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Global Climate Risk Index 2020

Topics Covered:

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Global Climate Risk Index 2020

What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings.

For Mains: Concerns expressed and ways to address them.


Context: The international environmental think tank ‘Germanwatch’ has recently released the Global Climate Risk Index 2020.

The annually published Risk Index analyses to what extent countries have been affected by the impacts of weather-related loss events (storms, floods, heat waves etc.).

Germanwatch, based in Bonn and Berlin (Germany), is an independent development and environmental organisation which works for sustainable global development.


Key findings:

On India:

  1. India is the fifth most vulnerable country to climate change.
  2. In 2020, India’s rank has worsened from the 14th spot in 2017 to 5th in 2018 in the global vulnerability.
  3. India has also recorded the highest number of fatalities due to climate change and the second highest monetary losses from its impact in 2018.
  4. India’s high rank is due to severe rainfalls, followed by heavy flooding and landslide that killed over 1000 people.


Global scenario:

  • Japan is the worst-hit country in 2018 (the last year covered by the data), while Germany and Canada were both also in the ‘bottom 10’, that is, the most affected.
  • The results reflect the increasing damage caused by heatwaves, which scientists have found are being worsened by the climate change.

How climate change impacts extreme weather events?

Many studies have concluded that the “frequency, intensity, and duration of some extreme weather events have been changing as the climate system has warmed.”

  • For instance, global warming leads to higher temperatures which leads to intensification of the water cycles. This means that there will be more droughts, along with increased floods due to drier soil and increased humidity.
  • Extreme precipitation is expected to increase as global warming intensifies the global hydrological cycle. Thereby, single precipitation events are expected to increase in intensity at a higher rate than global mean changes in total precipitation.

Further, surface sea temperatures impact increase in storms, wind speeds and precipitation too.

Climate change is also impacting desertification and degradation of land, increasing the risk of the former in the future. This has negative implications for loss of biodiversity as well a potential increase in wildfires.


Sources: the Hindu.