The price tag for the world's extreme weather events in 2021 will clock in at around $343 billion, according to a new report from the giant insurance company Aon.
The 2021 Weather, Climate and Catastrophe Insight report indicates that last year would be the third costliest year on record after adjusting for inflation.
And according to the insurer about $329 billion of those damages resulted from weather and climate-related events, the insurer wrote.
"Clearly there is both a protection and innovation gap when it comes to climate risk," said Eric Andersen, president of Aon. "As catastrophic events increase in severity, the way that we assess and ultimately prepare for these risks cannot depend on solely historical data."
Innovation is coming to address some of these gaps in knowledge and ability to predict catastrophes -- along with new sensing and imaging technology to decrease the risk of climate-related catastrophes... or climate abetted ones.
These may look like the weather prediction software available from companies like the FootPrint Coalition-backed startup ClimateAI. Or any of the unique technologies that are being used to prevent wildfires or keep them from becoming incredibly destructive.
"We need to look to technology like artificial intelligence and predictive models that are constantly learning and evolving to map the volatility of a changing climate," Anderson said in a statement. "With scalable solutions, we can help organizations make better decisions that make them more resilient as they continue to more frequently face interconnected and increasingly volatile risks."
The scale of these disasters -- and their toll -- is impressive. Flooding in Europe were the costliest disaster on the continent, creating $46 billion in damages. While wildfire risk became untethered from seasons amid historic droughts.
Nations including Germany, Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg, and China set records for the cost from damages incurred by disasters. Meanwhile, the drumbeat of increasing temperature records continued as the world recorded its sixth-warmest year since data was tracked.
"Many global communities are exposed to increasingly volatile weather conditions that are in part enhanced by the growing effects of climate change. This includes record-setting episodes of extreme temperatures, rainfall and flooding, droughts and wildfires, rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones and late season severe convective storms," said Steve Bowen, meteorologist and head of Catastrophe Insight at Aon.
"We can no longer build or plan to meet the climate of yesterday. With physical damage loss costs rising, this is also leading to lingering global disruptions to supply chains and various humanitarian and other asset-related services," Bowen said in a statement. "The path forward for organizations and governments must include sustainability and mitigation efforts to navigate and minimize risk as new forms of disaster-related volatility emerge."