Updated Flood Risk Index maps how climate change will shape future flood risk

Marsh McLennan has released his Flood Risk Index 2.0 update, which shows how flood risk is expected to change and grow as the climate changes.

Floods are the most widespread natural disaster, but their costs are systematically underestimated. Climate change, economic and demographic trends and a chronic lack of investment in resilience combine to increase risk, says Marsh McLennan.

The Flood Risk Index includes risk scores for 180 countries under current conditions and under warming scenarios of 1.5°C, 2°C and 3.5°C. The index shows that a warming of 3.5°C would cause a dramatic increase in global flood risk, and that even limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 or 2°C would significantly worsen the threat of flooding.

According to the index:

  • In Australia, 30% of the population and 28% of economic assets are at risk under current conditions, with a 2°C warming expected to increase these percentages to 49% and 52%, respectively.
  • In Germany, 6% of the population and 6% of economic assets are currently at risk, while in a 2°C scenario, 16% of people and 17% of assets would be at risk from flooding.
  • In the United States, 11% of the population and 11% of economic assets are currently exposed to flooding. In a 2°C scenario, these percentages will increase to 24% and 27% respectively.
  • In a 2°C warming scenario, India will be the G20 country facing the highest level of flood risk, and South Korea will have the largest share of its population and economic assets exposed to flooding. .

Given the propensity of major infrastructure projects to be located near bodies of water, the index now includes information on the global distribution of these critical assets. According to estimates by Marsh McLennan, 23% of global power generation capacity, 26% of international port exits and 18% of international airport seats are currently at risk of flooding. A warming of 2°C would raise these percentages to 41%, 52% and 37%, respectively.

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