UN: Climate Change Caused 2M Deaths, $4.3T Damages in Last 50 Years
On Monday, the UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that, over the last 50 years, nearly 12K extreme weather events linked with climate change have killed over 2M people and racked up more than $4.3T in damages.
- On Monday, the UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that, over the last 50 years, nearly 12K extreme weather events linked with climate change have killed over 2M people and racked up more than $4.3T in damages.1
- The report said that over 90% of the deaths occurred in developing countries with WMO chief Petteri Taalas saying, "The most vulnerable communities unfortunately bear the brunt of weather, climate and water-related hazards."2
- While a majority of the deaths occurred in developing nations, as well as a large portion of the economic losses, roughly $1.7T occurred in the developed US.3
- While the WMO has issued repeated warnings about climate change's extreme weather implications, the agency hopes the report will encourage improvements to early warning systems by 2027.3
- Many of the deaths linked to climate change occur from extreme hot and cold temperatures. Between 2000-2019, 9.4% of all global deaths were attributed to extreme weather; Europe has experienced the highest excess deaths per 100K people as a result of extreme heat.4
- The WMO acknowledged that improvements have been made to early warning systems. Historically, storms like Cyclone Mocha that devastated Bangladesh and Myanmar last week would have killed tens of thousands of people — Myanmar's military has reported just 145 deaths (though those close to the disaster fear the number is much higher.)2
Sources: 1ABC News, 2Al Jazeera, 3Outlook India, and 4Bloomberg.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by World101. World governments agree that something needs to be done about climate change, however, they don't all agree on what actions need to take place. A compromise will need to be reached in several key areas: carbon taxes, the capping, and trading of private-sector greenhouse gas emissions, clean energy standards, international agreements, adaptation policies, tech investments, and financial risks. Critical policy decisions in these areas that address the necessary changes to reverse climate change and the appetite of society will be the key to saving our planet or shutting the door to the possibility of change.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by NPR Online News. In the US, extreme heat is the number one killer of Americans. Impoverished people and people of color are often the victims. They are more likely to work and live in the more populous, urban areas with limited means for cooling themselves. Globally, marginalized populations like Indigenous people and poor people face the same challenges. Soaring temps will exacerbate health challenges that pregnant women and other vulnerable populations face unless the world's governments step up and use what little time is remaining to reduce emissions and upgrade critical infrastructure to provide adequate protection. The international community's response has been inadequate to date.
- Narrative C, as provided by FT. It's easy to dismiss any extreme weather event as a consequence of climate change, but in reality, they're usually influenced by a myriad of factors that have nothing to do with it. More research is needed before we can establish any direct causal link between the two.