The rising cost of climate change –

While policymakers fiddle on climate change, the threat of economic harm posed by rising sea levels, devastating storms and drought is growing every day, writes Coral Davenport.

climate change

A 2012 study by the Madrid-based group DARA found that extreme weather associated with climate change is costing the world economy $1.2tn a year, accounting for 1.6% of global gross domestic product. The study projects that the effects of climate change could cut global GDP by 3.2% a year by 2030.

In the United States, 2011 and 2012 were the two most extreme years on record for destructive weather events. A record 14 weather disasters occurred in 2011, sustaining more than $1bn each in economic losses for a total of $60.6bn.

Last year brought 11 weather disasters that each cost $1bn or more; while the total economic loss has not been determined, experts say the dollar figure is almost certain to exceed 2011’s.


Insurance losses

Meanwhile, the insurance industry estimates that its losses from 2012’s natural disasters will total $58bn—more than double the average yearly losses of $27bn from 2000 to 2011.

Despite all the evidence that climate change has started costing the US economy, businesses and taxpayers, and that much higher costs are to come, the congressional response has been to largely ignore the problem, except to pay for damages as they arise.

And while Congress authorised $61bn for Sandy relief, the House rejected amendments that would have required planning for the impact of sea-level rise due to climate change.

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Peter a journalist with 30 years experience of freelance writing, UK national newspaper and magazine production roles, and business development. In 2007, he developed and launched a mainstream-style green consumer magazine in the UK, called GreenerLiving, as a means of promoting sustainable change ‘within the system’. GreenerLiving closed during the post-crash recession, but Peter went on to become managing editor of the international ethical business title, Ethical Performance. However, Peter felt that the CSR sector has not succeeded in changing corporate priorities anywhere near fast enough, and so I decided to leave the treadmill of corporate employment and debt accumulation to focus on my own projects. Now poorer but a billion million times happier, he writes on political, economic and social issues – usually seriously, but sometimes as satire. He's currently writing Psychopath Economics, a book about the logic of social and economic power, belief systems, and the rise and fall of societies. Peter is convinced that ordinary people must educate themselves and exercise their economic leverage if we are to avoid social and environmental destruction.

peterbatt has 165 posts and counting.See all posts by peterbatt

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