The climate crisis has arrived and the science linking climate and ocean risk is undeniable. The recent IPCC report on the Ocean and the Cryosphere states that our oceans are at a tipping point. Sea levels are projected to rise by up to a meter by 2100 due to a combination of sea ice melt and thermal expansion. Moreover, the average intensity of extreme weather events are projected to increase by up to 10 percent, with rainfall associated with these events projected to rise by at least 7 percent per degree of warming on the sea surface.
These interconnected impacts of the changing climate are having serious consequences on developing coastal cities facing population growth, their environment and ecosystems, as well as the associated economic and social structures that support national, regional, and global security.
On top of these stressors, many developing cities are already dealing with underlying economic and social issues, such as poverty, outdated infrastructure, poor governance, and corruption. As climate change worsens, this intersection of social, economic, and environmental issues may leave governments in developing cities unable to provide basic services and protections to its citizens, which could lead to unrest, instability, and possibly conflict.
Despite growing recognition of the impact of climate and ocean risks on security in coastal cities, there is a lack of decision tools to help integrate these multiple risk factors at the city level. Against this backdrop, governments, financial institutions, development organizations, and the private sector need tools which identify and prioritize issues of greatest climate and ocean risk.
To create a more holistic picture of these vulnerabilities, the Stimson Center has developed the Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index (CORVI), which quantifies diverse climate and oceans risks at the city level. The objective of CORVI is to drive investment towards issues of greatest risk, and provide a tool for decision makers to help them prioritize necessary action to mitigate these risks.
The Stimson Center would like to thank AXA XL as a founding partner of the CORVI.