Climate Change and Global Inequality

This table shows the countries which are most at risk from climate change between the years 1999 and 2028. The place most affected is Puerto Rico, followed by Myanmar in Southern Asia and Haiti. The table also shows that the countries most at climate risk often have low carbon footprints. The exception to this is Thailand.
Table 1: Top Ten Countries Most At Risk from Climate Change 1999-2018. Source:  and Our World in Data.

Which countries are most affected by Climate Change?

There are several countries around the world which are already experiencing severe negative consequences of climate change. These impacts include storms, flooding due to high rainfall and rising sea levels, and drought and fires which is the result of declining rainfall. Thus while some parts of the world are suffering from excessive rain, others aren’t getting enough.

Table One records the countries which were most affected by extreme weather conditions over the period 1999-2018.  It shows that several of the countries most affected are located in South Asia while others, such as Puerto Rico and Dominica, are in the Caribbean Sea.  The rankings do change a little from year to year, but certain countries remain in the top 10.

Figure one is a map showing the Climate Risk Index between 1999 and 2018. The bright and dark red areas are the most affected. Although there are a couple of countries in Europe that are affected, the are several countries in South Asia which are particularly at risk. These include Pakistan, India, Thailand, Vietnam Bangladesh. There are some countries at Risk in Africa which include Madagascar and some in the Caribbean.
Figure 1: Map showing the countries most at risk from severe climate events. Source:

View Table 1 in large format here.

Figure 1 shows this data in map form; it’s been produced from data collected by German Watch.  The darkest shade indicates the most affected countries between 1999-2018. View Figure 1 in large format here.  You can find further maps and tables on the Climate Risk Index here:

Table 2 shows those countries which produce the highest levels of carbon per person. Many of these are small oil-producing countries such as Qatar and Kuwait. Other countries such as Canada and the USA feature in the top ten. Most of the countries on the list have a lower risk from climate change. The exception is the USA which ranks 27 in the most at risk countries.
Table 2: Countries with the highest per capital carbon emissions (2017). Source: Hannah Richie, ‘Where in the world do people emit the most CO2?’, 4 October 2019, Our World in Data:





Table 2 shows the countries with the highest carbon footprint per capita: ‘carbon footprint’ relates to the production and consumption of Carbon Dioxide, known as CO2Per capita measures the average amount of CO2 produced per person rather than the country as a whole.  The country with the highest carbon footprint per capita (through the production of oil) is also the country that has been least affected by climate change: Qatar. None of the countries which are most affected by extreme weather events are among those with the highest carbon footprints per capita (either through the production or consumption of fossil fuels), although the United States is ranked as 27 on the list of countries most affected by severe weather events in 2018. Unlike Qatar it both produces high levels of CO2 while also experiencing the negative consequences of climate change. View the Table 2 in large format here.

To see where other countries rank visit for an interactive map. This map also shows how carbon emissions per capita have changed around the world since 1800.

Table 3 shows the top ten countries which produce the most carbon emissison. China and the USA are first and second on the list followed by India and Russia. China and India have very large populations so while the overall omissions are high, their per capita (per person) emissions are much lower.
Table 3: The Top Ten Countries with the highest percentage of global carbon emissions. Source: Sean Fleming, 7 June 2019 ‘Chart of the day: These countries create most of the world’s CO2 emissions’, World Economic Forum

Table 3 shows countries which have the highest carbon emissions. This shows a different picture from Table 2. As we might expect, China and the US top the list producing a very high percentage of the world’s total emissions. One reason why China has such a high percentage is due to the size of its population which is why looking at the per capita carbon footprint is important. View Table 3 in large format.

If you would like to see what the projections look like for  climate change in 2050 here is a good interactive map:




*David Eckstein, Vera Künzel, Laura Schäfer and Maik Winges, Global Climate Risk Index 2020: Who Suffers Most From Extreme Weather Events? Weather-related Loss Events in 2018 and 1999 to 2018  (Germanwatch, 2020). This contains tables and maps which indicate which countries have suffered most from climate changes including tables and maps of storms.

**Hannah Richie, ‘Where in the world do people emit the most CO2?’, 4 October 2019, Our World in Data (University of Oxford):  [Accessed 5 March 2020] This has an interactive map: click on a country to find out their per capital carbon footprint.

*** Sean Fleming, 7 June 2019 ‘Chart of the day: These countries create most of the world’s CO2 emissions’, World Economic Forum  [Visited 5 March 2020]