What is the trend in economic losses from climate-related extremes?

Policy Question
Indicator codes: CSI 042 , CLIM 039

Key messages

(11 Dec 2017)

  • Over the period 1980-2016, the total reported economic losses caused by weather and climate-related extremes in the EEA member countries amounted to approximately EUR 436 billion (in 2016 Euro values). 
  • Average annual economic losses varied between EUR 7.4 billion over the period 1980-1989, EUR 13.3 billion (1990-1999) and EUR 13.9 billion (2000-2009). Between 2010 and 2016, average annual losses were around EUR 12.8 billion. This high variability makes the analysis of historical trends difficult, since the choice of years heavily influences the trend outcome.
  • The observed variations in reported economic losses over time are difficult to interpret since a large share of the total deflated losses has been caused by a small number of events. Specifically, more than 70 % of economic losses were caused by just 3 % of all unique registered events.
  • Between 1980 and 2016, natural disasters caused by weather and climate-related extremes accounted for some 83 % of the monetary losses in the EU Member States. Throughout these 37 years, weather and climate-related losses accounted for a total of EUR 410 billion (at 2016 values). Reported economic losses mainly reflect monetised direct damages to certain assets. The loss of human life, cultural heritage or ecosystem services is not part of the estimation.
  • In the EU, the most expensive climate extremes in the period analysed include the 2002 flood in Central Europe (over EUR 20 billion), the 2003 drought and heat wave (almost EUR 15 billion), and the 1999 winter storm and October 2000 flood in Italy and France (EUR 13 billion), all at 2016 values.

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100