|The climate crisis can be a polarizing topic, but here’s a number to chew on: $2,615,000,000,000.
That’s the total bill for the 371 weather and climate disasters topping $1 billion in damage in the US since 1980.
It’s a number so big I had to triple-check that I had the correct amount of zeros.
The eye-popping figure is part of an incredible package on the true cost of extreme weather from Insider’s Annie Fu, Morgan McFall-Johnsen, Catherine Boudreau, Jacob Zinkula, and Marianne Guenot.
The project includes stories on a teacher’s near-death experience in Arizona heat, a storm destroying much of a Texas citrus farmer’s crop, and a flood in Iowa that devastated a nonprofit.
As staggering as $2.6 trillion is, it might be short-changing the actual cost. Plenty of bills go uncounted by official tallies, and supply-chain disruptions from weather events create an incalculable domino effect.
There’s also no cost you can put on the loss of life — and emotional stress — from these events.
And all of us are footing the bill. From taxes to insurance premiums, extreme weather impacts just about everyone one way or another.
Discussions about the climate crisis often focus on the impact on future generations. However, the data shows the ramifications of extreme weather are being felt today.