Interesting Earth Org Post About Climate Change
No one on the planet is left untouched by the effects of climate change, from rising temperatures and sea levels to worsened air pollution and droughts that threaten water and food security. But as many experts have found, climate change disproportionately impacts marginalised and minority communities, many of whom are forced to flee their homes in a growing phenomenon known as climate migration. While it is critical that the world works together to drastically and rapidly cut down greenhouse gas emissions and invest in climate mitigation and adaptation, it’s understandable for individuals – at least those with the resources and the means – to consider relocating to the best places to live to avoid climate change.
So where are the best places to live that are least affected by the changing climate? This question turns out to be quite difficult to answer. Does it mean countries that possess the geographical advantages of not being severely affected by climate change in the future? Does it refer to countries that put in the most effort to mitigate the effects of climate change? Or does it mean countries that are most likely to adapt to climate change? We explore the top-performing countries in each of the three categories: geographical advantages, mitigation, and adaptation.
Best Places to Live to Avoid Climate Change
On Geographical Advantages
A paper published by the Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom has identified five countries in geographical locations with “favourable starting conditions” that may allow them to be less touched by the effects of climate change: New Zealand, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Ireland. The results are based on the analysis of the countries’ carrying capacity – refers to a species’ average population size in a particular habitat, isolation, and self-sufficiency.
In terms of carrying capacity, all these countries with the exception of the UK, have a small population, a high fraction of agricultural land, and direct access to seas. This indicates that they are rich in terms of food resources.
When it comes to isolation, these five nations are mostly detached from heavily populated landmasses. According to the study, the reason that isolated communities are likely to be “lifeboats” is based on the presumption that globalisation will be reversed when the temperature rises, causing economic depression and social unrest. Therefore, in this worst-case scenario, isolated countries tend to be less affected by the economic and social instability of neighbouring countries.
Lastly, in terms of self-sufficiency, these countries mostly have abundant renewable energy and non-renewable energy sources, showing their high potential of being energy-wise independent.
On Climate Mitigation
According to the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), published by the independent monitoring agency, the top three countries leading in climate protection are all Scandinavian: Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, while the United Kingdom is ranked fourth in climate protection. This index is determined by countries’ efforts on lowering greenhouse gas emissions, on adopting renewable energy, on using energy in an efficient and responsible manner, and on introducing climate-friendly policies.
Interestingly, the previous four countries mentioned with the greatest geographical advantage are not ranked particularly high when it comes to climate mitigation policies and action. In fact, Australia is rated as highly insufficient by the Climate Action Tracker, and is one of the world’s worst performers as its climate policies are not compatible with the Paris Agreement – the planet will reach a global warming of 4°C if all countries follow the Agreement’s level of ambition, which will lead to a climate catastrophe.
In the worst case scenario, a single country’s mitigation measures will also hardly make a difference during a climate apocalypse, which is why we need strong global mitigation efforts now to ensure a positive impact.
On Climate Adaptation
There is a presumption that the level of a country’s vulnerability facing climate change directly correlates to its exposure to the physical factors of climate change, leading to the conclusion that the most vulnerable countries are exposed to most physical threats. Although this is accurate in most cases, there are still many countries that experience physical threats but are less vulnerable to climate change.