With the COP21 climate summit coming up in December, and 2015 well on its way to becoming the hottest year in recorded history, interest is growing in measures to tackle global warming.

The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Risks Report identified the biggest global risks challenging our world today. ‘Extreme weather events’ was judged to be the second most likely source of crisis (after ‘Interstate conflict’.) Meanwhile ‘Water crises’ and ‘Failure to adapt to climate change’ were judged first and fifth in terms of global impact.

The University of Notre Dame’s ND-GAIN Index combines measures of a country’s vulnerability to climate change and other global challenges with data on the country’s readiness to improve resilience. The result gives a numerical guide to how well a country is adapting to climate change.

Vulnerability was split into measurements of ecosystem services, food, health, human habitat, infrastructure, water, adaptive capacity, exposure and sensitivity. Readiness was measured according to three factors — economic, governance, and social readiness.


Norway tops the league table and has done since the Index was first launched 20 years ago. The top 10 is dominated by Western countries — those that are mostly responsible for climate degradation. At the other end of the ranking are lesser developed nations who have contributed least to climate change but will suffer disproportionately from the Earth’s warming.

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Author: José Santiago, Senior Associate, Public Engagement at the World Economic Forum.

Image: Pedestrians walk by the harbour during winter in Oslo REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett