In 2021, the U.S. experienced 20-billion-dollar disasters (2nd all time) costing $145 billion (3rd all time). In the last 5 years, the U.S. has experienced $742.1 billion in damages with an annual average of $148.4 billion. (This estimate does not attempt to represent the total cost to the U.S. of weather and climate disaster as only events costing over $1 billion are included). Billion-dollar events account for over 80%, and growing, of the weather and climate damage experienced by the U.S. Further, NOAA calculates disaster costs from various public and private data sources such as Insurance Services Office, FEMA, USDA, state agencies, and more and does not account for health care related losses or values associated with loss of life and are considered conservative estimates of the true cost of extreme weather and climate.
According to the National Climate Assessment, climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events leading experts to project that the number of billion-dollar storms will become more common, damaging, and deadly. Events such as floods, heat waves, and tropical storms are known to be influenced by climate change, however others such as tornadoes it is still uncertain whether climate change is a factor.
Using the average cost of billion-dollar-events to the United States in the last 5 years, it is estimated that we will continue to see nearly $150 billion worth of damage every year on average due to extreme weather unless Congress acts to pass $555 billion climate investments included in the Build Back Better Framework to help communities better manage growing climate risks. These investments will provide much-needed action that helps communities reduce impacts of extreme weather events and delivers jobs, justice, and clean energy for Americans.
While it is impossible to predict the precise toll extreme weather fueled by climate change will exact on Americans in the coming year, $148.4 billion represents our best estimation based on current trends. Billion-dollar weather events occur sporadically throughout the year, many Americans are experiencing environmental trauma daily as they continue to recover from past damage while preparing for impending climate disasters. To represent this omnipresent threat of climate or weather disaster, we will represent the estimated annual cost on a per second basis--$4,705.73/second.
Projected cost for 2022: $148,400,000,000 or $4,705.73/second
$4,700 is equivalent to 3.5 months of infant childcare
Infant Childcare costs over $1,300 a month per child. [Center for American Progress, 6/28/21]
$4,700 is equivalent to one year tuition at an in-state public community college
The average annual cost for attending an in-state public community college is $4,864 [ThinkImpact, accessed 2/3/22]
$4,700 is equivalent to one year of healthcare costs for the average American family
2018: The average American family spent $5,000 on health care. [CNBC, 10/9/19]
$4,700 is equivalent to 2.5 months of rent
2021: average listed rent in the U.S. was $1,877 per month. [CBS, 2/2/22]
$4,700 is equivalent to 2 years of braces
Braces cost $4,914 for 2 years for children and $5,091 for adults. [Value Penguin, 1/12/22]
Billion Dollar Events
Using NOAA data on billion dollar disasters reported in the first quarter of 2022 we can estimate the dollars spent on responding to extreme events and the number of lives lost.
To estimate projected costs from 2022 we will use the average annual costs from 2017-2021 which was projected in the first quarter of 2022 to be: $148.4 billion per year.
Cost of Inaction Campaign Partners
Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE)
Change the Chamber*Lobby for Climate
Dream Corps Green For All
Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action
National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE)
United Women in Faith