As climate issues intensify the media, incredibly, throws in the towelActually the facts are (as Scientific American explains) that 2/3rds of the amount was not due to climate change, but to the Japanese tsunami and the New Zealand earthquake.
OPINION: GLOBALLY, 2010 was a year of weather-related disasters on an almost unprecedented scale. Last year was worse, with a record $380 billion in economic losses attributed to “natural” disasters, many climate-related, according to insurance giant Munich Re.
Few experts expect to see any break in this upward trend this year, or any time soon. Instead, as record emissions of greenhouse gases continue unabated, the climate system is now behaving precisely as scientists have been projecting for decades. The rapid build-up of energy in the system is the “engine” that is fuelling extremes, from storms and floods to severe droughts.
Natural disasters around the world last year caused a record $380 billion in economic losses. That's more than twice the tally for 2010, and about $115 billion more than in the previous record year of 2005, according to a report from Munich Re, a reinsurance group in Germany. But other work emphasizes that it is too soon to blame the economic devastation on climate change.It's probably good to be on the watch for this sort of thing.
Almost two-thirds of 2011's exceptionally high costs are attributable to two disasters unrelated to climate and weather: the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March, and February's comparatively small but unusually destructive magnitude-6.3 quake in New Zealand.