As the effects of climate change march on while governments around the world drag their feet to mitigate them, researchers are trying to figure out who is most at risk as things get inevitably worse.

For this purpose, a team at the University of Notre Dame in the US has created the ND-Gain Index, based on data collected since 1995 measuring 192 UN countries according to two variables - vulnerability to the effects of climate change and readiness to adapt. This map, created by renewable energy comparison group, Eco Experts, is a visualisation of that data. 

Click here to view a much larger, zoomable version.

"It shows many countries in Africa and Asia exhibit a dangerous combination of high vulnerability and low readiness," says Jonathan Whiting at the Eco Experts blog. "The map also shows that countries in the West, who are arguably most responsible for causing climate change, are less vulnerable and better prepared, making them most likely to survive the severe impacts of climate change."

Here's the top 10, according to the Notre Dame researchers:

  1. Norway
  2. New Zealand
  3. Sweden 
  4. Finland
  5. Denmark
  6. Australia
  7. United Kingdom
  8. United States
  9. Germany
  10. Iceland

Two things: how is Scandinavia so good at everything, and I assumed Australia would fare worse than #6, seeing as we already have such a warm climate. 

When it comes to the factors measured, 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. The data was collected over 18 years, between 1995 and 2013, and is based on roughly half a million data points. You can download the data in full at the ND-Gain Index website.

"With climate change described as one of the greatest challenges of our time, the impacts of destructive changes in temperature, rainfall and agriculture will affect every country. These findings highlight the need for richer, more technologically advanced nations to help less developed countries," says Whiting. "Ultimately there will be no winners from the effects of climate change, every country will be impacted in some way. Just how much depends on the decisions made now by world leaders."

Here's Australia and the Middle East zoomed in:

australia-mapThe Eco Experts

Source: The Eco Experts