Jan 25, 2022 - Energy & Environment

The cost of last year's "relentless" climate and weather disasters

Data: Aon; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

The consulting firm Aon is out Tuesday with its summary of natural disasters report from 2021, which has a heavy emphasis on economic losses from climate and extreme weather events.

Why it matters: As the world warms, certain extreme events are becoming more severe and frequent, although climate trends may not be easy to discern in the aggregate statistics.

Details: The report shows that last year was the third-costliest year on record after adjusting for inflation, with $329 billion in climate and weather-related losses.

  • Losses were up from the year before, though the number of disasters was down slightly.
  • Hurricane Ida was the costliest single event on record, with $75.3 billion in economic losses, while the European floods in July took second place at about $46 billion.

What they're saying: "The word that best describes 2021 is 'relentless,'" said Steve Bowen, head of catastrophe insight for Aon.

  • "We seem to be growing accustomed to large-scale and expensive disasters, but we really should be treating it as a warning sign from Mother Nature that more of these types of events are going to come."

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that Aon is a consulting firm, not an insurer.

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