming such as increased storms, rising sea levels and agricultural failure.

At the other end of the scale, Canada is the best place to move to if you want to be a climate change survivor in the decades ahead (although Britain is also a good place to be as a warming atmosphere takes hold).

The best-to-worst rankings are revealed in the first-ever climate change vulnerability index, produced by Maplecroft, a British consultancy which specialises in the mapping of risk. Its study, The Climate Change Risk Report, looks in great detail at global warming risks in 168 countries.

Africa is the most vulnerable region, and eight of the 10 most vulnerable countries are African, with the Comoros Islands followed by Somalia and Burundi in second and third places. Only five non-African countries are in the 20 most vulnerable. They are Yemen, Afghanistan, Haiti, Pakistan and Nepal.

As might be expected, developed nations score best. Canada is top, followed by Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The United Kingdom is in 12th position, just behind the US. The surprise in the top 20 is Uruguay, which is listed ninth, and the only well-placed nation not to be in the club of countries which are rich, or Western (and usually both).

The originality of the new study is that it does not predict global warming's impacts, from increased droughts to rising sea levels, which has been done for the past two decades by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Instead, it looks at how countries are fitted to meet them. "We're not saying anything about the changing climate," said Andy Thow, one of the report's authors. "We're saying, what's the situation on the ground in terms of vulnerability? If there were an impact, how vulnerable would the country be?"

Vulnerability is examined by the study across six different sectors – the economy; natural resources and ecosystems; poverty, development and health; agriculture; population, settlement and infrastructure; and institutions, governance and social capital. Eventually a figure is arrived at on the scale of one to 10, with one being the most vulnerable, and 10 the most secure. The Comoros score is 1.21; Canada's score is 8.81. (The UK scores 8.06.)

"The simple reason that Comoros is most vulnerable overall is that it scores poorly across all parts of the index," Dr Thow said.

"The combination of all these factors is worse than for any other country. It scores particularly poorly in the agriculture and natural resources and ecosystems components.

This reflects a situation in which pressure on natural resources is extremely high and there is very limited capacity to adapt to the impacts of changes in climate. That capacity is limited by factors such as poor land quality, low crop production and yields and water stress, combined with a growing population.

"Canada, on the other hand, is extremely well equipped to adapt to changes in climate. It scores well across all aspects of the index. This is because of the low pressure on natural resources resulting from a low population density and large land area, combined with high agricultural capacity, a healthy economy, few development and health challenges and excellent public institutions."

But Dr Thow pointed out that while Maplecroft's work showed Canada was well placed to manage the impacts of climate change on people and society, its wildlife was likely to be seriously affected by the expected magnitude of changes to climate in the Arctic region.

The Comoros also scores lowest in the world (jointly with Chad) on the report's index of emissions of carbon dioxide, which means that the country likely to suffer most from global warming has done the least to cause it.

Worst hit

75% Proportion of the world's 20 most vulnerable nations to climate change that can be found in Africa

The report is available at climate@maplecroft.com

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Web Developer (C#, ASP.NET, AJAX, JavaScript, MVC, HTML)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Web Developer ...

C# R&D .NET Developer-Algorithms, WCF, WPF, Agile, ASP.NET,MVC

£50000 - £67000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# R&D .NE...

C# Developer (Web, HTML5, CSS3, ASP.NET, JS, Visual Studios)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Developer (ASP.NET, F#, SQL, MVC, Bootstrap, JavaScript)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?