Observed and Projected Impacts from Extreme Weather Events: Implications for Loss and Damage

This chapter presents current knowledge of observed and projected impacts from extreme weather events, based on recorded events and their losses, as well as studies that project future impacts from anthropogenic climate change. The attribution of past changes in such impacts focuses on the three key drivers: changes in extreme weather hazards that can be due to natural climate variability and anthropogenic climate change, changes in exposure and vulnerability, and risk reduction efforts. The chapter builds on previous assessments of attribution of extreme weather events, to drivers of changes in weather hazard, exposure and vulnerability. Most records of losses from extreme weather consist of information on monetary losses, while several other types of impacts are underrepresented, complicating the assessment of losses and damages. Studies into drivers of losses from extreme weather show that increasing exposure is the most important driver through increasing population and capital assets. Residual losses (after risk reduction and adaptation) from extreme weather have not yet been attributed to anthropogenic climate change. For the Loss and Damage debate, this implies that overall it will remain difficult to attribute this type of losses to greenhouse gas emissions. For the future, anthropogenic climate change is projected to become more important for driving future weather losses upward. However, drivers of exposure and especially changes in vulnerability will interplay. Exposure will continue to lead to risk increases. Vulnerability on the other hand may be further reduced through disaster risk reduction and adaptation. This would reduce additional losses and damages from extreme weather. Yet, at the country scale and particularly in developing countries, there is ample evidence of increasing risk, which calls for significant improvement in climate risk management efforts.

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