Industrialization of the past 150 years increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere too much. The atmosphere heats up, temperatures and the sea-level rise. Until 2100 experts expect the average global temperature to increase by 1.4 °C to 5.8 °C and the sea-level by 10 -90 cm. Today climate change is already one of the major reasons for natural catastrophes like floods and droughts.
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), also called World Climate Council, recommends stopping the rise of the global average temperature at a maximum of 2 °C as compared to the pre-industrialization level in order to avoid unacceptable consequences and risks of climate change. In the year 2100 each of the roughly 9 billion people on earth will be allowed to emit about 1,000 kg CO2 if we want to limit the increase of the
average global temperature to 2° Celsius. To get there, energy efficiency must be improved and the use of renewable energies must be extended.
At the Earth Summit in Rio 1992 the global United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC) was adopted. The 192 member states belong to Annex I (mainly industrialized countries)or Non-Annex I (mainly developing countries) of the convention. In 1997 the members agreed on legally binding commitments to reduce GHG emissions in Kyoto in Japan. The Kyoto-Protocol entered into force in 2005: Industrial nations listed in Annex B of the protocol shall reduce their emissions as a group by 5% in 2008 -2012 as compared to 1990.
However, many industrialised countries are lagging behind their reduction goals.The USA even declared their withdrawal from the Kyoto-Protocol. In Copenhagen 2009 a new climate protocol shall be agreed on. In 2005 about 19.5% of the world population lived in Annex I-countries. They were responsible for 52% of the CO2-emissions. The average CO2-emissions per capita in the world in 2005 were 5.5 tons. In the Annex I-countries the average emission was 14 t per capita, in the Non-
Annex-I-countries it was 3.2 t per capita.
At the 14 international conferences unnder the climate framework convention, the so-called COPs, several thousand people from all countries of the earth struggled for common climate change efforts. At the conferences there are fixed and shorttime alliances and coalitions among countries. The EU-countries speak with one voice, many non-EU industrial countries joined the so-called “Umbrella-Group“. Switzerland, Mexico and South Korea founded the Environmental Integrity Group EIG.
The biggest group at the conferences, however, is the “Group of 77“ resp. G-77, a group of so far more than 130 developing countries. Within the G -77 there are the „Alliance of Small Island States“ (AOSIS), and the group of Least Developed Countries (LDC). 43 countries are members of AOSIS, they (will) suffer especially from a rising
sea-level. Other fixed groups at the climate conferences are the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the „African Group“.
The Climate Risk Index
The non-governmental environment and development organization Germanwatch regularly calculates a risk index of climate change (CRI) based on data from the reinsurance company Munich Re.
The index bases on the death toll and losses from natural catastrophes in the past, the population and the GNP of countries. Catastrophes such as tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that are independent of the weather are not considered. Climate change promotes the number and intensity of heat waves, droughts, floods , storms etc. Hence the categories “Deaths per 100,000 inhabitants” and “Losses per GNP in %” show how much a country has suffered from the consequences of extreme weather (and thus indirectly of climate change) between 1998 and 2007 already.
Munich Re's NatCatSERVICE uses different sources in order to determine the number of deaths following extreme weathers. Among them are governmental information, but also details from Non-governmental organizations, caritative organizations, the International Red Cross etc. As far as the total and the insured losses are concerned, NatCatSERVICE has access to global information provided by insurance industry. Non-insured losses are determined based on official information.
For the game losses of 0.00% in countries that had death victims due to extreme weathers were rounded up to 0.01%.
Countries in the game
For Climate-Poker 60 countries were chosen which represent a wide variety of values in the different categories. The 180 countries for which the CRI 2009 shows the relevant values had averagely
0.52 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants between 1998 and 2007 due to climate-induced storms etc. The average losses in these countries were 0.67 % of their GNP. However, Grenada, for example, lost about 19% of its GNP due to the hurricane “Ivan” alone.
- UN-website on the international climate negotiations
- Harmeling, Sven, 2008: Global Climate Risk Index 2009. Weather-Related Loss Events and Their Impacts on Countries in 2007 and in a Long-Term Comparison. Bonn: Germanwatch e.V.;
- Kompetenzzentrum GeoRisikoForschung der Münchener Rückversicherung: „Topics Geo“ .
- Hints on how to protect the climate can e.g. be found at CO2-online.