NATIONS:

Bangladesh, India most vulnerable to climate change

Bangladesh, India and other emerging economies in Asia and Africa are the countries most vulnerable to climate change, according to a ranking compiled by British firm Maplecroft.

The firm developed the rankings by analyzing exposure to extremes such as droughts, cyclones and mudslides; sensitivity to damage tied to poverty, population, internal conflicts and dependence on agriculture; and the capacity of a country to adapt.

Bangladesh took the top spot because of poverty and large low-lying coastal areas prone to flooding and cyclones. India came in second due to pressures of a growing population of 1.1 billion people. The top 10 was filled out by Madagascar, Nepal, Mozambique, the Philippines, Haiti, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Myanmar.

"Understanding climate vulnerability will help companies make their investments more resilient to unexpected change," wrote Matthew Bunce, principal analyst at Maplecroft, who noted that many Asian countries are attracting large investments.

The United States ranked 129th, less vulnerable than other major economies such as China (49th) and Japan (87th). Mexico was the richest nation at the greatest risk among those in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, coming in at No. 45.

Rich European nations filled out the bottom of the list, including Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden and Denmark. Norway came in last as the least vulnerable country of the 171 ranked (Alister Doyle, Reuters, Oct. 19). -- LP