The cost of extreme weather events

  • The report focuses on financial impact — usually more in richer countries because of higher property values and greater insurance coverage
Cyclones Yaas and Tauktae — both hit India — ranked 4th and 5th, accounting for $3 billion and $1.5 billion respectively(AFP) PREMIUM
Cyclones Yaas and Tauktae — both hit India — ranked 4th and 5th, accounting for $3 billion and $1.5 billion respectively(AFP)
Published on Dec 30, 2021 08:31 PM IST
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ByHT Editorial

A report by Christian Aid, Counting the cost 2021: A year of climate breakdown, has identified 15 of the most destructive climate disasters of the year and their financial costs. Released on December 27, the report says that the top 10 most expensive events cost over $1.5 billion with Hurricane Ida in the United States topping the list at $65 billion. Four of the 10 events occurred in Asia. Cyclones Yaas and Tauktae — both hit India — ranked 4th and 5th, accounting for $3 billion and $1.5 billion respectively. These estimates are based on insured losses, which means the actual costs could be much higher.

The report focuses on financial impact — usually more in richer countries because of higher property values and greater insurance coverage. But the real impact is more severe and intergenerational for poorer countries (which contribute little to the climate crisis), and on their marginalised groups that faced food insecurity, mass displacement, and loss of life and property. The pandemic only made it more challenging for them. For instance, when cyclone Yaas hit India, shelters could not be fully used because of social distancing.

These extreme events highlight the need for concrete climate action, especially finance and technology for the Global South. The industrialised North agreed to mobilise $100 billion of climate finance per year by 2020, but failed to meet this goal. It also failed to provide an adaptation funding road map during the Glasgow meet. The latest report shows (again) that the developed world must adhere to the principles of climate justice, and provide finance and technology to the developing world without any further ado.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022