Dhaka has been ranked the top city in the world to face the highest climate change risks in the coming years.
The Bangladesh capital came top in the ranking of 50 cities by Maplecroft, a British firm specialising in risk analysis, as the changing temperatures and weather systems are forecast to take hold in the country in the coming decades.
Maplecroft's Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) classifies seven cities as "extreme risk," out of a list of 50 that were chosen for their current and future importance in global business.
Manila was ranked second in the firm's fifth annual "Climate Change and Environmental Risk Atlas 2013", while Bangkok, Yangon, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City and Kolkata came third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.
The CCVI looks at exposure to extreme weather events such as drought, cyclones, wildfires and storm surges, which translate into water stress, loss of crops and land lost to the sea.
With a strong economic growth of above 5 percent forecast for countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and India in the next few years, the relevance of climate change to populations and business in the major commercial centres should not be underplayed, according to Maplecroft.
The firm said extreme risk cities may see an increase in frequency and severity of key hydrological and meteorological events.
A further 19 cities are classed as " high risk" in the CCVI, including the important commercial centres of Mumbai (8) and Delhi (20) in India; Lagos, Nigeria (10); Johannesburg, South Africa (13); Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (21); and Hong Kong (14), Guangzhou (18), Shenzhen (19), Wuhan (23) and Shanghai in China (24).
New York, which took the full brunt of Superstorm Sandy, is ranked 41 of the 50 cities. Despite the city's exposure to natural hazards, it is only categorised as "medium risk" due to the USA's ability to adapt to a major climatic event.
Chicago, London, St Petersburg, Paris and Madrid, meanwhile, are the only five cities classified as "low risk".
Maplecroft said multinational companies operating in the Asian growth economies will be exposed to spiralling environmental risks.
“As global corporations expand into the emerging growth markets, their operations and supply chains will become exposed to a complex set of climate risks that have the potential to disrupt business continuity,” said Helen Hodge, head of Maps and Indices at Maplecroft.
“It is essential for them to identify where suppliers, assets and personnel are most at risk and plan for the long term.”
Maplecroft is a global risk and strategy consulting firm based in Bath, the UK. Its work includes analysing key political, economic, social and environmental risks impacting global business and investment.