November 18, 2013

Global Climate Risk Index 2013 Released at the UN climate Summit - And South Asia is high up on risks.

Global Climate Risk Index released:: Super Typhoon Haiyan draws attention to wide-spread extreme climate risks.
The devastation caused by the recent super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda to the Philippines people) in the Philippines has drawn the world's attention with its massive loss of human lives and physical damage, and the fact that this happened just as the UN climate negotiations were beginning - have strongly brought home the message that unless the global comity of nations tackle climate changing emissions at the earliest and at the fastest pace, the world will see many such climate disasters.
The climatic disaster in the Indian (and part of Nepal) Himalayas, in the month of June, where also the official death figures crossed 5000 (the ground reports speaks about more than double that figure), in the mountain States of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, seem to be already fading out of public memory. Is this going to be the pattern -- the shock of a massive disaster raises our concerns, puts people in to action mode -- only for a brief while, after which the lull, the complacency returns !! Back to the Business As Usual pathways!
On the 2nd day of the UN climate Conference (COP19) here in Warsaw, this year's "Global Climate Risk Index" was officially released, and not so surprisingly - Haiti topped the list, because of the nearly 200,000 people who lost their homes during Hurricane Sandy, and the total devastation of the small nations economy and public infrastructure by that impact.
The list is prepared by GermanWatch, from different damage data, but largely supplied by insurance industry, and is thus - limited. The categorization is done based on losses of lives and property from climate events, from 1993 to 2012. Haiti was the worst affected, followed by Philippines and Pakistan.
It needs to be noted that all the top (!) ten countries - those that have suffered maximum damages from climate disasters from 1993 to 2012, are developing, often the poorest (in terms of per capita income) countries. And more alarmingly for those of us from the area known as "South Asia", almost all SA countries (except Sri Lanka and Maldives) are there in the ill-famous Top-Ten! And a reminder, this do not include the massive disasters in India in 2013 - either in the Himalayas or in Odisha & Andhra Pradesh coasts from the near-super cyclone Phailin.


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