Natural Disasters Are Destroying a Lower Percentage of Humanity’s Stuff Since 1990

How An Earthquake In Japan Triggered An Algae Invasion In The Pacific Northwest

A boat from the 2011 Japan tsunami that washed up on the coast of Oregon, barnacles and all. (Photo: John Chapman)

In 2011, a colossal tsunami set off by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake slammed into the eastern shores of Japan. Not long afterwards, some of the 1.5 million tons of floating debris created by the waves, from buoys and boats to entire fishing docks, began washing up along America’s northwest Pacific coast.

As revealed by a recent study, dozens of species of algae — globally abundant, as well as those found in Asia and across the northern Pacific — snuck along on this debris and turned up in Oregon and Washington. Spending several years collecting…


Natural Disasters Are Destroying a Lower Percentage of Humanity’s Stuff Since 1990

The U.N. report observes that with the notable exception of Puerto Rico (due to the destruction of Hurricane Maria) that the top 10 countries that have lost the highest proportion of their GDPs to disasters are all poor countries including places like Haiti, Honduras, Mongolia, and North Korea.

In a new study in Environmental Hazards, University of Colorada political scientist Roger Pielke, Jr. reports that while absolute disaster losses have been increasing since 1990, percentage losses have been declining. Using loss data from reinsurance companies Munich Re and Aon Benfield, the study finds that in constant 2017 US dollars, both weather-related and non-weather related catastrophe losses have increased, with a 74 percent increase in the former and 182 percent increase in the latter since 1990. However, since 1990 both overall and weather/climate losses have decreased as proportion of global GDP….



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