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Counting the cost: a year of climate breakdown

Source(s):  Christian Aid (CA)

This report identifies 10 of the most destructive weather events of 2018, each of which caused damage of over US$1 billion. Four of the events cost more than $7 billion each. These figures are likely to be underestimates: in some cases they show only insured losses and do not take into account the costs of lost productivity and uninsured losses.

In many developing countries the human cost of climate change to vulnerable communities is much higher than the financial cost, and there are many slow-onset droughts, weather change and sea encroachment that are progressively and devastatingly impacting millions of people worldwide. However, this report focuses on the high impact events of the year as they present the dramatic impacts across countries, rich and poor.

All of these disasters are linked with human-caused climate change. In some cases scientific studies have shown that climate change made the particular event more likely or stronger, for example with warmer oceans supercharging tropical storms. In other cases, the event was the result of shifts in weather patterns - like higher temperatures and reduced rainfall that made fires more likely - that are themselves consequences of climate change.

2018 was the fourth-hottest year on record, with average global temperatures nearly 1°C above the pre-industrial average. The warming trend is clear, with the last four years the hottest on record, and matches scientific projections of the results of human emissions of greenhouse gases. This report highlights some of the disastrous consequences of this warming that are already striking. 

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  • Counting the cost: a year of climate breakdown
  • Publication date 2018
  • Number of pages 14 p.

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