Economic losses from extreme weather events have risen from an annual global average of about $50 billion in the 1980s to close to $200 billion over the last decade, according to the report released today by the World Bank.
Building Resilience: Integrating Climate and Disaster Risk into Development, cites the weather-related damage figure from Munich Re insurance group and warns that the poorest nations in Africa and Asia are among the most vulnerable to climate– related losses. It also says these financial losses are concentrated in fast-growing, middle-income countries because such countries’ high-value assets are becoming more exposed. The average impact of disasters in such nations equaled 1 percent of gross domestic product between 2001 and 2006 — 20 times higher than the average for high-income countries.
The World Bank says climate-resilient development is the answer — but warns it isn’t cheap, with upfront costs running as much as 50 percent higher than traditional development. These investments will pay off in the long-run, the report says.
A study to calculate the economic risk US industries face from climate change is being funded by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, billionaire Tom Steyer and George W. Bush-era Treasury secretary Henry Paulson.
If US businesses act now to reduce GHG emissions by an average of 3 percent annually, they can save up to $190 billion in 2020 alone, or $780 billion over 10 years, according to a report published in June by World Wildlife Fund and CDP.