Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

The most expensive climate disasters in 2023 reveal that the less fortunate are at a disadvantage in the "global postcode lottery."
Climate Environment World News

The most expensive climate disasters in 2023 reveal that the less fortunate are at a disadvantage in the “global postcode lottery.”

An examination has uncovered a “worldwide postcode lottery stacked against the impoverished”, in a list of the top 20 most expensive climate disasters of 2023.

According to a study conducted by Christian Aid, underprivileged communities are being impacted by destructive wildfires and floods. These disasters are hitting those who do not have the means to rebuild, and are occurring in countries that have emitted significantly less fossil fuels compared to wealthier nations. As a result, these countries have experienced fewer climate-related disasters.

The cost per person varies from over $4,000 (Β£3,155) for a wildfire in Hawaii to $9 (Β£7) for flooding in Peru.

The study investigated 20 instances of natural disasters that were intensified by climate change and occurred in 14 different countries within the last year. Among these, the most expensive disaster per person was the wildfires in Hawaii in August, significantly surpassing the second most costly which were the storms in Guam in May, with a cost of almost $1,500 (Β£1,182) per person.

The recent report released on Wednesday emphasizes that nations with inadequate infrastructure and weaker housing structures have higher expenses following a climate-related catastrophe due to the higher likelihood of damage to inhabited areas. In regions where residents have incurred the greatest costs, a significant portion of the population is employed in agriculture, making them more susceptible to severe weather events. Additionally, these governments are less inclined to invest in mitigation or reconstruction efforts.

Patrick Watt, the CEO of Christian Aid, stated that the climate crisis creates a worldwide disparity that puts the disadvantaged at a disadvantage. In underprivileged nations, individuals are typically unprepared for climate-related calamities and have limited means to recover. This leads to higher mortality rates and a slower and unequal recovery process. It is unjust that the communities most impacted by global warming have played a minimal role in causing the issue.

It is imperative for governments to quickly implement additional measures domestically and globally to reduce emissions and prepare for the consequences of climate change. In situations where the effects are too severe for individuals to adapt to, it is crucial that the loss and damage fund is adequately funded to provide compensation to the most vulnerable nations for a crisis they did not cause.

Loss and damage, which refers to payments from wealthier, more polluting countries to those who emit fewer fossil fuels but bear the brunt of climate breakdown, has become part of climate negotiations in recent years. Developing countries have demanded climate justice after facing disasters that have been extremely costly to fix. At the Cop28 climate summit in Dubai this year, wealthy countries most responsible for the climate emergency promised a combined total of just over $700m (Β£556m) to the loss and damage fund – the equivalent of less than 0.2% of the irreversible economic and non-economic losses developing countries are facing from global heating every year.

move on from newsletter advertisement

The most expensive climate disasters of 2023 ranked by impact on individuals’ financial resources.

1 Hawaii, US, wildfire – $4,161
2 Guam, storm – $1,455
3 Vanuatu, storm – $947
4 New Zealand, storm – $468
5 New Zealand, flood – $371
6 Italy, flood – $164
7 Libya, flood – $105
8 Peru, flood – $66
9 Spain, drought – $50
10 Myanmar, storm – $41
11 Chile, flood – $39
12 Haiti, flood – $36
13 Mexico, storm – $35
14 Chile, wildfire – $30
15 US, storm – $25
16 China, flood – $23
17 Peru, storm – $20
18 Malawi, storm – $17
19 US, storm – $16
20 Peru, flood – $9

Source: theguardian.com