$14 Billion — Health Cost of 6 U.S. Climate Disasters (Who Cares?!)

north dakota flooding climate change disasters

Those treehugging environmentalists and climate scientists are always trying to make a big deal out of nothing, you know? I mean, look at this recent study on 6 climate-related disasters of the past 10 years — it found that the health costs of these 6 U.S. disasters only totalled $14 billion. That’s a few times less than oil companies get in tax breaks over the same period of time. What’s the big deal?!

I mean, it’s true, I can’t imagine what $14 billion looks like and I will never see that much money in my life, but looking at the big picture and how much money has ever existed in the world, I don’t see what the big deal is!

This is only health costs, not insurance and property damage costs they might say. Still, what’s several billion more?

“This in no way is going to capture all of the climate-related events that happened in the U.S. over that time period,” Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and a co-author of the study, said.

Oh yeah, look at that, as soon as you knock down the fact that $14 billion doesn’t really matter to anyone, they come back and say, “But this is only 6 disasters — nothing compared to the total damage the world has faced.” And also mention that 14 more weather disasters in the U.S so far this year have cost at least $14 billion more. Well, add on 50 or a 100 or even 300 billion more — it’s still not a trillion or a zillion, and those are the big numbers, from what I remember from my high-level education in elementary school.

climate change disasters florida 2004

The 2000-2009 climate-related disasters these University of California-Berkeley, University of California-San Francisco, and NRDC researchers focused on, and their estimated costs, are below. Did any of them affect you? Probably not , right?

  • U.S. ozone air pollution, 2000-2002 ($6.5 billion)
  • West Nile virus outbreak in Louisiana, 2002 ($207 million)
  • Southern California wildfires, 2003 ($578 million)
  • Florida hurricane season, 2004 ($1.4 billion)
  • California heat wave, 2006 ($5.3 billion)
  • Red River flooding in North Dakota, 2009 ($20 million)

The health impacts calculated to get the numbers above? 1,689 premature deaths, 8,992 hospitalizations, 21,113 emergency room visits and 734,398 outpatient visits. Chances are, you weren’t one of those people affected. So, why worry?

Even if these types of disasters are supposed to get (and are already getting) much more common and severe due to global warming and climate change, I wish these crazy environmentalists would stop making such a big deal out of such a small matter. Seriously, call me when the costs at least get to $1 trillion a year. Until then, who cares?

North Dakota flooding photo via USACEpublicaffairs
2004 Florida Hurricane image via roger4336

2 thoughts on “$14 Billion — Health Cost of 6 U.S. Climate Disasters (Who Cares?!)”

  1. You can’t necessarily pin nine years worth of hand picked WEATHER related damages on climate change. We would have to see an increase in weather related damages on a year to year basis (it may be true, or false that climate change is increasing weather related costs/damages, [I don’t know off of the top of my head] but you did not prove this point in your satirical article).

    Also your article isn’t going to convince any neutral parties or global warming deniers to acknowledge the fact that CO2 emissions have an impact on our climate. It’s seething with sarcasm, and your really just politicizing a scientific issue by trying to connect hand picked weather events to climate change without actually providing any proof.

    I’m not sure what constructive point your trying to make in your article.

    We need to convince the public with hard data and science. Not sarcastic rhetorical BS. This article is exactly how the global warming debate gets turned into a shitfest, the further we move away from the data the quicker we begin to lose our credibility.


    1. MKH: 1st of all, I don’t write “climate-change-related disasters” — i write “climate-related disasters.” note that a senior scientist at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) writes the same. what i wrote about climate change, that such disasters are supposed to get more severe, has been predicted by climate scientists for decades. i have written about it in plenty of other ways. and, yes, we are seeing an increase in climate-related disasters and the severity of such disasters — have written about that as well.

      Don’t worry, this article wasn’t written for global warming deniers. Deniers are deniers. I’ve had probably thousands of scientific discussions with them and they still deny the clear science. But they are in the minority. The issue at this point is getting the majority who trusts the scientists motivated enough to do something about this crisis. There are still people who think smoking is safe, the Sun revolves around the Earth, and the moon is fake. You are never going to convince everyone of a clear fact.

      My point in this article: to have a little fun and entertain the countless number of people who have struggled to bring more attention to this issue.

      I’ve got the science-focused pieces. I promote them more than anything. But I think there’s a place for this, as well.


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