Hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters across the United States caused $95 billion in damage last year, according to new data referenced by the New York Times. The cost is almost double the amount in 2019 and the third-highest loss since 2010.
The new figures, reported January 7 by Munich Re—a company that provides insurance to other insurance companies—are the latest signal of the growing cost of climate change. The spike reflects the need for increased reliance on clean energy sources such as nuclear, solar, and wind.
Disaster severity increasing: The figures also reflect a year marked by a record number of named Atlantic tropical storms as well as the largest wildfires ever recorded in California. Those losses occurred during a year that was one of the warmest on record, a trend that makes extreme rainfall, wildfires, droughts, and other environmental catastrophes more frequent and intense.
“We can’t, as an industry, continue to just collect more and more money and rebuild and rebuild and rebuild in the same way,” stated Donald L. Griffin, a vice president at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association. “We’ve got to place an emphasis on preventing and reducing loss.”
Nuclear is key: One way to do that is to act as aggressively as possible to limit climate change, making non-carbon-emitting energy production like nuclear an important part of the present and the future.