Dollars, that is.
The data come from NOAA, amounts are adjusted for inflation with the comsumer price index.
Billion-dollar weather disasters are getting more common. A lot more common. The reason is man-made climate change, i.e. global warming. It’s part of the cost of carbon.
NOAA classifies these disasters by type, and some are not increasing but you wouldn’t expect them to in a warming world. Like billion-dollar freezes, for instance:
It might look like they’re on the decline, but the change is not statistically significant (as indicated by the “p-value”) so there’s not really evidence of that. But when it comes to floods, the evidence is incontrovertible:
We’ve already had 4 billion-dollar flood events this year (Texas/Louisiana March, Houston April, West Virginia June, Louisiana August), and the data for 2016 only go through September. As for severe storms,
It’s already clear that the Trump administration intends to eliminate the “social cost of carbon” from all accounting of the cost of energy use. They’ve already taken steps to do that, and Trump hasn’t even been sworn in yet.
That means that the economic cost of increased weather/climate disasters, a direct consequence of man-made climate change, won’t figure in the cost of fossil-fuel industries doing business. It won’t eat in to their profits. It will eat in to your personal cost of living. It might destroy your home, your car, kill your retirement fund, put an end to your job, increase your insurance bill — if you can even get insurance.
Perhaps it won’t be too long before these figures actually go down. That’s because they’re based on the amounts of insured losses. The number of disasters and their total cost may go up — but the amount of insured losses will go down because nobody can afford insurance any more.
And all of that is just the economic cost of carbon. There is also the cost in human suffering. When Donald Trump and his administration say that’s not a real cost, that it’s just a “hoax invented by the Chinese,” go to New Jersey and ask someone who lost his home in superstorm Sandy whether the cost of human suffering is real or not. Go to New Orleans and ask someone who lost a loved family member to Hurricane Katrina, to put a dollar price on human suffering.
The guiding principle of the new administration will be this:
A disregard for human suffering in the pursuit of profit.
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