Extreme Weather Events Have Had Huge Cost

Extreme Weather Disasters Have Cost U.S. Taxpayers Tens of Billions Since 2015.

NOTE: Be sure to download the full report if you want to see the useful data, of events by type and by state, provided.

 A new analysis done by the Center for American Progress shows that extreme weather events—which will become more frequent and severe with climate change—have cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars. Between 2005 and 2015, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, provided more than $67 billion to individuals and local governments in response to declared emergencies and major disasters. Communities in Louisiana, New York, Mississippi, New Jersey and Texas received the most FEMA aid during this time period.

“Climate change is causing more and more extreme weather events, putting at risk not only the lives and livelihoods of Americans but also significant taxpayer funds,” said Erin Auel, CAP Research Assistant and co-author of the paper. “As global temperatures continue to climb, these events are going to become more frequent, more powerful, more deadly, and more costly. Taking steps to address climate change and better prepare for the changes that are currently irreversible will save the United States significant amounts of money in the long term and reduce the devastation we have seen from natural disasters in recent years.”

Future Weather: Hotter, Wetter, Dryer

Emerging threats: 2015 made history with record heat, weather extremes: WMO
Future Weather: hotter, wetter, dryer

The year 2015 made history, with shattered temperature records, intense heatwaves, exceptional rainfall, devastating drought, and unusual tropical cyclone activity, according to the World Meteorological Organization. That record-breaking trend has continued in 2016. The global average surface temperature in 2015 broke all previous records by a wide margin, at about 0.76° Celsius above the 1961-1990 average because of a powerful El Niño and human-caused global warming. With 93 percent of excess heat stored in the oceans, ocean heat content down to 2,000 meters also hit a new record.

The year 2015 made history, with shattered temperature records, intense heatwaves, exceptional rainfall, devastating drought, and unusual tropical cyclone activity, according to the World Meteorological Organization. That record-breaking trend has continued in 2016.

The WMO Statement on the Status of the Climate in 2015 gave details of the record land and sea surface temperatures, unabated ocean warming and sea level rise, shrinking sea ice extent, and extreme weather events around the world.
It was released to coincide with World Meteorological Day on 23 March, which has the theme “Hotter, drier, wetter. Face the Future.”
“The future is happening now,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
“The alarming rate of change we are now witnessing in our climate as a result of greenhouse gas emissions is unprecedented in modern records,” said Taalas.

“Our Failing Weather Infrastructure”

From the NY Times, an article about another potentially disastrous deficiency:  Our Failing Weather Infrastructure. Clearly federal budget cuts in recent times have done a lot of damage. An excerpt:

Each of these instances revealed just how fragile our national weather program really is, and how desperately we need to invest significantly more in the weather infrastructure, technology and the kind of communication redundancies that will keep all of us safe.

This is not a new problem. For years, congressional allocations to the National Weather Service have all but flatlined. Meanwhile, the cost of storm recovery has skyrocketed. In the 20 years leading up to Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the United States suffered 133 weather disasters that exceeded $1 billion in damages, for a total of over $875 billion. Sandy, the second-costliest hurricane in the nation’s history, came with a price tag of an estimated $65 billion.

Insurance for Weather-Related Disasters

Article in the NY times titled a Retreat from Weather Related Disasters is mainly about obtaining insurance for weather-related disasters.

Direct link to the Ceres report titled Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey Report & Scorecard: 2014 Findings & Recommendations

UPDATE: Additional info in an article from the Canadian Globe and Mail paper; see: Study finds insurers lack ‘preparedness’ in climate cases .The effects of climate change could lead to stormy conditions for global insurers – and most aren’t ready for that forecast, research shows.

Insurance companies operating in the United States show a “profound lack of preparedness in addressing climate-related risks and opportunities,” according to not-for-profit sustainability advocacy group Ceres’s Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey.

A study of 330 companies, representing 87 per cent of insurance premiums issued in the U.S., awarded top ratings to just nine firms – almost all of which of are large, global insurers and reinsurers, such as Munich Re, Swiss Re and Allianz.

More Comments on the WMO report

From the Guardian ( U.K.)  Eight ways climate change is making the world more dangerous. Disasters including storms, floods and heatwaves have increased fivefold since the 1970s, UN finds

Forget the future. The world already is nearly five times as dangerous and disaster prone as it was in the 1970s, because of the increasing risks brought by climate change, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organisation.

The first decade of the 21st century saw 3,496 natural disasters from floods, storms, droughts and heat waves. That was nearly five times as many disasters as the 743 catastrophes reported during the 1970s – and all of those weather events are influenced by climate change.

The bottom line: natural disasters are occurring nearly five times as often as they were in the 1970s. But some disasters – such as floods and storms – pose a bigger threat than others. Flooding and storms are also taking a bigger bite out of the economy. But heat waves are an emerging killer.

One more article from Climate Central.