* Online tool ranks nations' climate change vulnerability
* Denmark tops rankings; Central African Republic lowest
* U.S., Canada, Chile, most of Europe in top 20
By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent
WASHINGTON, Sept 14 Kyrgyzstan and some other
parts of the former Soviet Union could have investment
potential as they adapt to a warming world, according to a
ranking of 161 countries released on Wednesday.
The Global Adaptation Index, or GaIn, was put together by
international policy makers, economists and scientists to gauge
which countries need the most help but also which have the
greatest possibility of adapting to climate change.
At gain.globalai.org, the database ranks each
country's vulnerability to the effects of a warming climate --
access to water, food, healthcare and adequate infrastructure
-- and its economic, social and governmental readiness to
In general, wealthier countries were ranked best prepared
for and least vulnerable to such climate-linked problems as
floods, droughts and hurricanes, with Denmark at the top. Some
of the poorest countries ranked lowest, with Central African
Republic, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Chad and Ethiopia at the bottom.
Kyrgyzstan is not as vulnerable as other countries with
similarly low per capita GDP, according to Ian Noble, a veteran
of the World Bank and chief scientist at the Global Adaptation
Institute's council of scientific advisers.
But with its relatively low personal income levels it will
need outside investment in areas such as food supply.
"You have to be a little cautious," Noble said in a
telephone interview. "I wouldn't say Kyrgyzstan was ripe with
investment opportunities, certainly not. But the point is,
Kyrgyzstan is doing something different compared to other
countries with low GDP."
Well-prepared, least-vulnerable countries aren't
necessarily the best place to invest, he said.
"You don't invest in someplace where almost everything's
been done -- the Denmarks and Germanys and the U.S.," Noble
"You also don't go down to the Central African Republics
and Chads because that's the business of the World Bank and the
development agencies. You want to go somewhere in the sweet
spot in the middle."
Denmark was ranked least vulnerable to climate-linked
problems, and Switzerland, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand
rounded out the top five.
The United States ranked eighth, and the top 20 included
most of Europe and Canada, with Chile in the Number 20 spot.
China ranked 96th and India was 117th.
(Editing by Vicki Allen)