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Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer ( modis.gsfc.nasa.gov MODIS ) on NASA's  terra.nasa.gov/ Terra  satellite between June 2 and June 8, 2008.  label_outline Copyright info: Public Domain Dedication. Public Use Notice of Limitations: https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright
11 Dec 2022

Close to 500 billion Euros in losses due to extreme weather in recent decades

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Climate change and extreme weather events are not just costly in terms of loss of human lives, and to our level of comfort; it also comes with a steep cost. According to Eurostat, the EU has lost 145 billion dollars to extreme weather related events in the last decade. 

The years most recently compared are 2010 to 2020. However, records of high economic damages for extreme weather goes back more than 40 years. 

The European Environmental Agency EEA Europe says that between 1980 and 2020, climate-related extremes caused economic losses totalling an estimated EUR 487 billion in the EU-27 Member States. 

According to WeForum.org, the highest total losses between 2010 and 2020 were in 2017, amounting to almost €27.9 billion. The European Commission says this because of severe heat waves that caused wildfires that year.

 

Screen shot over economic losses to extreme weather in the EU between 1980 and 2020.
Screen shot over economic losses to extreme weather in the EU between 1980 and 2020. (Illustration by the European Environmental Agency)

In the four last decades, Germany lost almost €108 billion, France nearly €99 billion and Italy just over €90 billion. The EEA says weather and climate-related extremes made up around 80% of the total economic losses caused by ‘natural hazards’ in the 27-member bloc.

This year has hit several parts of the world particularly hard: In Pakistan over 1000 people died due to the heat and the strong monsoon rains which followed. Several millions people lost their homes due to the flooding. 

According to WHO, as many as 15000 Europeans lost their lives in 2022 due to heatwaves. France, Spain and Italy, among otherswere hit with difficult and long drought periods. Also the UK had an unusual wildfire season during the summer months of 2022, due to prolonged heat and drought.

Greece had very difficult fire seasons in 2020 and 2021, but were in 2022 largely saved from a worst case scenario by prolonged rain towards the end of the summer. 

Since August, Switzerland, Italy and Albania have been struck by flooding: In Italy, 6 people died from high water levels in September. 

 

184 lives and 40 billion Euros lost in the German floods 2021

In 2021, Germany and the neighbouring countries were particularly hard hit. Heavy rains swept across western Germany in July 2021. The states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia were particularly hard hit, as were the neighboring countries of the Netherlands and Belgium. In Germany alone, 184 people died in the high water levels. 

According to Bloomberg.com , the economic cost to Germany for the floods in 2021 was 40 billion Euros.

The costs globally for extreme weather events in 2021, according to Bloomberg, was 280 billion Euros. 

 

France hit the hardest in Euros in 2020 - Greece hit the hardest per capita 

According to EuroNews, the country hit the hardest in 2020 was France, with 4,2 billion Euros in total losses for the year. Second was Italy, with 2,5 billion Euros, third Germany with 1,7 billion Euros in losses. 

In 2020, the average climate-related economic loss per inhabitant in the EU was €27. On the country level, Greece experienced the greatest loss per inhabitant at €91 in 2020. 

France (€62) and Ireland (€42) followed with the lowest loss per inhabitant seen in Bulgaria (€0.70).

 

Switzerland, Slovenia and France hit hardest per capita over 40 years

Between 1980 and 2020, the greatest economic losses per inhabitant were recorded in Switzerland, Slovenia, and France while the greatest losses on the country level occurred in Switzerland, Germany, and Italy according to the EEA.

Photo Credit: (Illustration Above:) This image shows land surface temperatures -- how hot the ground is to the touch, a measure that is different than the air temperatures reported in the news -- as observed by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer modis.gsfc.nasa.gov MODIS ) on NASA's terra.nasa.gov/ Terra satellite between June 2 and June 8, 2008. 

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