How Do We Help The Countries Most Vulnerable To Climate Change?

By Tyler MacDonald Apr 05, 2016 09:35 PM EDT
Climate Change
With poorer countries having a harder time adapting to the increasing effects of climate change, many are wondering how we can help them through the process.

Now that the Paris climate agreement has successfully pushed 195 nations to reduce their emissions in the struggle to prevent global warming, a new questions arises: How will the countries most vulnerable to climate change - usually the poorest ones - respond and adapt, and how can we help them?

A global index managed by the University of Notre Dame reveals the five countries that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change: Eritrea, Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The findings stem from 25 years of data that take into account countries' preparedness for risks connected to climate change such as overcrowding, food insecurity and civil conflicts.

The least vulnerable countries are New Zealand, Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Germany, and ideally they will help their neighbors financially to ensure that the less vulnerable regions are properly prepared to adapt to climate change.

At the Paris Conference of Parties climate talks, the wealthy nations agreed to provide $100 billion through 2020 to the least developed countries in order to help them combat the negative effects of climate change. The money given to these countries - which are defined by the United Nations - will flow through the Green Climate Fund.

"We will not leave the most vulnerable nations among us to weather the storms alone," said John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, shortly after announcing that the U.S. plans to double its grant money over the four next years with the goal of aiding vulnerable countries in their response to climate change.

Despite the benefits of this financial support, it is important to understand that for vulnerable countries, adapting to climate change is not necessarily about money, it's about the fact that climate change will alter numerous facets of each country.

"Many countries are grappling with a hierarchy of needs that puts climate risk close to the bottom," said Joyce Coffee, managing director of the global index, suggesting that the least developed countries need to grapple with widespread poverty, which can influence other factors such as health and corruption. "While I believe very strongly that solutions to climate come from within a country, they won't come until leaders embrace the changes that are coming."

Ideally, the financial aid provided by the least vulnerable counties can help the countries most vulnerable to climate change by reducing poverty and getting them started on the path to adapting to the new world. 

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