Tag Archives: climate fires

Costs of 2017 US Weather Disasters Demolish Previous Record

2017 saw the US scorched by record-breaking wildfires in California, record-breaking rainfall events like Hurricane Harvey in Houston (just one of the three most expensive hurricanes to ever hit the US, which all occurred in 2017), damaging hail events, tornadoes, and extreme droughts that wiped out crops.

These extreme weather events, most of which were fueled at least in part by anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), cost the US nearly a third of a trillion dollars ($306 billion) over the past year.

That is more money than the US government spent on transportation, housing and community, international affairs, energy and the environment, and science, combined, in 2015.

The total cost of these extreme weather events was, by nearly $100 billion, a US record.

Climate Change Has Come for Los Angeles

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is meant to be, in Southern California, the start of rainy season. Not this year. The Thomas Fire, the worst of those roiling the region this last week, grew 50,000 acres on Sunday alone; it has now burnt 270 square miles and forced 200,000 people from their homes. There is no rain forecast for the next seven to ten days, and as of Monday morning, Thomas is just, in the terrifying semi-clinical language of wildfires, “10% contained.” To a poetic approximation, it’s not a bad estimate of how much of a handle we have on the forces of climate change that unleashed it — which is to say, hardly any.


We could use further updating: Five of the 20 worst fires in California history have now hit since just September, when 245,000 acres in Northern California burned