[ Climate change has already resulted in trillions of dollars of losses due to extreme weather events over the past two decades. While no single hurricane, flood or drought can be directly attributed to global warming, one of the most solid findings of climate science is that extreme weather events will increase dramatically as a result of more heat being trapped in our atmosphere.
Countries like Honduras, Haiti and others are already struggling to recover from one extreme event after another in recent years. Without substantial global reductions in emissions the number of extreme weather events will continue to rise turning these countries into permanent disaster zones. This story only documents the easy-to-measure impacts not no less devestating impacts like crop failures from droughts etc. — Steve]
By Stephen Leahy*
Honduras has been hit harder by extreme weather events than almost any other country over the last 18 years, says a study of weather-related losses, released here as the climate summit continues this week.
Around the world, storms, floods and heat waves have resulted in 1.7 trillion dollars in losses and 600,000 deaths, the Global Climate Risk Index 2010(pdf) reported.
On the same day, the World Meteorological Organisation announced in Copenhagen that the decade 2000-2009 is very likely to be the warmest since records began in 1850.
India, northern China and Australia saw extreme heat waves this year. Warm weather was also more frequent and intense in southern South America in 2009, according to the WMO report.
“Our analyses show that, in particular, poor countries are severely affected” by extreme weather events, said Sven Harmeling, author of the Index at Germanwatch, a non-governmental organisation based in Germany that has promoted global equity and the preservation of livelihoods since 1991. Continue reading