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New Zealand has been rated as the world's fifth best-placed country in terms of coping with the effects of climate change, according to a new report.
The Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) released today by a global risks consultancy, Maplecroft, rated 166 countries on their capacity to mitigate risks to society and the business environment posed by changing patterns in natural hazards.
Risks assessed included droughts, flooding, storms and sea level rises and the resulting effects on ecosystems.
Unlike other studies, the index did not attempt to predict changes to patterns of natural hazards or ecosystems as a result of climate change, but instead measured how vulnerable a country was now and how well prepared it was to combat the impacts of climate change.
Norway (with 166 points), was the lowest ranked country in the CCVI and best equipped to address the challenges of climate change, because of low population density, excellent health-care and communications systems, good governance and a strong institutional framework.
The report said Norway's overall food, water and energy security were high and its ecosystems were well protected.
The countries least at risk after Norway are Finland (165), Japan (164), Canada (163) and New Zealand (162).
Other low risk countries include UK (155), USA (152) and Germany (151).
Africa had 22 of 28 "extreme risk" countries, with Somalia (1), Haiti (2), Afghanistan (3), Sierra Leone (4) and Burundi (5) rated most at risk.
India (56) was the only emerging economy to be rated as high risk, due to high population density, increased security risk, poor resource security and concerns about human rights violations. India's vulnerability is of particular concern to business because of its huge role in global supply chains.