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Weather And Climate Disaster Losses Continue Downward Trend As Percent Of Global GDP

January 11, 2019

By Paul Homewood


From Roger Pielke Jr’s blog:



The figure above shows disaster losses as tracked by Munich re from 1900 to 2018, based on an update published earlier this week (here). The update allows me to add another year to the data reported in this paper:

Pielke, R. (2018). Tracking progress on the economic costs of disasters under the indicators of the sustainable development goals. Environmental Hazards, 1-6.

The graphs below show losses as a percentage of global GDP from 1990 to 2018, for all catastrophes (top) and those that are weather/climate related (bottom)

  • Overall losses were at about the 1990-2017 average ($160b vs $163b)
  • Weather/Climate losses were above the 1990-2017 average ($147B vs $129B)
  • Overall losses are well below the 1990-2017 average (0.19% vs 0.28%)
  • Weather/Climate losses are slightly below 1990-2017 average (0.18% vs 0.22)

Bottom line:

  • 2018 saw substantial disasters with large costs.
  • However, in terms of economic damage it was a fairly typical year in historical context.
  • 2018 contributes to the trend (1990-2018) of disaster losses decreasing as a proportion of global GDP.

This is good news.

  1. Bloke down the pub permalink
    January 11, 2019 11:56 am

    The likes of Munich Re are on to a winner with cagw hype. Every time they persuade a climate scientist to produce some dire threat about the state of the environment, prospective customers reach for their wallet to take out insurance against the threat. When the threat turns out to have been illusory, the insurers shrug their shoulders and say, ‘who knew?’

  2. January 11, 2019 12:25 pm

    Dang. What are we coming to when we cannot even rely on a good disaster to support the Chicken Little hypothesis?

  3. Frank permalink
    January 11, 2019 12:54 pm

    Yet my home insurance just keeps going up without me ever filing for a thing.

  4. tim leeney permalink
    January 11, 2019 1:48 pm

    To my untutored eye, these two bar charts look identical. Some mistake?

    • January 11, 2019 11:11 pm

      Untutored mebbe, but my equally-untalented optics agree with yours.

  5. Gerry, England permalink
    January 11, 2019 2:10 pm

    Follow the money is always good advice. An insurance company saying that you need to pay more for insurance or buy more insurance, hmmmm…..

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