Jessica Hellmann

This is part of an op-ed written by ND-GAIN Research Director, Jessica Hellmann.

Please visit the CNN website for the entire article.


(CNN) - The Vatican hasn't been shy about tackling controversial issues head on since Pope Francis assumed the papacy. Indeed, from gay marriage to inequality, the Vatican has reinvigorated debate, sometimes in surprising ways, on a range of social issues. So it should probably come as no surprise that it is set to weigh in on one of the biggest issues facing society today: global warming.

While officials from across the globe continue negotiations on policies aimed at managing and reducing changes to the world's climate, the Vatican has turned a spotlight on the impact climate change will have on the world's poorest through a workshop this Tuesday that will set the stage for an anticipated encyclical later this year.

This workshop on "moral dimensions of climate change" is a welcome move, because climate change is as much about justice, dignity and equity as it is about computer models, atmospheric chemistry and carbon taxes. After all, its devastating effects -- bigger, more destructive hurricanes; hotter, longer droughts; record-breaking wildfires and devastating floods -- are poised to disproportionately harm the poor…

> > Click here to read Jessica Hellmann's entire op-ed on CNN


The Washington Post


What is the best place to weather climate change? Research by the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index, or ND-GAIN, suggests it is Scandinavia. In a pinch, though, any developed country will do. As these maps by ND-GAIN illustrate, developed countries are far less vulnerable than developing countries to the risks of climate change.

ND-GAIN ranks 175 countries both by vulnerability and readiness to adapt to climate change. The group measures vulnerability by considering the potential impact of climate change on six areas: food, water, health, ecosystem service, human habitat and infrastructure. The readiness rank weights portions of the economy, governance and society that affect the speed and efficiency of adaptation projects.

The areas in red, including most of Africa and South Asia, are very vulnerable to climate change and ill-prepared to deal with its impact. The few countries in blue, including Vietnam, Ghana, Rwanda, Namibia and Botswana, are countries that are vulnerable but are relatively well equipped. Countries in yellow are less vulnerable but also less prepared. The countries in green, which include most of the world’s developed countries, are both less vulnerable and better equipped to deal with the challenge of climate change.

Here is the map broken down by readiness, with green indicating “more ready” and red indicating “less ready”:

And here is the map for vulnerability:

According to the index, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden and Finland are best equipped to deal with the pressures of climate change, while the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Burundi and Chad are the worst equipped.



Which Countries Are Most Likely to Be Wiped Out By Future Disasters?

The results of a new report show which countries are the most vulnerable to risk—and the most ready to respond when disaster strikes.

Bigger storms and more flooding are some of the most most obvious ingredients in the risk stew brewed up by climate change. But what happens after the storms subside? What about all the secondary and tertiary effects of climate change? What about the challenge of finding the money or doing the infrastructural planning necessary to adapt to a changed environment, or the political stability and leadership to see a country through a time of dire food or water scarcity?

That's the kind of cause-and-effect planning that the Global Adaptation Index or GAIN has been doing since 1995. Every year GAIN, which was based in DC until it moved to become part of Notre Dame two years ago, publishes a report that ranks every country in the world on a scale from 1 to 100. The metrics that determine a country's score are twofold: First, how vulnerable is the country to climate change, defined as "sensitivity to climate, population, infrastructure and resource stress, as well as the country's adaptive capacity to those stresses"? And second, how prepared is the country to deal with those risks, in terms of "social, governance and economic factors"?

The idea is to give leaders the ability to gauge and assess how a particular country will respond to the rising tides, and all the chaos they bring with them. In November, the group met for its annual meeting to release its latest report—and the results are fascinating, if troubling.

1) We're all better prepared today than 20 years ago

GAIN has been doing its rankings since 1995, and a comparison between the earliest and most recent risk maps show us that the world, in large part, is better prepared than it was in the 1990s.

Which Countries Are Most Likely to Be Wiped Out By Future Disasters?

2) Norway is the most prepared of all

Yep, the country with the 7th longest coastline in the world is also the most prepared for climate change. In fact, the report points out, it's been #1 for preparedness for two decades, thanks to high scores for food stability, healthcare, access to clean water, and energy infrastructure.

3) The most at-risk countries are war-torn (and mostly land-locked)

The countries most at risk and least prepared are in Africa, and all of them have been destabilized by war—from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Chad, which occupies the last spot on the list. Most have a dearth of agricultural and medical resources combined with infrastructural and political insecurity.

Which Countries Are Most Likely to Be Wiped Out By Future Disasters?

4) Russia and China are getting better, Jordan is getting worse

In its release notes, GAIN points out the countries that have risen the highest and dropped the lowest. While Russia and China are improving, Jordan fell by 31 points—seemingly because of its low scores when it comes to fresh water access and dam capacity, a big issue for plenty of Middle Eastern countries.

5) If you're looking for a safe haven, go to Scandinavia

Norway won the day, but all of Scandinavia made it into the top ten, alongside other Northern European countries, the US, Germany, and Australia and New Zealand. "Many do face moderate exposure to climate change, but they have good capacities to deal with the potential climate risks, including high access to amenities such as electricity, sanitation and clean drinking water," a release explains.

Which Countries Are Most Likely to Be Wiped Out By Future Disasters?

 The Best and Worst Places in the World to Live As Climate Changes

An index developed at the University of Notre Dame is giving us a glimpse of what countries are the best and worst to live in based on their ability to cope with the impacts of climate change.

The rankings come from the so-called ND-GAIN index, which is based on the vulnerability and readiness of each country to adapt to climate change's impacts.

Vulnerability to climate change is based on six factors: food, water, health, ecosystem service, human habitat and infrastructure. The readiness index is made up of three components: economic readiness, governance readiness and social readiness.

A formula is then used to come up with the overall rating for each country around the world on a scale of 0 to 100. 

All but one of the top five best countries are located in Europe. The United States ranked eighth.

Of the top 10 worst countries, eight are located in Africa.


Originally published at

Climate change experts have released maps of the world revealing how prepared different countries are to cope with the effects of climate change。



  In the maps, 192 countries are ranked by their ‘vulnerability’ and ‘readiness’, to produce an overall judgement on their fate。


  The results reveal that Scandinavian countries and the UK are among the most likely to survive - butareas of sub-Saharan Africa will be hardest hit。    


  The maps were created by London-based company The Eco Experts, using data from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, known as the ND-GainIndex。

  这张地图由伦敦The Eco Experts公司制作,数据来自印第安纳州的诺特丹大学,被称作ND-Gain Index。

  They took into account location,terrain, pollution rates and national resources when calculating which countries would be most affected。


  Countries like Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark score well on the scale。


  But places like Central America,Africa and India all appear at risk from natural disaster - and are poorly equipped to cope, said The Eco Experts。




Least affected




Most affected




1 - Norway        


     82.7 1 – Chad   


2 - New Zealand


     82.2 2 –Eritrea     


3 - Sweden


     81.6 2 - Burundi


4 – Finland


     81.5 4 - Democratic Republic of Congo


5 – Denmark


     81.4 4  - Central Africa Republic


6 – Australia


     80.1 6 – Sudan


7 - United Kingdom


     80.0 7 – Niger


8 - United States


    78.9 7 – Haiti


9 – Germany


    78.8 7 –Afghanistan


9 – Iceland


    78.8 10 - Guinea-Bissau



  Jon Whiting, of The Eco Expertswarned: ‘Hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, droughts and flooding are all real dangers for some of these areas, and this is compounded by a lack of national strategy to counteract the effects.’

  The Eco Experts专家Jon Whiting警告说:“飓风、地震、暴风雪、干旱和洪水会严重威胁这些地区,而国家应对措施的缺失更会加剧这一风险。

  Burundi, Chad, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo produced some of the lowest scores, meaning these countries will be the biggest victims of weather disasters。


  The map is based on data compiled by the ND-Gain index, which has been monitoring 45 internal and external indicators of climate change exposure of 192 countries since 1992.

  这张图的数据来自于 ND-Gain index。自1992年以来,ND-Gain index就通过观察45个内部和外部指标,来评判全球192个国家的气候变化情况。

  The index is built on two variables; ‘vulnerability’ and ‘readiness’ for which a country gets a separate mark for each. These scores tally up to produce an overall total indicating howa particular nation would fare。


  On the scale, the country best equipped to cope with the effects of climate change was Norway. In fact, Norway has topped the ranking every year since the Index began in 1995.



  Most countries across Europe will be not be severely affected by climate change, according to the map. It takes into accounts many factors such as access to clean drinking water and the risk of heat waves。



  But places in sub-Saharan Africa (shown upper) will be most affected by a warming climate, while some countries in America like Bolivia (below) will also also be severely affected by global warming。



  North America will also apparently be able to cope with the effects of climate change, thanks to high readiness scores for the USA and Canada。



  Asia has a wide range of scores for different countries, owing to the vastly different climates and levels of infrastructure in various countries. Surprisingly, Australia comes out fairly well in the map, despite being a notoriously hot country。



  Various islands such as Haiti will be severely affected by climate change, perhaps due to the effects of rising sea levels. Others like Barbados, though, will apparently avoid some of the worst effect。



Sea levels are rising faster than scientists thought: Climate change has triggered acceleration, claims study


Sea levels have risen faster than expected in the last 20 years as a result of global warming and other factors, according to new research.

The study claims that estimates for sea level rises between 1901 and 1990 were too high due to incomplete records.

But from 1990 to 2010, sea levels were correctly predicted to be rising faster than ever before.  

This caused a discrepancy in which the slower sea level rise seen in the last century caused the increase in recent years to appear even more rapid.