Erratic US 'weather whiplash' accounts for billions of dollars in global losses

Following yesterdays talk at Hay festival I felt this was quite an apt follow up.  Thanks to all that came to watch and took part in the discussion.  For thos interested in the stats around UK agriculture - here is a useful report.

Climate studies have associated more frequent and intense weather events - such as heavy storms and heat waves - with climate change. The wild swings in weather across the American midwest over the last few years - including heat waves, floods, and drought - have been cited as an example of what lies ahead with future climate change.

A report from the environmental research organisation World Watch Institute on Wednesday provided further evidence of the costs of those extreme shifts - known as "weather whiplash".

The report found that the United States alone accounted for more than two-thirds of the $170bn in losses caused by natural disasters around the world last year.

In all, there were 905 natural disasters around the world last year. Nearly all were weather or climate-related - with 45 per cent attributed to storms, 35 per cent to flooding and 12 per cent to wildfires, drought, extreme heat or cold snaps, the report said.

The remaining seven per cent were caused by earthquakes and volcanoes.