The World Needs to Get Better at Assessing Natural Disaster Risk—Fast

A firefighter monitors the Caldor Fire burning near structures in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., Aug. 30, 2021 (AP photo by Jae C. Hong).
A firefighter monitors the Caldor Fire burning near structures in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., Aug. 30, 2021 (AP photo by Jae C. Hong).

For decades, market fundamentalists pitted capitalism against environmentalism, as if the global economy could be insulated from shocks to the health and stability of the biosphere. At last, those days are ending, and economists and corporate leaders are recognizing the costs of running down Earth’s natural capital. Last week, the nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs announced that in 2021 alone, “climate change-related natural disasters inflicted nearly $150 billion in damage to America’s economy.” The U.S. plight is part of a broader pattern. On April 26, the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction, or UNDRR, declared that the world as […]

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