The True Cost of Climate Change: $391 Million Per Day Over the Past Two Decades

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Damage from the Global Climate Crisis Costs $391 Million Per Day, Study Shows

A recent report revealed that the global climate crisis has resulted in a staggering cost of $391 million per day over the past two decades. This includes the expenses incurred from wildfires, heatwaves, droughts, and other extreme events directly linked to climate change. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, indicates that the average annual cost from 2000 to 2019 exceeded $100 billion.

The report highlights that $143 billion per year, or 63% of the total costs, can be attributed to climatic change. The majority of these costs arise from the loss of human lives, while the remaining amount is associated with property and asset destruction.

According to the research, the years with the highest losses were 2008, followed by 2003 and 2010. These years were characterized by significant mortality events, such as Tropical Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, the severe heatwave across Europe, and the heatwave and drought in Russia and Somalia, respectively.

Understanding the Calculation of Losses

The estimation of these losses involved combining economic data with the impact of global heating on weather events. However, the study acknowledges that the true costs of climate change are likely underestimated due to the challenges in measuring indirect losses. These include productivity declines during heatwaves, mental health effects, and the loss of educational and employment opportunities resulting from damaged infrastructure.

The study also emphasizes the lack of data from lower-income countries, which further contributes to the underestimation of actual costs. Additionally, the value of a human life lost was estimated to be $7.08 million, aligning with the figures used by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency.

To minimize these climate-change-related costs, the researchers urge the implementation of adaptation policies such as constructing flood protection systems and improving early warning signal systems for extreme weather events.

Insights from Other Studies

Various organizations have attempted to quantify the losses incurred from climate disasters. The World Meteorological Organization reported that from 1970 to 2021, there were approximately 12,000 climate disasters, resulting in 2 million deaths and economic losses totaling $4.3 trillion, primarily affecting developing countries.

In a September report, the WMO emphasized that the planet is not on track to meet its climate goals. Rising global temperatures have led to an increase in extreme weather events.

The 2015 Paris climate accord aimed to limit global heating to well below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels and strive for a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, achieving these targets appears to be increasingly challenging.

According to the WMO’s forecasts, there is a 66% probability that the global near-surface temperature will temporarily exceed 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels within the next five years.

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