Lessons from empirical studies of the costs of extreme weather events

by Fran Sussman

A critical gap in our knowledge about the economic costs of climate change is the cost of extreme events. Until earlier this week, the calmness of this Fall’s hurricane season had lulled  the public and policy makers into a sense that perhaps we have more time. But the devastation and loss in life caused when Typhoon Haiyan—among the worst in history—slammed into the Philippines has quickly dispelled any developing sense of security about extreme events.  As we make choices concerning the types and magnitude of investments and institutional changes we need to make for the future, the question arises, “Is there anything to be learned from studies of the costs of extreme events about how to prepare—how much to spend on prevention and preparedness, or where to target investments?” (more…)

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