Chimneys are seen through a window at a coal-fired power plant on a hazy day in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 2, 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants, due to be announced on Monday, will win muted applause abroad with some hopes it could help a U.N. deal to fight climate change in 2015. Emerging economies including China and India are likely to be lukewarm because they have often said that Obama's plans for emissions cuts until 2020 - even if fully implemented - are far short of the curbs they say are needed by the rich. REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT BUSINESS ENERGY CITYSCAPE)
While most of the dangerous gases that had built up in the atmosphere over the years may have come from countries in the Earth's northern hemisphere, it is the countries however in the south that will bear the impact of the planet's global warming and climate change, a report released by ratings agency Standard & Poor's said.
In a list that included 116 countries, the report disclosed the nations most vulnerable to suffer from climate change were Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangladesh in the top three. Top three bottom ranked were Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Austria. Australia, meantime, is at the 31st least affected.
Standard & Poor's used three sets of data to come up with its list:
- Percentage of a nation's population at five metres above sea level and below;
- National agricultural output as a percentage of an overall economy (because agriculture is particularly vulnerable to weather);
- Each country's adaptive capacity.
An aircraft flies overhead as a person rummages for recyclables at a garbage dumpsite in Paranaque city, metro Manila June 8, 2014. The United Nations declared "Small Islands and Climate Change" the theme of 2014 World Environment Day, with the year's official 2014 slogan being "Raise your voice, not the sea level". REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT TRANSPORT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
"While most sovereigns will feel the negative effects of climate change to some degree, we expect the poorest and lowest rated sovereigns will bear the brunt of the impact," the report said. "This is in part due to their reliance on agricultural production and employment, which can be vulnerable to shifting climate patterns and extreme weather events, but also due to their weaker capacity to absorb the financial cost."
Extreme weather events, especially floods, can be expected to increasingly take a toll on a country's infrastructure and thus productivity, exacerbating weakening endowment of productive infrastructure observable in a number of countries.
Changing patterns of rainfall can reduce agricultural yields via repeated and prolonged droughts, heat waves and wildfires, or floods. The productivity of the broader workforce could also be negatively impacted if weather events affect sanitary conditions negatively, spreading pests or diseases, increasing morbidity.
Steam rises from the stacks of the coal-fired Jim Bridger Power Plant outside Point of the Rocks, Wyoming in this file photo taken March 14, 2014. The U.S. power sector must cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, according to federal regulations unveiled on Monday that form the centerpiece of the Obama administration's climate change strategy. States which rely heavily on coal-fired power plants are thought to have the toughest tasks ahead. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENERGY BUSINESS POLITICS)
"Great uncertainty still remains about if, how, and when various economies could be affected by climate change," analysts from Standard & Poor's said.
Ironically, all of the countries included in the Top 20 most vulnerable nations are emerging markets, where almost are located in Africa or Asia.
Want to know where your country lies? See the list here.