Climate disasters hit the world four to five times more often and cause seven times more damage than in the 1970s, the United Nations weather agency reports.
But these disasters are killing far fewer people. In the 1970s and 1980s, they killed an average of about 170 people a day worldwide. In the 2010s, which dropped to around 40 a day, the World Meteorological Organization It said in a report Wednesday that looks at more than 11,000 weather disasters in the past half century.
The report comes during a globally disastrous summer, with the United States simultaneously hit by powerful Hurricane gone and an avalanche of drought worsened forest fires.
“The good news is that we have been able to minimize the number of casualties once we started to have an increasing number of disasters: heat waves, floods, droughts and especially … intense tropical storms like Ida, which has recently been hitting Louisiana and Mississippi in the United States, ”said Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary General, at a news conference.
“But the bad news is that the economic losses have been growing very rapidly and this growth is supposed to continue.” “We are going to see more climate extremes due to climate change, and these negative trends in climate will continue for decades to come.”
In the 1970s, the world averaged about 711 weather disasters a year, but from 2000 to 2009 that was up to 3,536 per year or nearly 10 per day, according to the report, which used data from the Center for Research on Disaster Epidemiology in Belgium. The average number of annual disasters dropped somewhat in the 2010s to 3,165, according to the report.
Most of the deaths and damages during 50 years of weather disasters were due to storms, floods and droughts.
More than 90% of the more than 2 million deaths occur in what the UN considers developing nations, while almost 60% of the economic damage occurred in richer countries.
In the 1970s, climate disasters cost about $ 175 million a year globally, when adjusted to 2019 dollars, the UN found. That increased to $ 1.38 billion a year in the 2010s.
What’s driving the destruction is that more people are moving into dangerous areas as climate change is making weather disasters stronger and more frequent, UN disaster and climate officials said. Meanwhile, they said, better weather warnings and preparedness are reducing the death toll.
“The good news is that we are learning to live with risks and to protect ourselves,” said Susan Cutter, director of the Institute for Risk and Vulnerability Research at the University of South Carolina, who was not part of the report. “On the other hand, we are still making stupid decisions about where we put our infrastructure. … But it’s okay. We are not losing lives, we are only losing things. “
UN: Climate disasters increase in number, cost, but deaths decrease. #Climate change
Hurricane Ida is a good example of major damage and what will likely be less loss of life than previous major hurricanes, Cutter said. This year, he added, weather disasters “seem to happen every two weeks,” with Ida, wildfires and floods hitting the United States in Germany, China and Tennessee.
“The number of weather, climate and water extremes is increasing and will be more frequent and severe in many parts of the world as a result of climate change,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
The five costliest weather disasters since 1970 were all storms in the United States, surpassed by those of 2005. Hurricane Katrina. The five deadliest weather disasters occurred in Africa and Asia, led by the Drought and famine in Ethiopia in the mid-1980s and Cyclone Bhola in Bangladesh in 1970.
Borenstein reported from Kensington, Maryland.
The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.