Biggest Climate Toll in Year of ‘Devastating’ Disasters Revealed
By PA Media
Most expensive storm cost $100bn while deadliest floods killed 1,700 and displaced 7 million, report finds.
The 10 most expensive storms, floods and droughts in 2022 each cost at least $3bn (£2.5bn) in a “devastating” year on the frontline of the climate crisis, a report shows.
Christian Aid has highlighted the worst climate-related disasters of the year asmore intense storms, heavy downpours and droughts are driven by rising global temperatures as a result of human activity.
They include storms and drought in the UK and Europe, along with major events on every inhabited continent.
Hurricane Ian caused the biggest financial impact – $100bn – when it hit the US and Cuba in September.
The toll included 130 deaths and the displacement of more than 40,000 people, a report from the aid agency said.
The biggest impact in terms of human costs were the Pakistan floods in June to September, which scientists found were significantly more likely because of the climate crisis, causing 1,739 deaths and displacing 7 million people.
The financial costs were $5.6bn – though that was only insured losses, and the true cost of the floods was estimated to be more than $30bn, Christian Aid said.
Alongside the 10 most costly events, the report from the charity highlights other noteworthy climate-related incidents that also caused deaths, displacement, devastation and environmental damage.
They include floods in Malaysia, Brazil and west Africa, long-running drought in the Horn of Africa, heatwaves in India and Pakistan, the Arctic and Antarctica, wildfire in Chile, storms in south-east Africa and the Philippines, and a tropical cyclone in Bangladesh.
The events also include February’s Storm Eunice, which hit the UK, Ireland and other parts of Europe, causing 16 deaths and costing $4.3bn.
Europe’s drought this summer – made several times more likely because of climate change – racked up costs of $20bn, hitting crop yields, driving up prices, affecting energy plants and disrupting shipping.
Droughts in China cost $8.4bn and in Brazil $4bn).
Floods in Australia in February to March led to 27 deaths. In South Africa in April, 459 people died in flooding. Both events displaced tens of thousands of people and cost billions.
Hugely expensive floods also hit China this year.
Christian Aid’s chief executive, Patrick Watt, said: “Having 10 separate climate disasters in the last year that each cost more than $3bn points to the financial cost of inaction on the climate crisis.
“But behind the dollar figures lie millions of stories of human loss and suffering. Without major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, this human and financial toll will only increase.
“The human cost of climate change is seen in the homes washed away by floods, loved ones killed by storms and livelihoods destroyed by drought.
“This year was a devastating one if you happened to live on the frontline of the climate crisis.”
He noted the need for UK government policies to reflect the reality. “The UK did not escape the ravages of climate change in 2022 with both Storm Eunice and the summer heatwave taking their toll,” he added.
“This underlines the need for policies to accelerate the transition to net zero and the folly of the decision to open a new coalmine in Cumbria.”
Christian Aid also said the report showed the importance of the fund created at the Cop27 international talks this year to compensate people in poorer countries for the loss and damage they suffered from the climate crisis – which they have done least to cause – and the urgency of getting it up and running.