- Climate disasters last year killed 688 people and cost the US more than $145 billion, a new government report found.
- 2021 was also the fourth-warmest year on record in the US, with December 2020 having been the warmest of all time.
- The costs of the climate crisis bring urgency for Biden to mitigate the financial and physical risks.
The climate crisis ravaged the country last year, and it cost the US money and lives.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released an overview of its annual report on Monday, and it found that fire, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters cost the US $145 billion in losses while resulting in 688 deaths. According to the overview, there were 20 natural-disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each in 2021, with severe storm events having the most significant impact.
“Disaster costs over the last five years exceeded a record $742 billion, reflecting the increased exposure and vulnerability of the U.S. to extreme weather and climate events,” the report said.
The report also found 2021 was the fourth-warmest year on record in the US, with December 2021 being the warmest December ever recorded. Overall, it marked the third-costliest year on record for climate disasters.
This is just the latest bit of bad climate news. Data continues to show the climate crisis is worsening. A Washington Post analysis last week found 40% of Americans were hit by climate disasters last year, with more than 80% of them experiencing heat waves, reflecting the warming climate. Even if the country acts on the crisis, the United Nations said in August some of global warming’s effects would be “irreversible for centuries to millennia.”
Amid these worsening conditions, President Joe Biden has taken steps to combat the warming climate. In October, he unveiled a report that focused on mitigating the risks the climate crisis has on Americans’ savings and retirement funds, given the transition to clean energy could cause physical assets to lose their value.
He also proposed a $555 billion investment for the climate in his Build Back Better agenda. And although Senate Democrats tabled the agenda to focus on voting rights legislation, Sen. Joe Manchin — the centrist Democrat responsible for the delay — recently said climate “is one that we probably can come to an agreement much easier than anything else.”