(German text translated/edited in the English by P Gosselin)
World economic output is rising and rising. This can be nicely seen in the growth of the global total gross domestic product. It is therefore not surprising that losses from natural catastrophes are also rising steadily. As there is more value that can be destroyed, the amount of damage would increase even if the number and severity of natural catastrophes remained constant.
This is an aspect that is often concealed when MunichRe and other companies disseminate statistical loss figures.
A new study by Roger Pielke has been able to document precisely this effect. Over the past 25 years, losses have risen sharply, but when standardized over GDP, a decline has been recorded. The study was published in the journal Environmental Hazards on 27 October 2018. Abstract:
Tracking progress on the economic costs of disasters under the indicators of the sustainable development goals
The Sustainable Development Goals indicator framework identifies as an indicator of progress the objective of reducing disaster losses as a proportion of global gross domestic product. This short analysis presents data on this indicator from 1990. In constant 2017 US dollars, both weather-related and non-weather related catastrophe losses have increased, with a 74% increase in the former and 182% increase in the latter since 1990. However, since 1990 both overall and weather/climate losses have decreased as proportion of global GDP, indicating progress with respect to the SDG indicator. Extending this trend into the future will require vigilance to exposure, vulnerability and resilience in the face of uncertainty about the future frequency and magnitude of extreme events.”
Severe tornadoes in the USA since 1950. Source: Roger Pielke Jr.