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  • Rovindu Ambagolla

Triple Bottom Tuesday >>> What This Year’s Ten Worst Climate Disasters Cost

Picture Credit: Jonathan Kemper

The true cost of climate change becomes more apparent with each passing year. The rise in the average global temperature due to excessive emissions of greenhouse gases will result in an accelerated and unnatural rise in sea level. However, the polar ice caps melting at a faster rate isn’t the only threat that global warming poses, climate change will also rapidly increase the frequency of natural disasters we face every year.

This year alone, the ten worst destructive weather events combined cost more than $170 billion in damages. Hurricane Ida, a storm which affected eastern US with extreme winds (wind speeds crossed over 240 km/h) and rain in August killed more than 95 people. Recent estimates reveal that Hurricane Ida itself caused more than $65 billion in damages.

In July, Europe experienced floods which caused 240 deaths and over $43 billion in damages according to a research report published by the UK charity organisation, Christian Aid. Similarly, Henan, a province located in China’s yellow river valley, was also affected by heavy rain and severe flooding. The floods in Henan killed more than 300 people and caused $17 billion in damages.

-Flooding in Germany Picture Source: Aljazeera website

“The cost of climate change have been grave this year… It is clear that the world is not on track to ensure a safe and prosperous world”, commented Kat Kramer, Christian Aid’s climate policy lead. This year is said to be the sixth time that global natural disasters caused more than $100 billion in damages. All six of those years occurred in the last decade.

However, climate change has also affected many developing regions of the world. South Sudan, a country with over 11 million people and a GDP of just $12 billion USD, faced floods which displaced more than one million people. Countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya face constant and devastating droughts which threaten food security for millions in the region. These nations contribute much less to global warming relative to countries like China and the US, yet they end up suffering from some of the harshest consequences of global warming and have the least resources to deal with them.

This is why it is extremely important that conferences like the UN’s yearly COP summits and treaties such as the Paris Agreement yield tangible results, because people are being affected by each and every broken promise and unachieved target.

December 28th 2021 | 6:15 PM

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