River and coastal flooding worsened by climate change will put 1.3 billion people and US$158 trillion in property at risk before mid-century, the World Bank warns.
“Cities and coastal areas are woefully unprepared for the kind of climate and disaster risk now facing our world,” said John Roome, the bank’s senior director for climate change.
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The calculation is based on a report from the bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery. The world’s total gross economic product has been estimated at about US$75 trillion per year.
In archipelago Indonesia, the extent of coastal flooding could more than quadruple by 2050, and river flooding is expected to worsen by 166%. Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, anticipates a 50% increase in earthquake damage by then, as slums and unapproved structures are built in the wake of the mountain country’s last devastating earthquake in 2015.
The “combination of sea level rise and sinking of coastal cities—including from excessive extraction of the groundwater beneath them—could drive disaster losses in 136 coastal cities from $6 billion a year in 2010 to $1 trillion a year by 2070,” the Thomson Reuters Foundation reports.
The information could drive up borrowing costs for cities, as rating agencies increasingly factor future weather losses into their credit scoring algorithms.
To encourage more cities to become better prepared, the Global Facility has launched an online information tool, ThinkHazard!, to help project and urban planners who are not climate change experts anticipate and mitigate risks. The tool covers floods, cyclones, droughts, heat waves, fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and landslides.
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