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Climate Change Killed Thousands, Cost Billions in 2018

Thousands of people were killed, millions were displaced and billions of dollars in damages occurred in 2018 due to extreme weather events related to human-caused climate change, according to a Christian Aid report published on Dec. 27.

The report estimates that the top 10 extreme weather events last year – including drought, fires, floods, hurricanes and typhoons – caused between $84.8 billion and $96.2 billion in damages.

The highest costs resulted from Hurricanes Florence in September ($17 billion) and Michael in October ($15 billion).

Christian Aid noted these figures likely underestimate the total costs, as they do not factor in losses related to productivity and lack of insurance coverage.

“All of these disasters are linked with human-caused climate change,” the report said. “In some cases, scientific studies have shown that climate change made the particular event more likely or stronger, for example with warmer oceans supercharging tropical storms. In other cases, the event was the result of shifts in weather patterns – like higher temperatures and reduced rainfall that made fires more likely – that are themselves consequences of climate change.”

At least 3,217 deaths resulted from these weather events, according to Christian Aid estimates.

“Despite the severity of the extreme weather that struck the world, 2018 is unlikely to be exceptional,” the report warned. “In fact, it may soon seem a mild year.”

The full report is available here.