Extreme weather events due to climate change have cost the world billions in damages in 2020, according to the London-based Christian Aid’s report, ‘Counting the cost 2020: A year of climate breakdown’.
According to the report, floods and Cyclone Amphan in India accounted for maximum loss of lives globally due to climate change-triggered events in 2020.
Over 2,067 lives were lost during the June-October floods, the highest number of fatalities due to climate change-induced weather events this year, says the report where 15 of the most damaging extreme weather events globally in 2020 were studied.
It further said that the displacement due to the June-October floods in India was ranked second, impacting another 4 million people.
The US was hit by the highest costs due to the record-breaking hurricane season and fires.
Most of these estimates are based only on insured losses, meaning the true financial costs are likely to be higher.
“This is the second consecutive year where India experienced abnormally high rainfalls during the monsoon season. And over the last 65 years, the country has seen a three-fold increase in extreme rain events. Climate change is likely one of the cause,” the report said.
6 of the 10 most costly events took place in Asia, five of them associated with an unusually rainy monsoon. And in Africa, huge locust swarms ravaged crops and vegetation across several countries, causing damages estimated at $8.5 billion.
The outbreak has been linked to wet conditions brought about by unusual rains fuelled by climate change.
But the impact of extreme weather was felt all over the world. In Europe, two extra-tropical cyclones, Ciara and Alex, had a combined cost of almost $6 billion.
M. Shahjahan Mondal, a climate scientist and Director of the Institute of Flood and Water Management, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, said, “Scientific evidence shows that the intensity of the tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal has been increasing over the past few years because of the temperature rise, and cyclone Amphan was one of the strongest ever recorded this year as a consequence. Moreover, the 2020 flood was one of the worst in history (of Bangladesh), as more than a quarter of the country was under water.”