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Report: Climate Change Increasing Conflict Risk in 32 Countries

Climate ChangeClimate change vulnerability and food insecurity is increasing the risks of conflict and civil unrest in 32 countries, including the emerging markets of Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and the Philippines, according to a report by global risk analytics company Maplecroft.

These risks in a country have the potential to destabilize regional security, hurt national economies and impact the operations and supply chains of business.

The report provides comparable risk data for 198 countries across 26 separate issues, and evaluates the sensitivity of populations, the physical exposure of countries, and governmental capacity to adapt to climate change over the next 30 years.

Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Nigeria, Chad, Haiti, Ethiopia, Philippines, Central African Republic and Eritrea are the 10 countries facing the highest levels of risk.

One of the unifying characteristics of the economies at risk is that they depend heavily on agriculture, with 65 percent of their combined working population employed in the sector, while 28 percent of their overall economic output relies on agricultural revenues. Changing weather patterns are already impacting food production, poverty, migration and social stability, which are factors that significantly increase the risk of conflicts and instability in both fragile and emerging states.

The report notes that an improved understanding of the science and consequences of climate change offers hope that adaptation strategies can be developed to avoid the worst impacts. These include drought resistant crops, more resilient infrastructure, economic diversification and poverty reduction.

The Maplecroft report echoes many of the observations of a draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which states that rising greenhouse gas emissions are “increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

The IPCC report, now under review by government officials and top scientists meeting in Copenhagen, is slated for approval on Nov. 2. It sums up the three IPCC reports published over the past year and is intended to serve as a guide for the Paris climate talks in 2015, at which about 200 governments are slated to reach a deal to combat climate change.

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