The Cost of a Hurricane – Not Just $$$$.

Hurricane Harvey has washed out Texas and Louisiana. Hurricanes are a fact of life in this region but they are not usually as damaging. Harvey was so devastating for two reasons; firstly it picked up energy off the warmer (than usual) waters in the Gulf of Mexico making the wind speeds faster and the amount of water it could hold greater. Secondly once Harvey made landfall he then stalled and dumped the huge amounts of water on Houston instead of distributing it over a greater area. The reason for the stagnated weather fronts, it has been suggested, may again be due to the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico disrupting the weather patterns in the region. No one can say that climate change caused Hurricane Harvey but the warmer than usual conditions have made it worse.

The estimated cost of the clean up after Harvey is $125bn (£97bn). When people in power argue that the cost of climate change mitigation is too costly to the economy are they factoring the clean-up costs of these extreme weather events? The cost of Hurricane Katrina was $108bn, $80bn of the losses were covered by insurance companies, a cost that is passed on to businesses and householders. Storm Desmond in the UK cost insurers £1.3bn.

The economics of a hurricane are interesting as calculations of the losses only take into account physical damage. There is no account taken of loss of life, lost work time, tourism losses, health issues related to the disruption and lost jobs. In the aftermath of Storm Sandy, New Jersey state government estimated reconstruction costs of $29.5m but also estimated a loss of $950m in tourism and reduced employment by over 11,000. However they also suggested that with the extra investment required back into the area that these job losses would be regained and extra ones gained too for the medium term (in re-build / renovation activity) and extra income would be generated. The economic picture is complex, but there is little doubt that the overall effect of natural disasters is negative..

According to the experts these extreme events are becoming more common. If we tackle the root cause of climate change today these events will still happen for some time. If we do nothing the US must tolerate stronger and stronger storms and keep rebuilding with the associated loss of life. Now Hurricane Irma is barrelling towards Florida….

If you would like advice on how to reduce the climate change impact of your business, make it more resilient to extreme weather, business continuity in times of disruption or to know how ‘at risk’ your business is call us on 01746 552423 or email info@crediblygreen.com.

 

Hurricane Harvey has washed out Texas and Louisiana. Hurricanes are a fact of life in this region but they are not usually as damaging. Harvey was so devastating for two reasons; firstly it picked up energy off the warmer (than usual) waters in the Gulf of Mexico making the wind speeds faster and the amount of water it could hold greater. Secondly once Harvey made landfall he then stalled and dumped the huge amounts of water on Houston instead of distributing it over a greater area. The reason for the stagnated weather fronts, it has been suggested, may again be due to the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico disrupting the weather patterns in the region. No one can say that climate change caused Hurricane Harvey but the warmer than usual conditions have made it worse.

The estimated cost of the clean up after Harvey is $125bn (£97bn). When people in power argue that the cost of climate change mitigation is too costly to the economy are they factoring the clean-up costs of these extreme weather events? The cost of Hurricane Katrina was $108bn, $80bn of the losses were covered by insurance companies, a cost that is passed on to businesses and householders. Storm Desmond in the UK cost insurers £1.3bn.

The economics of a hurricane are interesting as calculations of the losses only take into account physical damage. There is no account taken of loss of life, lost work time, tourism losses, health issues related to the disruption and lost jobs. In the aftermath of Storm Sandy, New Jersey state government estimated reconstruction costs of $29.5m but also estimated a loss of $950m in tourism and reduced employment by over 11,000. However they also suggested that with the extra investment required back into the area that these job losses would be regained and extra ones gained too for the medium term (in re-build / renovation activity) and extra income would be generated. The economic picture is complex, but there is little doubt that the overall effect of natural disasters is negative.

According to the experts these extreme events are becoming more common. If we tackle the root cause of climate change today these events will still happen for some time. If we do nothing the US must tolerate stronger and stronger storms and keep rebuilding with the associated loss of life and cost. Now Hurricane Irma is barrelling towards Florida….

If you would like advice on how to reduce the climate change impact of your business, make it more resilient to extreme weather, business continuity in times of disruption or to know how ‘at risk’ your business is call us on 01746 552423 or email info@crediblygreen.com.

 

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