Environment

Climate change driving huge surge in natural disasters, UN finds

Climate change driving huge su...
Climate change has led to a huge increase in natural disasters such as floods, a new UN report has found
Climate change has led to a huge increase in natural disasters such as floods, a new UN report has found
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Climate change has led to a huge increase in natural disasters such as floods, a new UN report has found
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Climate change has led to a huge increase in natural disasters such as floods, a new UN report has found

Experts warn that climate change will make the world a more inhospitable place to live, and we may be further along in that journey than we realized, a new report from the UN has revealed. The frequency of natural disasters over the past two decades is almost double that of the 1980-1999 period, the organization says, with extreme weather events driven by climate change accounting for a large portion of the uptick.

The report titled The Human Cost of Disasters 2000-2019 takes stock of major disasters to strike the human race since the turn of the century. These events are defined as having killed 10 or more people, affected 100 people or more, triggered a state of emergency or a call for international assistance.

Over that two-decade period, there were 7,348 major disaster events recorded, which claimed 1.23 million lives and affected some 4.2 billion people, at a cost of US$2.97 trillion in global economic losses. This is a dramatic increase on the 1980-1999 period, in which 4,212 disaster events were recorded, claiming approximately 1.19 million lives and affecting 3.25 billion people. This came at a cost of US$1.63 trillion globally.

"More lives are being saved but more people are being affected by the expanding climate emergency," says Mami Mizutori, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction. "Disaster risk is becoming systemic with one event overlapping and influencing another in ways that are testing our resilience to the limit. The odds are being stacked against us when we fail to act on science and early warnings to invest in prevention, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction."

Climate-related extreme weather events account for a large amount of both tallies, according to the report, with 3,656 for the 1980-1999 period and 6,681 for the 2000-2019 period. Major floods have more than doubled across that period to number 3,254, while storms increased from 1,457 to 2,034.

If this level of growth in extreme weather events continues over the next twenty years, the future of mankind looks very bleak indeed

Other major increases were seen in the frequency of drought, wildfires and extreme temperature events. When it comes to the reasons for this dramatic increase in extreme weather events, the authors have little doubt about where the blame lies, noting that the global average temperature in 2019 was 1.1 °C (1.98 °F) above the pre-industrial period.

“If this level of growth in extreme weather events continues over the next twenty years, the future of mankind looks very bleak indeed,” says Professor Debarati Guha-Sapir from Beligum’s University of Louvain, one of the authors of the report. “We will have to live with the consequences of existing levels of climate change for a long time to come and there are many practical measures that can be taken to reduce the burden of disaster losses especially on low and middle-income countries that lack resources and are most exposed to economic losses on a scale that undermines their efforts to eradicate poverty and to provide good quality social services including health and education.”

The full report is available here.

Source: UN

12 comments
Nobody
World population has nearly doubled since 1980, so has building along the coasts and rivers. So, no surprise that more people are killed and more damage from storms. To add to this fear mongering in my area, the media weathermen and women are issuing severe storm warnings every time it rains. If thunderstorms are possible, then we get tornado warnings. These alerts often begin several days before a weather front approaches so the hysteria lasts for days and often for nothing. We no longer pay much attention unless we can actually see storms coming. All these climate fanatics avoid talking about the 1930s when temperature extremes were much more severe than today.
aksdad
Virtually every claim make is demonstrably false. No surprise there, coming from a political organization. Every point they make is refuted by the IPCC AR5 report from 2013, which was based on the latest observations: there is no statistically significant increase in the size or frequency of natural disasters, extreme weather events, major floods, drought, storms, or wildfires. None. (Or hurricanes, which wasn't mentioned here.) The only significant change is how they calculate a "natural disaster" and its cost. Why? To support their preconceived fantasy that a paltry 1.1° C temperature increase over a hundred-plus years is wreaking an apocalypse on us, which anyone who has a passing grasp of thermodynamics and physics will tell you is complete nonsense.

Things haven't changed much in the 7 years since IPCC AR5, but the fervor and madness of climate revolutionaries continues unabated, though it is measurably more strident. The fantasy is more real to these people than observations, data, and science. Come back to the real world.
nick101
Obviously we must stop using fossil fuels immediately, and nuclear, and use a sustainable 40w per hour to heat and cool our homes, ride our bikes the average 30km commute, and only eat organic! :/
1stClassOPP
Climate change is by and large caused by the incessant punching holes in our atmosphere by untold numbers of rockets. Stop before it’s too late!
buzzclick
As usual, the dipstick climate change deniers think they know better.

Get it into your thick heads people. If this level of growth in capitalist over consumption continues, we're in a heap of trouble. There's too many of us gobbling up a disproportional amount of resources!
Signguy
Fearmongering AGAIN...
NOBODY & AKSDAD: Well put.
BlueOak
You instantly lost my attention at "UN".
Don Duncan
"Experts warn", "more inhospitable world"?? What experts? "Inhospitable" compared to when? The last ice age? Any ice age? Super-volcano activity that covered the globe with clouds/ash for decades? That was inhospitable. Population is up, poverty down over the 20th century. The trend continues. The govt. fear hyping continues also. Fear distracts people's attention from the abject failure of politics.It encourages people to obey immoral, impractical, irrational, tyrannical govt. edicts.

Meanwhile, inorganic conventional farming destroys the soil fertility, the food quality, and health suffers.

Imagine a world without war, without warmongers, without politicians, without bureaucrats. It starts one country at a time, e.g., Switzerland hasn't succumbed to the hate/fear hysteria for over a century and has the highest standard of living.
guzmanchinky
While I agree we need to get off fossil fuels, does this report take into account the population increase, as well as the people who live closer to forests and places that can cause havoc with populations? Is part of the problem that we are so much better now at documenting these disasters? Again, I am all for a renewable future, oil is dirty and political, but if we are talking real science we need to look at these scenarios in a totally objective manner.
akarp
@aksdad...LOL
How about actually reading the IPCC AR5 report from 2013?

"Surface temperature is projected to rise over the 21st century under all assessed emission
scenarios. It is very likely that heat waves will occur more often and last longer, and that
extreme precipitation events will become more intense and frequent in many regions. The
ocean will continue to warm and acidify, and global mean sea level to rise. {2.2}"

"Climate change will amplify existing risks and create new risks for natural and human systems. Risks are unevenly distributed and are generally greater for disadvantaged people and
communities in countries at all levels of development. {2.3}"