These countries need help.
The inequality of climate change is evident. The countries least responsible for the climate crisis are suffering the most and these are also the countries that aren’t equipped to handle the consequences of a warming planet.
A 2022 Oxfam study illustrates that the 10 worst climate hotspots in the world are responsible for a negligible 0.13% of global emissions. Meanwhile, the G20 countries contribute 76% of global emissions, 650 times higher than these 10.
“At the backdrop of a worsening climate-hunger crisis, leaders of rich polluting countries, mostly in the global industrialized North, continue to support fossil-fuel companies that despoil the environment for a massive profit–one that often funds their election campaigns,” the report scathingly explains.
These countries are least prepared to handle the crisis, too. As per MIT’s Global Future Index 2022, Europe is making great strides as it prepares to invest in clean energy and reduce its carbon emissions. On the other hand, African and Asian nations are exposed to extreme weather events without the resources to mitigate the risks.
West Africa’s Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. People face humanitarian crises due to food insecurity, regional instability, and displacement. The climate crisis exacerbates their suffering as droughts, torrential rains, and floods destroy agricultural output.
Around 85% of the population depends on agriculture, but the consistent downpour has been destroying farmlands and ravaging homes. As per the UN, more than 4.4 million face food insecurity and more than a million have been displaced. Things will continue to get worse. According to the IPCC, temperatures in the Sahel region are rising 1.5 times faster than in the rest of the world.
In August this year, Pakistan and Afghanistan were crippled by flash floods. In Afghanistan, more than 180 people died and 8,000 were displaced. Prior to that, the country also dealt with the double blow of an earthquake and continuing drought. It is also one of the most vulnerable countries due to its position, the rising temperature, and the lack of climate mitigation policies and resources.
The humanitarian crises are multifold in the war-torn country. The temperature has risen 1.8 degrees Celsius between 1950-2010, twice as much as the global average. According to the UN, 95% of Afghans are not getting enough to eat. And since the Taliban took over, international aid and funding have been blocked. Environmental disasters will lead to more long-term suffering if the world doesn’t take notice.
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Haiti depends primarily on agriculture, however the country Haiti is dealing with storms and droughts, which have reduced its food production and driven 4.4 million people to acute hunger in 2021. Still reeling from the deadly earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Mathew in 2016, the Caribbean nation is facing a decline in rainfall, rising sea levels due to a warming planet, and landslides caused by deforestation.
According to Oxfam, Somalia is ranked 172 out of 182 countries when it comes to the ability to cope with climate change. The worst drought in nearly 50 years has pushed over 7 million people to hunger and around 3 million livestock have perished. Since January 2022, nearly a million have fled their homes.
The report also makes clear the contrast with the U.S., which has also faced severe droughts since 2020–the U.S.’s $23 trillion GDP has helped it recover quicker and adapt better.
Southeast Asia is most at-risk from climate change. Extreme weather events are increasing and the countries are already suffering from the compounded problems of floods, typhoons, cyclones, high sea levels, heatwaves, and droughts. The Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia are all extremely vulnerable.
Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is the fastest sinking city. The highly populated country is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and was the fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2015. Indonesia has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 29%-41% by 2030, but Climate Action Tracker rates its targets as highly insufficient. MIT’s report has analyzed that the country pushed back its climate change agendas after the pandemic.