STATEN ISLAND, NY – Ten of the most extreme weather events of 2021 cost at least $ 170 billion in damage, new study finds, underscoring the immense financial toll of poor conditions – which some scientists believe are exacerbated by the effects of climate change.

the report, published by the charity Christian Aid, counted the 10 world events and found that Hurricane Ida, which hit Staten Island and caused massive flooding throughout the borough, caused an estimated $ 65 billion in damage.

Although this figure is the highest of any weather event studied, the researchers said the estimate is only based on insured losses, meaning the actual level of financial devastation is likely to be even higher. raised.

“This is a powerful and important report. It is revealing to bring together these 2021 climate impact stories and estimates of the cost of living, livelihood and community, which are irreversibly changed when people are displaced, ”said Dr. Heidi Steltzer, professor. environment, sustainability and biology. at Fort Lewis College in Colorado, in a declaration.

The study found that a winter storm in Texas that crippled the state’s electricity grid last February had an economic cost of around $ 23 billion while flooding in China’s Henan Province in July caused over $ 17 billion in damage and displaced over a million people.

Elsewhere, more than 200,000 people had to flee the devastation caused by Cyclone Tauktae in India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives in May, just months before Typhoon In-fa flooded China, the Philippines and Japan , displacing more than 72,000 people and costing more than $ 2. billion.

“The costs of climate change have been significant this year, both in terms of impressive financial losses, but also of deaths and displacement of people around the world,” said report author Dr Kat Kramer, responsible of Christian Aid’s climate policy. “Whether it’s storms and floods in some of the richest countries in the world, or droughts and heat waves in some of the poorest, the climate crisis has hit hard in 2021.”

Not all weather events can be directly linked to climate change; However, scientists have recently been able to better identify the impact of man-made global warming. A recent heat wave that left the Pacific Northwest sweltering for days, for example, would have been virtually impossible without climate change, The New York Times reported.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this summer published its Sixth Assessment Report and found: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, oceans and land”, adding: “Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather phenomena and extreme climatic conditions in all regions of the world ”.

And the unprecedented rainfall that flooded roads and homes on Staten Island is not expected to abate, among other catastrophic weather events, scientists say. Heavy precipitation, exacerbated by warmer temperatures that trap more moisture in the atmosphere, will only worsen as global warming continues.

A recent report found that US businesses are expected to face more than $ 13 billion in flood damage next year.

The New York metropolitan area, which includes parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, has more than 30,000 retail and multi-unit residential properties that are suffering structural damage from flooding, according to the report, amounting to over of $ 582 million in annual damages for the next year.