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Tue Dec 31, 2019, 06:30 PM

There Were More Than 100 "Billion Dollar" Climate Disasters in the Past Decade


11 hours ago
There Were More Than 100 “Billion Dollar” Climate Disasters in the Past Decade
And 6 other disturbing numbers that show just how bad the climate change crisis has gotten.

Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
Lydia O'Connor


There were more than 100 “billion dollar” climate disasters, double from the decade before

A HuffPost analysis of federal data on the costliest droughts, floods, storms, cyclones and fires in the US this decade offered a grim look at how expensive it became for the country to continue with business as usual.

In the last 10 years, the US experienced at least 115 climate and weather disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each, according to data from the NOAA that runs through Oct. 8 of this year.

That’s nearly double the number of such events that took place in the US during the previous decade, when the NOAA tallied 59 events that caused at least $1 billion in damage. There were 52 such events in the 1990s and 28 in the 1980s. That’s as far back as the NOAA’s data—which is adjusted for inflation—goes.

Of the five most expensive billion-dollar events in the NOAA’s records, four took place this decade. The most expensive disaster of the 2010s was Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which caused an estimated $130 billion in damages. It’s followed by Hurricane Maria at $93 billion, Hurricane Sandy at $73 billion and Hurricane Irma at $52 billion.

The devastating California wildfires in 2017 and 2018 were also the two most expensive disasters of their kind from the last four decades. The 2018 fires—which include the one that burned Paradise, California, to the ground—totaled $24 billion in damage, while the 2017 fires that scorched the state’s wine country caused $19 billion worth of destruction.

Meanwhile, we pumped a record 40.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air in 2019

Global carbon emissions quadrupled since 1960. After emissions steadied from about 2014 to 2016, they then rose again in 2017 and have been climbing since.

Carbon emissions reached a record high in 2018 and then again this year—when scientists estimated that countries worldwide spewed more than 40.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air. The rise was spurred in part by increased output in China and India, per a study from researchers for the annual Global Carbon Budget.

This bleak news came amid a series of reports released this year urging a dramatic cutback of carbon emissions to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

We’re ending this decade on track to warm a catastrophic 3.2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century

Like pretty much every other climate report from this decade, an emissions assessment the UN released at the end of 2019 came with a dire warning. According to a study of the so-called emissions gap—a marker of the difference between the amount of planet-heating gases countries have agreed to cut and where the current projections are headed—global temperatures are on pace to rise as much as 3.2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by the end of the century. That’s more than double what scientists project is enough warming to cause irreversible damage to the planet.

To change that fate, the next 10 years will be crucial. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned last fall that humanity has just under a decade to get climate change under control. But as grim as the report is, it reaffirms that making such sweeping changes—however unprecedented such a drastic adjustment may be—is still possible.

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Reply There Were More Than 100 "Billion Dollar" Climate Disasters in the Past Decade (Original post)
babylonsister Dec 2019 OP
babylonsister Jan 2020 #1

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Jan 1, 2020, 02:21 AM

1. Not sexy enough?

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