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Extreme weather has caused a minimum of $41 billion damage in the six months

The report shines a spotlight on four extreme weather events that have happened since the last major international climate talks
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 14:55 IST
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 14:55 IST

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Mumbai: Extreme weather has caused a minimum of $41 billion damage in the six months since the last major climate conference, according to a new report by international development charity Christian Aid. 

They say that not enough progress has been made since COP28 in the United Arab Emirates to move away from fossil fuels or to support lower-income countries to cope with climate disasters.

As the second week of climate talks in Bonn begins, these numbers show that the costs of the climate crisis are already here. Negotiators in Bonn are working to establish a “Loss and Damage Fund”, to try and unblock financial flows to lower-income countries hit by extreme weather. This funding was a major sticking point at COP28, with wealthier nations slow to agree to the investments needed.

“Rich countries, responsible for the lion’s share of the greenhouse gases that are heating the atmosphere and fueling extreme events, should recognise their historic responsibility and step up their funding to the Loss and Damage Fund to help other countries cope and recover from extreme weather,” says Christian Aid in the report.

The $41 billion in damage is an underestimate according to the charity. According to a press statement issued here, only insured losses are typically reported, and many of the worst disasters have hit countries where few people or businesses have insurance. The human cost of disasters is also missed in these figures, from those who lost their lives to those whose homes are destroyed, or who lose out on work or education.

The report shines a spotlight on four extreme weather events that have happened since the last major international climate talks, all four of which have been scientifically linked to climate change.

Floods in Brazil which killed at least 169 people and did at least $7 billion damage to the economy were made twice as likely by climate change. In south and southwest Asia, flooding which killed at least 214 people and did $850 million in insured damages in the UAE alone was also made more likely by climate change. Simultaneous heat waves in west, south, and southeast Asia killed over 1,500 people in Myanmar alone, with heat deaths notoriously under-reported. The heatwave is expected to slow growth and increase inflation, and in southeast Asia it would have been completely impossible without climate change while in south and west Asia it was made five and 45 times more likely, respectively, and also hotter. Flooding from cyclones in east Africa killed 559 people, and was made about twice as likely and also more intense by climate change.

These extreme events hit two of the three climate “troika” countries - UAE, which hosted the climate COP last year and Brazil, which will host it in 2025. This underlines the urgency of the escalating crisis, with climate change fueled disasters causing devastation before and after climate talks are held in those same countries.

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Published 10 June 2024, 14:55 IST

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