The 44 developing countries represented among the hundred DM2009 finalists produce very modest amounts of carbon dioxide (the major man-made source of global warming) on a per-capita basis. The World Bank data visualization (above) divides the 44 countries into low income (green balls), lower-middle income (orange), and upper-middle income (blue). For comparison, the high-income U.S. is represented by the purple ball in the upper-right-hand corner.
The vertical axis shows emissions per capita in metric tons among finalist countries. A group of Sub-Saharan African nations -- represented by the green balls at the far left -- produce the lowest per-capita emissions -- as low as a fractional .10 metric tons. Russia -- the highest blue ball -- has the highest CO2 emission rate among finalist countries -- 10.5 tons. The U.S. rate is 19.5 tons. Per-capita emissions by India -- the largest orange ball -- are among the finalists' lowest rates, although the South Asian county is a major emitter overall because it is so populous.
Climate change's adverse affects, including drought, flooding, and rising sea levels, will hit developing countries the hardest, and that includes their economies as well as people (particularly the poor and other vulnerable) and natural resources. The effects are already being felt. The horizontal axis of the chart shows gross domestic product per capita in finalist countries. Many countries' per-capita GDP is already precariously low -- below $500 -- and some others, including India's, aren't much higher.
The DM2009 finalist projects' triple objectives are to protect people at the community level -- particularly the most vulnerable -- and the natural resources on which they depend, and energize generally faltering rural economies.