The High Cost of Climate Disasters

Extreme weather events in the United States cost $165 billion and killed more than 474 people last year.

1 minute read

January 11, 2023, 10:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


San Francisco, California

hkalkan / Shutterstock

Damage from climate-related catastrophes in the United States cost roughly $165 billion in 2022, reports Zahra Hirji for Bloomberg Green. The figure comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which tracks major disasters and their damage in dollars and lives. “The 2022 price tag isn’t even complete because it doesn’t include the costs of that massive winter storm and cold spell in December.” As Hirji points out, “2022 was the nation’s third most expensive year for billion-dollar disasters by NOAA’s ranking, following 2017 ($373.2 billion) and 2005 ($253.5 billion).”

The growing intensity of weather disasters and their destruction isn’t limited to the United States. “Severe weather events and other disasters globally cost roughly $120 billion in insured losses and $270 billion in uninsured losses last year, according to estimates by insurance giant Munich Re.” 

According to NOAA Administrator Richard Spinrad, climate change plays a significant role in creating bigger and more destructive weather events. Extreme weather events also build on each other, such as when heavy rainfall triggers mudslides and flooding in areas previously affected by wildfires, a vicious cycle increasingly evident in California, where wildfires are now the second largest source of the state’s carbon emissions.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023 in Bloomberg Green

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