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Disasters Intensify With Climate Change, Carry Billion Dollar Costs

Disasters Intensify With Climate Change, Carry Billion Dollar Costs

Federal government says 2020 saw record 22 separate weather climate disasters that each cost a billion dollars or more.

Adam Smith. I'm an applied climatologist with NOAA: "What we've seen over the last several years are rising trends in different types of extremes in different parts of the countries.

I'm Adam Smith. I'm an applied climatologist with NOAA. And I study the interface between extreme events, risk, costs and the science about all of these events.

Since 1980, the United States has found that we've been impacted by 285 of these billion dollar whether or climate disaster events. And the total cost for these 285 events approach $2 trillion in 2020 dollars.

The reason that these disasters are increasing in cost and frequency are for three reasons that intersect:

One is exposure, we have more people and more assets in harm's way.

Two, we have more more vulnerability, where we build, how we build. We saw that in Texas.

And three, of course, climate change. Climate change is playing an increasing role in increasing frequency of some of these extremes that lead to billion dollar disasters.

Claire Brunel, assistant professor at American University's School of International Service: "Climate change is the fact that we have emissions in the atmosphere that are changing weather patterns. And it's expected to be one of the major costs of climate change. And what we've seen so far was last year you had $7 billion hurricanes that happened in just one year. And some of them had actual costs that were quite far above $1 billion."

Smith: "During the 1980s and 1990s decade, we would see maybe half a dozen events per year. And in 2000, it started to ramp up.

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