Is Your Country Prepared For Climate Change?

Using different factors to assess how well a country can respond to changes in food and water availability (as well as rising seas), the Global Adaptation Index shows which countries have the most work to do to prepare.


Climate change is here, and as it worsens, it will affect the entire planet. But it’s the hard truth that it won’t happen equally: Some areas will be affected more than others. Those areas, one would hope, would be spending the most time and energy preparing for the eventualities of drought, food shortages, and rising sea levels. But this is largely not the case. The most ill-prepared countries are the ones that will be hit the hardest.

That’s just one of the major conclusions of the Global Adaptation Index (GAIN), which provides scores for every country based on their vulnerability to climate change and their readiness to deal with those issues. Denmark is ranked the highest (it isn’t very vulnerable to begin with, and has done a lot to get ready), while Ethiopia, which is doing very little while being very threatened, is the lowest. On the map above, the more red a country is, the worse their score.

The index, which was created by the Global Adaptation Institute, tracks over 35 different specific indicators over 15 years to get these scores, and you can see the trend lines for each indicator for each country, as well:


If you look at the countries of the world on a matrix, you’ll see the sad truth: The most vulnerable countries are by and large the countries without the resources to do anything about it. Sure, the U.S. is quite ready, but they didn’t have that much to do be worried about. Zimbabwe, the dot all the way to the left, is incredibly unready for what’s coming its way, and what’s coming its way is going to be quite bad:


There is clearly a lot to be done to prepare for climate change, and a lot of that needs to be done in the developing world. Look at it as a challenge, or as an opportunity. Sooner or later, those countries will realize the potentially dire straits they’re in, and will need a rapid infusion of projects to get them ready.

About the author

Morgan is a senior editor at Fast Company. He edits the Ideas section, formerly