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The United Nations released its “Human Cost of Disasters: An Overview of the Last 20 years 2000-2019” on Monday, the day before the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Researchers focused on the failures of politicians and other leaders to take action to reduce the effects of the climate crisis and stop Earth from becoming “an uninhabitable hell for millions of people.”
Over the two decades ending in 2019, the report states, there were 7,348 major natural disasters—including earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, wildfires, drought, and extreme temperatures—that affected 4.2 billion people, killed 1.23 million of them, and caused $2.97 trillion in economic losses, worldwide. The latter is more than the annual gross domestic product of all but the five richest nations.
China at 577 and the United States at 467 recorded most disaster events over those 20 years, with India at 321, the Philippines at 304, and Indonesia at 278, the U.N. said. Eight of the 10 worst hit nations are in Asia. The foreword of the report states:
Disasters have never waited their turn, and increasingly risk is interconnected. Risk drivers and consequences are multiplying and cascading, colliding in unanticipated ways. We must have a commensurate systemic response with national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction fit for purpose. Political commitment, strategies and scenario planning have never been more important for disaster risk management.
While this report focuses primarily on the staggering rise in climate-related disasters over the last twenty years, it is also a commentary on the need to strengthen disaster risk governance for the entire range of natural hazards and man-made hazards including related environmental, technological and biological hazards and risks.
In the short-term, disaster management agencies have succeeded in saving many lives through improved preparedness and the dedication of staff and volunteers. But the odds continue to be stacked against them in particular by industrial nations that are failing miserably on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to levels commensurate with the desired goal of keeping global warming at 1.5˚C as set out in the Paris Agreement.
Stephanie Nebehay at Reuters reports:
Debarati Guha-Sapir of the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters at the University of Louvain, Belgium, which provided data for the report, said: “If this level of growth in extreme weather events continues over the next twenty years, the future of mankind looks very bleak indeed.
“Heatwaves are going to be our biggest challenge in the next 10 years, especially in the poor countries,” she said.
Last month was the world’s hottest September on record, with unusually high temperatures recorded off Siberia, in the Middle East, and in parts of South America and Australia, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said.
“Anything that is physically possible can always be made financially possible; money is a bugaboo of small minds.” ~~Robert A. Heinlein
At Daily Kos on this date in 2010—Think Progress documents more foreign funding to Chamber:
ThinkProgress has a new investigation to supplement their story from last week that documented “the disclosure of fundraising documents U.S. Chamber staffers had been distributing to solicit foreign (even state-owned) companies to donate directly to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6).”
This new chapter of the investigation adds significantly to ThinkProgress’s case with very specific donations documented that are far beyond what the Chamber has publicly acknowledged in interviews.
ThinkProgress began by documenting the three ways in which the Chamber fundraises from foreign corporations, and how that money goes into its “501(c)(6) entity, the same account that finances its unprecedented $75 million dollar partisan attack ad campaign.” The Chamber has responded with a focus on just one of those avenues for fundraising–the red-herring AmChams, the network of Chamber affiliates internationally, composed of American and foreign companies. The Chamber acknowledges their existence, and that it receives money from them, but has stonewalled any attempt to deteremine whether or not that money is making its way into their attack ads for Republicans. To date, the traditional media has just bought that story, has accepted the Chamber’s “just trust us” line.
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