Climate Change

Asia Climate: India, China, Japan lose billions to extreme weather annually, says WMO report

India, China and Bangladesh recorded most of the disaster-related displacement recorded globally in 2020, according to State of the Climate in Asia 2020

 
By Kiran Pandey
Published: Thursday 28 October 2021
A flood-hit village in Odisha during Cyclone Yaas earlier this year. Photo: Ashis Senapati
A flood-hit village in Odisha during Cyclone Yaas earlier this year. Photo: Ashis Senapati A flood-hit village in Odisha during Cyclone Yaas earlier this year. Photo: Ashis Senapati

Extreme weather events triggered by climate change cost Asia, especially India, China and Japan billions of dollars annually, which threatens sustainable development, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Events such as tropical cyclones, floods and drought cause losses of at least $408 billion on an average every year in these three countries. China loses around $238 billion annually, followed by India ($87 billion) and Japan ($83 billion), according to the State of the Climate in Asia 2020.

Authors of the WMO’s recently released report calculated total average annual economic loss (AAL) from climate-related hazards in Asia.

They based their calculations on the most recent estimates provided by the Asia Pacific Disaster Resilience Network.

The highest AALs in Asia due to climate-related hazards are associated with drought, according to the report. Drought caused 82 per of India and China’s average annual economic loss in 2020.

Total average annual economic loss (AAL) from climate-related hazards in Asia

 

Source: State of the Climate in Asia 2020

Floods and storms affected approximately 50 million people in Asia in 2020. They caused over 5,000 human deaths. India suffered the maximum economic loss of $26.3 billion due to floods and storms in Asia, followed by China ($23.1 billion).

For India, the damage meant a loss of over 0.8 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product and was highest in the region.


Damage by climate-related hazards in Asia in 2020

Source: State of the Climate in Asia 2020

 

India along with China, and Bangladesh recorded most of the disaster-related displacement recorded globally in 2020, according to the report.

WMO called for steps to ensure that Asia got back on track for climate action, as expected under the United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

“COVID-19 has impacted progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific region. This includes SDG goal 13 on taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts,” WMO said.

It added that Asia had regressed on Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action) in four of its five sub regions: East and North-East Asia, North and Central Asia, South-East Asia, South and South-West Asia.

There was a need for these regions to reverse these current trends to achieve target 13.1 on climate resilience and adaptive capacity, as well as other resilience targets (target 1.5 and target 11.5), WMO said.

The global meteorological organisation stated this citing the region’s progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals analysed by UNESCAP in the Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2021.

The region was likely to miss the goals by 2030 unless efforts were accelerated to build resilience. Some countries in the region had implemented national and local disaster risk reduction strategies, but it was not enough, the report stated.

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