TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In a presentation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) earlier this month, NGO Germanwatch named Taiwan as the seventh most at risk nation during extreme weather events in its Global Climate Risk Index 2018, reports CNA.
Taiwan's ranking among weather-affected nations jumped up 44 places on the list, from 51st last year to seventh this year. Uncharacteristically cold winters and strong, successive typhoons in 2016 alone resulted in around 100 deaths, hundreds of injuries, and vast agricultural and infrastructure damage. Taiwan even withstood the world's strongest typhoon, typhoon Meranti, last year.
The Index is based on data derived from "weather-related loss events (storms, floods, heat waves, etc)" from 1997-2016, particularly related deaths and property damage.
In an interview with CNA, Germanwatch representative David Eckstein emphasized that extreme weather certainly occurred 100 years ago and researchers can be hard-pressed to concretely connect a heatwave or typhoon to climate change. Research does confirm however that climate change has increased the seawater temperatures creating ideal conditions for typhoons, hurricanes, and heatwaves to develop. Recent episodes in Africa, the United States, and India are directly correlated with these warming waters.
This meeting of the UNFCCC was presided over by the Government of Fiji. Members hope that in serving as the host nation, which is third on the list, the Fijian government will add extra urgency to action plans born from this new data.