‘Climate disasters cost the world $100bn in 2021’

A new report lays bare the financial and human devastation climate change caused throughout the last year

Big Zero Report 2023

During the last year, 10 extreme weather events collectively cost the world more than $100 billion (£73.9bn) in damages.

That’s according to new research from Christian Aid, which has reviewed the 15 most destructive climate disasters of 2021.

Out of the 15 disasters considered, 10 cost $1.5 billion (£1.1bn) or more, with Hurricane Ida in the US leading to the deaths of 95 people and costing $65 billion (£48bn) in damages alone.

The report has warned that although the financial impacts were higher in richer countries due to a more abundant supply of high value goods and properties, the impact on developing countries must not be dismissed.

It points to events in South Sudan as an example, in which floods have left more than 850,000 people displaced and droughts also continue to ravage East Africa.

According to the report, four of the most costly events took place in Asia, with floods and typhoons costing $24 billion (£17.7bn) – this includes one flood in China’s Henan province killing 320 people and costing $17.5 billion (£13bn).

The study disclosed that in four of the last five years, climate disasters have led to $100 billion (£73.9 billion) in damages and this is only going to increase if emissions are not cut and global warming is not handled with haste.

Lead author Dr Kat Kramer said: “The costs of climate change have been grave this year, both in terms of eyewatering financial losses but also in the death and displacement of people around the world.

“Be it storms and floods in some of the world’s richest countries or droughts and heatwaves in some of the poorest, the climate crisis hit hard in 2021. While it was good to see some progress made at the COP26 summit, it is clear that the world is not on track to ensure a safe and prosperous world.”

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