Climate change continues to wreak havoc across the world. Several states are reeling from severe spring flooding, and parts of the country are still recovering from last year’s brutal hurricane season. Meanwhile, a study by Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology released this month found that, as a result of climate change, droughts are now coming on faster than can be predicted. While the effects of the crisis can be seen in every nation on earth, some countries face a much higher threat of catastrophic ecological events than others. (See the most destructive storms in U.S. history.)
To find the 27 countries that face catastrophic ecological threats, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the global think tank Institute for Economics & Peace report Ecological Threat Report 2022. The report, which covers 163 countries, identified 27 hotspot countries that face catastrophic ecological threats, while also having the lowest levels of societal resilience (as measured by ongoing domestic and international conflict, societal safety and security, and militarization). Countries are ordered by the number of catastrophic ecological threats in reverse alphabetical order.
We added such measures as the Global Peace Index 2022, which is on a scale of 1-5, whereas 5 is least peaceful; gross domestic product per capita in current U.S. dollars; the Human Development Index (the HDI uses health, education, and economic measures to assess a country’s development on a scale of 0-1 with 1 being most developed); and 2021 and projected 2050 population of each country.
Countries with effective water management, efficient agricultural systems, and strong disaster preparedness have the ability to better withstand an ecological disaster. Being free of conflicts further strengthens a country’s resilience. No single country with a high level of socio-economic resilience has an extremely low ETR score. Conversely, countries plagued by ongoing conflicts exhibit less societal resilience and are ecologically fragile. (Are any among the countries facing the worst climate emergencies?)
The 2022 ETR identifies 27 hotspot countries that face catastrophic ecological threats, while also having the lowest levels of societal resilience. These countries are home to 768 million people. Two-thirds of hotspot countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, with seven of the eight hotspot countries with the highest risk found in that region – Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda. The eighth country is Yemen.
Meanwhile, countries in the Middle East/North Africa account for another 18.5% of hotspot countries. In addition to natural disasters and unstable societies, many of the hotspot countries face food shortages due to supply disruptions caused by the Russia war in Ukraine.