World Economy

Climate Change Costs $300b Annually

Climate Change Costs $300b AnnuallyClimate Change Costs $300b Annually

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has endorsed early warning and risk reduction systems for the world's vulnerable nations. At a UN conference in Japan, he said two thirds of disasters stemmed from climate change, which according to the United Nations chief is costing the world $300 billion every year.

Fabius told policymakers in Sendai, Japan, that more than 70 countries had been identified by the UN as particularly vulnerable and being the poorest and least resilient needing help in making preparations, Deutsche Welle reported.

The ten-yearly conference is being held just days after Japan marked the fourth anniversary of 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed around 19,000 people and unleashed the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Fabius, who will preside over a key climate conference in Paris in December, said he hoped Sendai would boost attempts to expand early warning systems.

  Prevention Is Good Investment

World is reluctance to put off spending until disaster struck had to be “overcome,” said Margareta Wahlstrom, the head of the UN Disaster Risk Reduction agency based in Geneva.

She told the Sendai conference that preventive measures in every potential disaster area provided a “very good return” compared to reconstruction.

That was echoed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who urged world nations to spend $6 billion (5.8 billion euros) per year on prevention. Disasters were costing the world over $300 billion per year on average. “We can watch that number grow as more people suffer. Or we can dramatically lower that figure and invest the savings in development,” he said.

Ban estimated that such preventative action would save the world some $360 billion by 2030 and ease suffering. “It is a smart investment for business and a wise investment in saving lives,” he added. “Disaster risk is in everybody’s interest and it is everybody’s business.”

He highlighted intensifying risks for hundreds of millions of people living on small developing oceanic islands, such as the Pacific Island nations, and coastal areas, such as Bangladesh.

An investment of $350,000 in disaster prevention for farmers, including irrigation systems, crop insurance and terraces saves an estimated $4 million in averted costs for humanitarian relief when a drought or flood hits, said Richard Choularton, chief of disaster risk reduction at the World Food Program (WFP), Reuters reported.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan in the wake of Fukushima was working on reconstruction based on the idea of “build back better.”

He pledged $4 billion in foreign aid over four years until 2018 for weather satellites, education of community leaders in preventative thinking and infrastructure building.