Global Hotspots of Climate-Related Disasters
38 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2023
Even if net zero emissions were achieved immediately, the carbon locked in the atmosphere will continue to impact ecosystems and people. Despite the need to minimize climate change impacts, climate adaptation has not kept pace with escalating risks. Data on disaster occurrences and impacts can guide action to where it is most needed. We used data on climate-related disasters recorded between 2000 and 2020 in the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) to 1) discern disparities in climate-related disaster impacts across countries and continents, and 2) pinpoint administrative areas where people have been highly impacted. Over 4,600 occurrences of climate-related disasters were documented, directly impacting over 3.3 billion people. Highly developed countries experienced fewer impacts despite not having a lower number of climate-related events. African countries showed an increase in the number of people impacted through time, despite a decrease in the number of climate-related events. Areas in Central America and the Caribbean, Eastern North America, Eastern Africa and Madagascar, and Southern and Eastern China, India and Southeast Asia had the highest numbers of people impacted per km2. Identifying locations with high numbers of impacted people can lead to action and policy shifts. Nature conservation, restoration and management could be important interventions to help people adapt to the impacts of climate change, especially in areas of low human development and where people have experienced high and very high impacts. In the policy sphere, analyzing historical occurrences of climate-related disasters could guide efforts to address losses and damages and to promote climate justice.
Keywords: climate change adaptation, nature-based solutions for adaptation, climate-related disasters
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