A new study published in PLOS ONE has identified countries most at risk of “climate change-related harm” and those in a good position to deal with climate change’s effects. The study scientifically demonstrates the correlation between toxic pollution that can directly damage human health and non-toxic pollution such as greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers looked at both aspects of pollution to determine countries that are most at risk and those that are in a position to navigate such challenges.

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A data map showing which countries are most vulnerable to climate change's effects.

The researchers reviewed data from across 176 countries to find the correlation between the locations of toxic pollution exposure and climate change vulnerability. The data analyzed was collected from three main sources: the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative Country Index, the Yale Environmental Performance Index and the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution.

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A major area of concern is that researchers found poor countries to be more vulnerable to climate change effects and toxicity. Although some of the low-income countries show great potential to handle such effects, the researchers say that they will need international support. According to one of the study’s authors, Dr. Richard Marcantonio from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, most low-income countries will require international support to “address governance challenges in order to have a chance at successfully addressing pollution risk.”

The study also produced a list of the top 10 countries that are in the best position to fight against the risk of toxicity and climate change with international support. Top of the list is Singapore, followed by Rwanda, China, India and the Solomon Islands consecutively. The other countries that made it to the top 10 are Bhutan in position six, followed by Botswana, Georgia, South Korea and Thailand.

Some of the countries identified to be at the highest risk of pollution exposure, such as India and China, were also found to be in a good position to deal with the pollution as long as they receive international support.

Via Medical News Today

Images © 2021 Marcantonio et al.