As the global climate continues to change, the costs and damages from more extreme weather related to a warming planet are growing, a World Bank report released here Tuesday has warned.
The report said more can be done to help vulnerable countries adapt to climate change, as well as prepare for and respond to weather-related disasters.
While all countries are impacted, developing nations bear the brunt of mounting losses in lives and livelihoods from increasingly severe floods, drought, and storms, warns the report.
Loss and damages from disasters have been rising over the last three decades, from an annual average of around US$50 billion in the 1980s to just under US$200 billion each year in the last decade, while total reported losses from disasters are estimated at US$3.8 trillion in the period from 1980 to 2012, with 17 percent due to extreme-weather, the report said.
Jim Kim, World Bank Group President, said the Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful typhoon ever to hit the Philippines, had brought into sharp focus how climate change is intensifying the severity of extreme weather events which hurt the poor the most.
“While the immediate relief effort must be front and centre of our attention today, such tragic events shows that the world can no longer afford to put off action to slow greenhouse emissions and help countries prepare for a world of greater climate and disaster risks,” he said.
The report, which was produced before Typhoon Haiyan left its deadly trail of destruction across the Philippines, describes the costs of weather disasters, the lives and jobs lost as well as losses and damages to private property and infrastructure, and in particular impact on the poor.
“Over the last 30 years, the world has lost more than 2.5 million people and almost US$4 trillion to natural disasters. Economic losses are rising from US$50 billion each year in the 1980s to just under US$200 billion each year in the last decade, and about three quarters of those losses are a result of extreme weather,” Rachel Kyte, World Bank’s Vice-President for Sustainable Development, said.
The impacts are particularly crippling in smaller and lower-income countries that are least able to cope.
Cited in the report is Hurricane Tomas that devastated St Lucia in 2010 and wiped out the equivalent of 43 percent of its GDP.
The World Bank said it is providing, combining and leveraging different types of finance to help nations address climate and disaster risks, and that through its Global Facility for Disaster Reductions and Recovery, it had helped at least 70 countries.