Count the cost of 2020: Here are the key highlights of the new climate report

The countries across the world continued to pay a very high price for extreme weather in 2020, according to a report from the NGO Christian Aid, noting the burden fell disproportionately on poor nations. The report also underlined some extreme weather events in 2020 which were devastating in poorer countries.

Against a backdrop of climate change, the report titled ‘Count the cost of 2020: a year of climate breakdown’ lists ten events that saw thousands of deaths and significant insurance costs. Six of the events took place in the Asian continent, with floods in China and India causing damages of nearly $40bn. In the United States, record hurricanes and wildfires caused about $60bn in losses.

From Australia’s wildfires in January to a record number of Atlantic hurricanes, the true cost of the year’s climate-enhanced calamities was in fact far higher as most losses were uninsured.

“We saw record temperatures in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal, straddling between 30C-33C. These high temperatures had the characteristics of marine heat waves that might have led to the rapid intensification of the pre-monsoon cyclones Amphan and Nisarga,” said Dr Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune.