Climate change: cost or business?

Young people protest. Governments are concerned. The costs: million deaths, trillion dollars or euros payed.

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by Carlo Nicolato

Bruxelles, 5 April 2019


According to UNISDR, the United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction Office, from 1998 to 2017, 91% of natural disasters were caused by climate change and, in the world, caused the loss of life to 1,3 million of people and injuries of 4,4 billion. Costs? US $ 2,245 billion worldwide, the first “business”…

The concern is growing. Every weekend, very young are pouring into the street to protest. 

Today, tens of thousands protest Climate Change also in Switzerland and, as in the past, around the world, like Greta Thunberg in Sweden.

The concern is also growing amongst governments around the world, for human losses and for very high costsFor example, the European Agency EEA has made its calculations and it seems that the cost for Europe alone is very high: since 1980 there have been 115,000 deaths and a loss of many billions of euros.

Floods, droughts, heat waves and other extreme weather events are very expensive for Europe. According to the calculations of the European Agency, from 1980 to 2017, the economic losses for the 33 countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) amount to almost half a trillion euros, 426 billion, equal to 13 billion euros per year.

Furthermore, if we consider the period from 2000 to 2017, the economic losses due to climatic events increase up to 14 billion per year.

The Agency notes that the changes observed over time “are difficult to interpret because most of the total deflated losses were caused by a small number of events”. In particular, over 70% of the losses were caused by less than 3% of all the unique events recorded, but the trend is constantly growing.

Obviously, countries have not been affected in the same way and much of the damage has been recorded in the four most populated countries and the largest area: Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.

The cost is very serious in terms of consequent loss of human lives: throughout Europe, 115,000 deaths have been calculated since 1980. The EEA estimates that meteorological events and extreme weather conditions accounted for about 81% of the total economic losses caused from natural events!

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