Climate-Influenced Disasters Cost the U.S. $53 Billion in 2018

Wildfires and hurricanes were among the costly disasters.

Of the world’s most costly disasters in 2018, four of them occurred in the United States, resulting in $53 billion in economic losses and claiming 176 lives.

Two Atlantic hurricanes and two California wildfires put the U.S. on the list of the world’s costliest natural disasters created by global reinsurance firm Aon PLC. The firm released an 84-page “Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight” report this week with their findings.

“Weather events always occur, the question is are those events changing and what is the cause of that change?” Steve Bowen, a Chicago-based meteorologist and director of Aon’s impact forecasting team, told Scientific American. “The jury is still out as to how much you can quantify how climate change is affecting things monetarily. But especially since last year, we’re seeing a lot of these weather events influenced by a changing climate.”

Aon says there were 394 natural catastrophes in 2018 which generated economic losses of $225 billion.

In 2017, Aon found there to be $428 billion in economic losses associated with natural disasters, almost double that of 2018.

This past fall, California saw it’s most costly wildfire in the state’s history. According to Aon, the camp fire in Northern California that took at least 88 lives resulted in an estimated $15 billion in economic costs.

Two of the United States’ most costly hurricanes, Florence and Michael, resulted in a combined 85 deaths and $32 billion in losses.

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