The European countries most affected by global warming, based on natural disasters

Special from Uswitch

illustration: Uswitch
illustration: Uswitch

From earthquakes to excessive floods, extreme and unpredictable natural hazards impact every country around the world. To combat the effects of climate change and the vast rise in natural disasters over the past 50 years, nearly 200 countries agreed to the “Glasgow Climate Pact” at the 26th global United Nations climate summit (COP26) in November 2021.

Interested by this, Uswitch.com/gas-electricity sought to find out which country is the most affected by global warming, based on the occurrence of natural hazards. By analysing historical global data of over 15,000 disasters from 1902-2021, they created a points-based index to determine the countries most likely to suffer from natural hazards. The index consists of the following factors: total number of disasters experienced, number of affected people, fatalities, and monetary cost of damage.

Countries in Europe most affected by global warming
Coming in seventh is the United Kingdom, with a score of 6.47/10. The U.K ranks highly in both storms (42 – 3rd highest in Europe) and floods (36 – 6th highest in Europe), whilst also ranking fifth in Europe overall regarding economic damage.

The top 10 countries in Europe affected most by global warming (source: Uswitch)
The top 10 countries in Europe affected most by global warming (source: Uswitch)

Italy is the country in Europe most affected by global warming, receiving an index score of 8.12 out of 10. The economic damage suffered in Italy is significantly higher than any other European country in the top five, at EUR 187 billion. Italy ranks first amongst the top five European countries for landslides, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

Russia is in second place among the countries in Europe most affected by global warming with a total index score of 8.01/10. Flooding and wildfires are Russia’s most prominent disasters, with the population enduring the highest number of floods and wildfires across Europe. Interestingly, Russia has suffered the same amount of natural disasters as Italy (173), but the total fatalities and economic damage is significantly less.

illustration: Uswitch
illustration: Uswitch

In third, with a total index score of 7.97/10 is France. The country has experienced more natural disasters than any other country in Europe (184), the most prominent being storms (71) – the highest in Europe. Although France ranks second overall, when it comes to monetary damage, France falls behind both Italy and Germany.

Coming in fourth with a total index score of 7.72/10 is Spain. The 103 natural disasters the country has endured have resulted in damages of over EUR 50,000,000,000 – the fourth highest total damage caused in Europe. Spain has seen the most people affected by natural disasters compared to any other country in Europe at an estimated 6.8 million, however the death toll is just over 17,000.

Completing the top five is Romania with an index score of 6.62 out of 10. The country’s most prominent disasters are flooding and extreme temperatures, which have affected over 2 million people. Despite only having two fewer natural disasters than Spain, Romania has suffered significantly less with regards to people affected, fatalities and economic damage.

Worldwide rankings
Uswitch.com/gas-electricity further compared natural disasters across the world.

Here are the top ten:

Worldwide rankings of countries affected most by global warming (source: Uswitch)
Worldwide rankings of countries affected most by global warming (source: Uswitch)

This research is part of a larger study into the most dangerous countries to live in based on natural disasters from around the world. Read more at www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/global-warming-and-natural-disasters.

Methodology

Energy experts at Uswitch.com sought to determine the most dangerous country in the world to live in based on the number of natural disasters that have historically occurred within their borders, along with the damages and casualties sustained.

For this study, time-series data of natural disasters that have occurred globally from 1902-2021 was extracted from EM-DAT. The source provides a comprehensive account on natural disasters, their locations and impacts over a time-period.

The natural disasters investigated were droughts, earthquakes, epidemics, extreme temperature, floods, fog, glacial lake outbursts, extra-terrestrial impacts, insect infestation, landslides, storms, volcanic activity, mass movement and wildfires. Factors that determine the impact of natural disasters in each country include the number of disasters, damage caused, people affected and total fatalities.

The selection of countries were filtered for those only as members of the UN. Lastly, to optimise our choice of weightings an additional column comparing total damages to the countries most recent GDP was implemented as a total percentage.

The total score out of 10 was determined by utilising an average percent-rank across all of the variables investigated in the resulting dataset. The weights were asymmetrically distributed between the variables such that total affected and total disasters had a greater influence on the score.

The weighted percent-rank score provides a comprehensive rating and is used to determine the most dangerous country in the world to live, based on natural disasters.

The data was collected on 09/12/21 and is accurate as of then.

Acknowledging the data provided by EM-DAT: EM-DAT, CRED/UCLouvain, Brussels, Belgium.