Climate crisis costing $16m an hour in extreme weather damage, study estimates
(The Guardian, 9 Oct 2023) Analysis shows at least $2.8tn in damage from 2000 to 2019 through worsened storms, floods and heatwaves.
The damage caused by the climate crisis through extreme weather has cost $16m (£13m) an hour for the past 20 years, according to a new estimate.
Storms, floods, heatwaves and droughts have taken many lives and destroyed swathes of property in recent decades, with global heating making the events more frequent and intense. The study is the first to calculate a global figure for the increased costs directly attributable to human-caused global heating.
It found average costs of $140bn (£115bn) a year from 2000 to 2019, although the figure varies significantly from year to year. The latest data shows $280bn in costs in 2022. The researchers said lack of data, particularly in low-income countries, meant the figures were likely to be seriously underestimated. Additional climate costs, such as from crop yield declines and sea level rise, were also not included.
The researchers produced the estimates by combining data on how much global heating worsened extreme weather events with economic data on losses. The study also found that the number of people affected by extreme weather because of the climate crisis was 1.2 billion over two decades.