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20/11/2013

The cost of climate change: 200 billion $ per year

According to a recent report released by the World Bank, over the past 10 years the economic losses caused by extreme weather events have risen to nearly $ 200 billion per year; moreover, they are going to grow further with the intensification of climate change. A group of United Nations scientists has warned that in the coming decades floods, droughts and storms will become more destructive as a result of greenhouse gas emissions that, at worldwide level, are not decreasing.

"While in 1980 the costs due to these extreme events stood at about $ 50 billion per year, over the past 10 years this figure is practically quadrupled ," said Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. "Even though it is not possible to link any extreme weather event to climate change, scientists have warned that extreme weather events will intensify if we do not take concrete and immediate measures to mitigate climate change."

In addition , the insurance company Munich Re estimated that total losses caused by natural disasters totaled $ 3,8 trillion in the 1980-2012 period, of which 74% can be ascribed to extreme weather events.

The World Bank points out that, although the climate-related disasters can strike all countries, the most serious economic and human losses are expected from the rapidly developing countries, which are building their economies in vulnerable areas. The mean incidence of disasters in these countries is equal to 1% of their GDP, ten times higher than in high-income countries .

This World Bank report confirmes once again what is already known: climate change is real that must be addressed without further delay. The planet is giving clear signals (the typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, 81 consecutive tornado in the U.S., the cyclone in Sardinia, just to mention the last ones) that we hope will finally captured by the governments gathered in Warsaw to develop a climate change mitigation strategy.

Sources: Reuters, World Bank