Climate change has cost the U.S. billions of dollars in flood injury, study finds

Firefighters trip a ship beneath an underpass whereas conducting search and rescue after heavy rain resulted in flash floods in Washington, DC, U.S. September 10, 2020, in this nonetheless picture taken from video supplied on social media.

@DCFIREEMS | through Reuters

Intensifying rainfall fueled by local weather change has precipitated almost $75 billion in flood injury in the U.S. in the previous three many years, Stanford University researchers confirmed in a brand new study Monday.

The findings, printed in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, make clear the ongoing debate on how local weather change has impacted rising prices of flooding and the heightened threat householders, builders, banks and insurers face as world temperatures proceed to rise.

The losses ensuing from worsening excessive rains comprise almost one-third of the whole monetary cost from flooding in the U.S. between 1988 and 2017, in response to the report, which analyzed local weather and socioeconomic knowledge in order to quantify the relationship between altering historic rainfall developments and historic flood prices.

Researchers discovered that world warming performed a big position in the rise in flood prices in the U.S. and warned that passing warming ranges outlined in the world Paris Climate Accord will worsen excessive catastrophe occasions. The pact goals to maintain the improve in world temperatures effectively beneath 2 levels Celsius, or 3.6 levels Fahrenheit, in contrast with preindustrial ranges.

A file quantity of hurricanes, wildfires and floods cost the world $210 billion in injury final yr, in response to a latest report by reinsurance firm Munich Re. The six most costly disasters of 2020 occurred in the U.S., the worst of which was Hurricane Laura in August.

Even in states the place long-term rainfall hasn’t modified, the wettest storms have intensified and precipitated extra monetary injury consequently, in response to the report.

Read extra from CNBC Environment:
2020 was one of the hottest years on file, tied with 2016
Disasters precipitated $210 billion in injury in 2020, exhibiting rising cost of local weather change

“Accurately and comprehensively tallying the past and future costs of climate change is key to making good policy decisions,” Marshall Burke, affiliate professor of Earth system science at Stanford and a study co-author, mentioned in an announcement.

“This work shows that past climate change has already cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars, just due to flood damages alone,” Burke mentioned.

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of persons are uncovered to flood threat. More than 14 million properties are prone to flood injury, in response to knowledge from First Street Foundation, a nonprofit analysis and expertise group.

However, many owners in high-risk areas nonetheless haven’t got flood insurance coverage as a result of federal flood maps that information insurance coverage demand are sometimes outdated and fail to issue in the impacts of local weather change and intense rainfall. And minority communities in the U.S. are inclined to have a bigger undisclosed flood threat.

Researchers hope their evaluation will assist assess the prices of different local weather change-fueled disasters and outcome in higher local weather adaptation methods throughout the nation.

“The framework that we developed provides an objective basis for estimating what it will cost to adapt to continued climate change and the economic value of avoiding higher levels of global warming in the future,” Noah Diffenbaugh, a Stanford local weather scientist and senior writer of the study, mentioned in an announcement.

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