These climate crisis-related damages have averaged $16 million per hour over the past two decades, and the Guardian reported that the damage caused by the climate crisis has cost $16 million an hour for the past 20 years.
Over the period from 2000 to 2019, the total human-caused climate change-attributed costs for extreme weather events reached $2.86 trillion, averaging $143 billion annually. Approximately 63% of these costs are due to the loss of human life.
This yearly cost is divided into nearly $90 billion attributed to human loss of life and $53 billion in economic damages, according to the study.
“The headline number is $140bn a year and, first of all, that’s already a big number,” said Prof Ilan Noy, at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, who carried out the study with colleague Rebecca Newman.
“Second, when you compare it to the standard quantification of the cost of climate change [using computer models], it seems those quantifications are underestimating the impact of climate change,” Noy told the Guardian.
The distribution of these costs varies significantly across years, with the highest climate-attributed costs recorded in 2008 at $620 billion.
Notable peaks in costs were driven by events such as the 2003 heatwave in continental Europe, Tropical Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, and the 2010 heatwave in Russia and drought in Somalia.
Extreme weather events have adverse economic consequences, with both direct damage and indirect losses.
The study published in Nature Communications found that in total, climate change is responsible for a net economic damage of $260.8 billion across 185 events, equivalent to 53% of the total damages. Storms account for over 64% of these climate change-attributed damages, with heatwaves, floods, droughts and wildfires contributing, as well.