Giving Compass’ Take:
• At Inside Climate News, Bob Berwyn analyzes the colossal, rising environmental and economic toll of wildfires and other extreme weather events as a result of climate change.
• How can conservation efforts mitigate the toll of extreme weather? What can we do to support communities affected by the wildfires in California? How can we ensure our efforts provide equitable support for marginalized communities?
• Learn about how the toll of extreme weather extends to world hunger.
The cost of this year’s fires—the first of which have so far burned their way across more than 1,400 square miles, destroyed hundreds of structures and are still not close to being contained—can’t even be guessed at. And global warming is going to make it worse, according to a new analysis commissioned by the nonprofit advocacy organization Environmental Defense Fund that looks at the cost of climate-linked natural disasters.The report details how the financial impacts of fires, tropical storms, floods, droughts and crop freezes have quadrupled since 1980.
“It shows what happens if we don’t do anything about global warming,” said EDF’s Elgie Holstein. “There’s no denying the trends and the fact this all becomes more expensive going forward.”
As if to underscore Holstein’s point, the latest swarm of wildfires to erupt in northern and central California have pushed the state’s wildfire fighting capacity to the edge, with officials warning that they are running out of resources to respond to new blazes, and urgently requesting help from other regions.
To protect the most vulnerable communities that are hit by “climate change-fueled extreme weather events first and worst,” federal lawmakers should invest in adaptive strategies in advance of disasters and not just after the fact.
- Coastal areas vulnerable to sea level rise and flooding from tropical storms should build up natural ecosystems like dunes and wetlands to buffer storm and sea level rise impacts
- Some emergency response funds should be freed up to help with analyzing growing risks from floods and droughts.
- Overall, the biggest goal must be to build a zero emissions renewable economy to avoid as much additional global warming as possible
- Finally, investing now in sustainable agriculture will help protect food supplies and farm livelihoods.
Read the full article about the colossal toll of extreme weather by Bob Berwyn at Inside Climate News
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