Hurricane Michael has left a trail of destruction along Florida’s Panhandle coast, ripping houses from their foundations and killing at least six people. The Category 4 storm is one of the strongest to ever to hit the U.S. mainland with winds of 155mph. Along with the human cost, the hurricane has also inflicted catastrophic economic damage with Accuweather predicting up to $30 billion in losses. Earlier this week, a report from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction stated that economic losses caused by climate-related disasters have soared over the past two decades.
Between 1978 and 1997, the total estimated economic cost of climate-related disasters such as storms, droughts, floods and heatwaves worldwide was $895 billion (in 2017 dollars). In the 20-year period from 1998 to 2017, that skyrocketed 151% to a whopping $2.25 trillion. The U.S. had the worst economic losses during the latter timeframe with $944.8 billion, followed by China with $492.2 billion and Japan with $376.3 billion.
Earlier this week, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a special report on the impact of global warming, claiming the world has 12 years to keep the temperature increase at a maximum of 1.5C. If urgent and unprecedented changes are not implemented, there will be a significantly higher risk of extreme climate-related disasters after the window of opportunity closes.
*Click below to enlarge (charted by Statista)
More Info: forbes.com