As we wave adieu to yet another year of climate inaction, we mustn’t forget that the impacts of the climate crisis continue to get more destructive every year. And the cost is rising. According to the UK-based charity organisation Christian Aid, the ten biggest climate disasters this year resulted in damages of at least $3 billion each.
A new report released by Christian Aid, called Counting The Cost: A Year Of Climate Breakdown, states that the human cost of lives lost and displacement cannot be quantified. The report also points out that much of the financial cost is based only on insured losses, which means that the real cost of these disasters was much higher.
Some of the worst disasters this year include the tropical cyclone Hurricane Ian, which displaced over 40,000 people in Cuba and the US and led to damages of over $100 billion. Some of the others, like the devastating floods in Pakistan resulting in damages of over $5 billion. However, the report also highlights the fact that for poorer countries, the losses may be orders of magnitude higher, due to poor insurance coverage.
In a separate list covering other notable climate disasters this year, the report also highlights the deadly heatwave that hit India earlier this year. The charity has called on leaders of the richest nations to do more to provide financial support for countries hit the hardest by the climate crisis.
The COP27 international climate conference at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt earlier this year has been largely seen as a missed opportunity to encourage drastic action. However, it did result in the creation of a loss and damage fund, which will, in theory, allow poorer countries that did not cause global heating but suffer the most from it, to be properly funded to help with climate mitigation and adaptation. Christian Aid uses the report to highlight the need for wealthier countries to ensure that money starts reaching the countries that need it.
2022 has not been a good year in the fight against climate change. Global planet-heating carbon emissions are rising rather than falling, and the planet is quickly running out of time to keep planetary heating within safe limits. As the new report makes very clear, the world’s leaders have to do better in 2023.