Natural Disasters May Push Global Finances to the Brink

UN report: Climate change means more weather disasters every year

In the wake of heat waves, global warming, forest fires, storms, droughts and a rising number of hurricanes, the U.N. weather agency is warning that the number of people who need international humanitarian help could rise 50% by 2030 compared to the 108 million who needed it worldwide in 2018.

In a new report released with partners on Tuesday, the World Meteorological Agency says more disasters attributed to weather are taking place each year. It said over 11,000 disasters have been attributed to weather, climate and phenomena like tsunamis that are related to water over the last 50 years — causing 2 million deaths and racking up $3.6 trillion worth of economic costs…

2020 climate disasters in 50 photos

While the United States has faced a particularly tumultuous year of climate disasters, the rest of the globe has experienced an equal share of destruction and weather-related grief, as these notable photographs will show. Devastating wildfires hit Australia, the Amazon, Siberian forests, Indonesia, and Argentina so far this year. Though the Pacific typhoon season has been uncharacteristically quiet in 2020, the typhoons that have hit the region have resulted in several deaths, flash flooding, and billions in damage. Parts of England were also inundated with flooding. Siberia, synonymous with frigid temperatures, hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit in June, accompanied by wildfires…

Natural Disasters May Push Global Finances to the Brink

View of damage caused the day before by Hurricane Maria in Roseau, Dominica, on September 20, 2017. Credit: Getty Images

Over the past two decades, 20 natural disasters made worse by climate change have caused damage to countries worth 10% or more of their national output.

In the most severe instance, the devastation Hurricane Maria brought to the tiny Caribbean country of Dominica in 2017 accounted for 260% of its gross domestic product. Two years earlier, Tropical Storm Erika caused damage worth 90% of Dominica’s GDP.

The eye-popping figures illustrate just one of the threats a hotter, stormier world poses to sovereign debt and the global financial system that relies on it, according to a sprawling new report from a group of academics, environmentalists and financial analysts. The financial stability of fossil-fuel-producing nations is also at risk, the 145-page report found, due to international climate policies and the accelerating transition to cleaner energy…

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