As the Earth continues to warm, climate disasters are getting more extreme. In 2020, the impact was on vivid display with record-shattering wildfires in the western U.S. and the historic Atlantic hurricane season.
Hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters across the United States caused $95 billion in damage last year, according to new data, almost double the amount in 2019 and the third-highest losses since 2010.
The new figures, reported Thursday morning by Munich Re, a company that provides insurance to other insurance companies, are the latest signal of the growing cost of climate change. They reflect a year marked by a record number of named Atlantic storms, as well as the largest wildfires ever recorded in California.
Those losses occurred during a year that was one of the warmest on record, a trend that makes extreme rainfall, wildfires, droughts and other environmental catastrophes more frequent and intense.
While the role of the climate crisis in Cyclone Idai is still not fully known, experts believe there are links to rising sea-surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean. “We are getting a much higher frequency of high-intensity storms,” says Jennifer Fitchett, associate professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Idai was followed by Kenneth, another category 4 cyclone that hit the border of Mozambique and Tanzania six weeks later. (Two severe tropical cyclones in one season is very unusual for the Mozambique Channel.)
Too many Americans are experiencing the wrath of climate-related disasters firsthand. These disasters are killing our citizens, bankrupting businesses, endangering our national security, and threatening to leave our children a world of growing scarcity and conflict. President-elect Joe Biden said this past weekend that we need to meet climate chaos with “the urgency it demands, as we would during any national emergency.” He is absolutely right, and he should use every tool available to him, including declaring a national climate emergency and using emergency powers to take unilateral executive action.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose a serious threat to the health and safety of Canadians across the country, but the impacts of a changing climate have not slowed either. Across the country this year, Canadians were impacted by another year of extreme weather events—from destructive summer hailstorms, thick smoky skies, to powerful tornadoes.
According to the World Bank, the number of people in poverty will climb from 68 million to 132 million by 2030 because of climate change. The existence of global poverty is common knowledge, but many of us remain unaware of the leading cause. Climate change is the culprit of the devastating droughts and natural disasters that have created lasting effects on poverty levels worldwide. The consequences of climate change include food shortages, water shortages, loss of shelter, and a loss of livelihood, each of which are defining factors of poverty.
Global sea level has risen an average of 0.13 inches (3.3 millimeters) a year since satellites began precisely measuring sea surface height following the 1992 launch of the Topex/Poseidon mission, a partnership between NASA and Centre National D’Etudes Spatiales in France. In the northeastern Pacific off the U.S. West Coast, however, sea level actually fell at a rate of around 0.04 inches (1 millimeter) per year during the 1990s and 2000s.
Increasing temperatures and sea levels, changing precipitation patterns and more extreme weather are threatening human health and safety, food and water security and socio-economic development in Africa, according to a new report devoted exclusively to the continent.
California is burning, a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph just blasted into the Louisiana coast, and nearly 180,000 are reported dead from a viral outbreak that is just a harbinger of what one scientist calls “a new pandemic era” driven in part by our changing climate and wanton destruction of ecosystems. While there are positive indicators that people are waking up to the growing threat of climate change, a much greater pace and scale of climate action is needed to stave off its worst effects. Riskthinking.ai provides clients with forward-looking scenarios tools that render a deeper understanding of the true cost of climate risk, in order to drive timely decision-making.