Bangladesh, Ethiopia to Swelter in 2050: a Gro Analysis

Warmer sea surface temperatures could also intensify tropical cyclones, an annual risk for low-lying Bangladesh

Extreme heat is projected to hit Bangladesh and Ethiopia hard by 2050, according to a Gro analysis that looked at least developed countries’ (LDCs) climate vulnerabilities. LDCs are low-income countries confronting severe structural impediments to sustainable development. 

In Bangladesh, the number of days above 35°C (95°F) each year is on course to jump 85%, from 15 days to 28 days, by 2050, our analysis based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) “middle of the road” warming scenario, SSP2-4.5, shows. Ethiopia is tracking a comparable spike in days above 35°C. Under the same IPCC climate change scenario, it is projected to see the number of days a year over 35°C increase 64%, from 28 days to 46 days, by 2050 (chart below). 

As Ethiopia’s population is forecast to rise 74.1% to 214.81 million by 2050, under UN World Population Prospects’ (UNWPP) medium model projections, the number of people dealing with climate change’s impacts will likely grow. By 2050, Bangladesh’s population is expected to increase 19.1% to 203.91 million, under the same UNWPP projections. 

Extreme heat is linked to increased mortality, and it can increase the intensity of precipitation events and droughts, thus magnifying climate risks that Bangladesh and Ethiopia already face. Currently, Gro Drought Index readings for Ethiopia, using Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator for Agriculture, are at their highest level in at least 20 years, as we reported here

Warmer sea surface temperatures could also intensify tropical cyclones, an annual risk for low-lying Bangladesh. 

For example, Bangladesh’s Chittagong Division, which has a population of more than 28 million, has a 33% chance of a tropical cyclone impact in any given year, a 12% chance of the equivalent of a hurricane-strength storm, and a 3% chance of a category 3 storm or above, according to the Gro Climate Indicator (GCI) for Tropical Cyclone Risk, an indicator that provides users with visibility into any area or asset’s hurricane risk profile worldwide. 

In 2019, the world’s 46 LDCs were estimated to account for about 1.1% of total world carbon emissions from fossil-fuel combustion and industrial processes – the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions globally.

Last week an LDC bloc representing countries from the Global South called for a global day of action to demand climate justice on Saturday, November 12, midway through COP27, the UN’s next major climate change conference.