Climate Change Has Led to Billions in Damages In Past 30 Years

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On Monday, a Stanford University study revealed that climate change has cost the US $75 billion over the past 30 years.

The main cause of these damages was increased rainfall from climate change that led to flood damage in the US. The study was published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The journal highlighted the impact climate change has had on flooding and the issues it has created for homeowners, builders, banks, and insurers.

According to the report, the losses from increase rainfall accounted for more than 30 percent of the total flooding damages costs in the US between 1988 and 2017. The researchers analyzed climate and socioeconomic data to determine the relationship between increasing costs and rainfall.

Last year, a record number of hurricanes, wildfires, and floods led to $210 billion in damages, according to a report by Munich Re. Furthermore, even in places where rainfall has not increased, storms have become more aggressive and caused more damage. “Accurately and comprehensively tallying the past and future costs of climate change is key to making good policy decisions,” Marshall Burke, associate professor of Earth system science at Stanford and a study co-author, said.

“This work shows that past climate change has already cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars, just due to flood damages alone,” he added. According to data from First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research and technology group, estimates that more than 14 million properties are at serious risk of flood damage. Despite the risk, many homeowners don't have flood insurance.

“The framework that we developed provides an objective basis for estimating what it will cost to adapt to continued climate change and the economic value of avoiding higher levels of global warming in the future,” Noah Diffenbaugh, a Stanford climate scientist and senior author of the study, said.

The researchers hope to raise awareness about climate change and the risks that many homeowners face with increasing rainfall.

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