Chinese provinces top list of areas most vulnerable to climate change
Image credit: WiNG
A list of the world’s regions that are most vulnerable to climate change finds that states and provinces in China and the US will be hit hardest, along with major cities and centres of economic activity around the world.
A ranking of the physical climate risk of every state, province and territory in the world has been calculated by XDI, which assesses the physical risks posed by the changing climate.
The study is based on a 3°C increase in temperatures by the end of the century, under a scenario drawn up by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“This is the first time there has been a physical climate risk analysis focused exclusively on the built environment, comparing every state, province and territory in the world,” said XDI CEO Rohan Hamden.
“Since extensive built infrastructure generally overlaps with high levels of economic activity and capital value, it is imperative that the physical risk of climate change is appropriately understood and priced.”
The research found that two of China’s leading provinces Jiangsu and Shandong, which lie on the country’s east coast, top the global ranking in first and second place respectively. Over half of the provinces in the global top 50 are in China.
After China, the US has the most high-risk states, with 18 states in the top 100. Florida is the highest-ranking US state, followed by California and Texas.
Together, China, India and the US make up over half the states and provinces in the top 100.
Other highly developed and globally significant economic hubs in the top 100 include Buenos Aires, São Paolo, Jakarta, Beijing, Hồ Chí Minh City, Taiwan and Mumbai. Australia, Belgium, Italy, Canada and Germany also have states and provinces in the top 100.
South-east Asia experiences the greatest escalation in damage from 1990 to 2050 anywhere in the world.
Globally, most damage is caused by riverine and surface flooding or flooding combined with coastal inundation.
The financial cost of extreme weather and climate change is already being felt by many of the economies topping the ranking. In June 2022, extreme flooding in Guangdong, which ranks fourth in the analysis, caused an estimated 7.5bn yuan in direct economic losses (over £900bn).
Hurricane Ian, which struck densely-populated parts of Florida in late September 2022, caused an estimated $67bn (£56bn) in insured losses.
Projections are for extreme weather events in regions like these to intensify in the coming years. Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, has been estimated to be the most economically vulnerable city in the world to sea level rise by 2050.
“The findings from the XDI Gross Domestic Climate Risk ranking underscore the importance of pricing physical climate risk in financial markets, including bond markets, given the amount of capital investment represented by the assets at risk in the provinces identified, the vulnerability of global supply chains and the need for climate resilience to inform investment,” Hamden added.
“It is crucial for companies, governments and investors to understand the financial and economic implications of physical climate risk and weigh this risk in their decision-making before these costs escalate beyond financial tipping points.”
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