Climate Change and Natural Disasters

Climate Change and Natural Disasters

Transforming Economies and Policies for a Sustainable Future

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ISBN: 978-1-4128-6440-4
Pages: 182
Binding: Hardcover
Publication Date: 01-27-2017
Also available as:
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The start of the new millennium will be remembered for deadly climate-related disasters—the great floods in Thailand in 2011, Super Storm Sandy in the United States in 2012, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013, to name a few. In 2014, 17.5 million people were displaced by climate-related disasters, ten times more than the 1.7 million displaced by geophysical hazards. What is causing the increase in natural disasters and what effect does it have on the economy?

Climate Change and Natural Disasters sends three messages: human-made factors exert a growing influence on climate-related disasters; because of the link to anthropogenic factors, there is a pressing need for climate mitigation; and prevention, including climate adaptation, ought not to be viewed as a cost to economic growth but as an investment. Ultimately, attention to climate-related disasters, arguably the most tangible manifestation of global warming, may help mobilize broader climate action. It can also be instrumental in transitioning to a path of low-carbon, green growth, improving disaster resilience, improving natural resource use, and caring for the urban environment. Vinod Thomas proposes that economic growth will become sustainable only if governments, political actors, and local communities combine natural disaster prevention and controlling climate change into national growth strategies. When considering all types of capital, particularly human capital, climate action can drive economic growth, rather than hinder it.

Editorial Reviews

"By focusing on the connection between hazards of nature and climate change, this book provides compelling reasons for countries to switch urgently to a low-carbon growth path. This would enable the world not only to avoid the most damaging of the climate scenarios but would also deliver cities where we can move, breathe and be productive, investments to promote sustainable agriculture and rural economies, and foster ecosystems that can move from fragile to flourishing. A timely and essential read."  

—Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government, LSE and President, British Academy

“Recent extreme climate impacts in Asia and across the world underscore the urgent need to act on climate change. Policymakers need every resource available to put in place effective policies and incentives to achieve the vision outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement, and this book holds great potential to secure the practical pathways that can turn the Paris vision into reality.” 

—Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 

"A compelling evidence-based call to action on the climate-natural disaster link.  A must-read for development economists and advocates in rich and poor countries alike."

—Nancy Birdsall, President, Center for Global Development

'This excellent analysis confirms that in an increasingly fragile world we need greater focus on investment in disaster risk reduction, climate mitigation and adaptation. This is the only way to move towards the new paradigm the global community has endorsed with the Sustainable Development Goals.''

—Kristalina Georgieva, European Commission Vice-President and former EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response

"A highly authoritative, lucid and timely analysis of the implications of climate change and disasters for sustainable development - the universally accepted path for humanity in the 21st century."

—Prof. Mohan Munasinghe, Chairman, Munasinghe Institute for Development, Shared the 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace, as Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

"The book provides rich data behind the realities Oxfam is grappling with every day—an escalation of disasters linked to climate change which are hitting the poorest hardest everywhere. Its call to radically scale-up investment in adaptation and building resilience must be heard if we are to tackle this climate injustice."

—Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International 

"A thought-provoking examination of the links between climate change and natural disasters, and how to tackle both. Its call for greater investments in natural capital, "nature's infrastructure" – in addition to physical and human capital – to meet these critical 21st century challenges is particularly timely and welcome.”

—‚ÄčInger Andersen, Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature

"Climate Change and Natural Disasters is not only a useful survey of the causes and consequences of climate change, but also a ringing endorsement of the urgent need to incorporate disaster risk reduction in core economic planning alongside efforts to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions." 

—Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

"This landmark study demonstrates that natural disasters are increasingly man-made. Cutting across knowledge domains, it offers a comprehensive, positive and realistic policy agenda that captures the universal aspirations of the post 2015 sustainable development era."   

—Robert Picciotto, former Director General, Independent Evaluation Group, World Bank   


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Table of Contents

List of Figures 

List of Tables 

List of Boxes 






1. Overview 
 Enter Climate Change 
 Mitigation and Prevention 
 The Knowledge–Action Gap 
 Pursuit of Economic Growth 
 Climate Crisis and Response 

2. The Anatomy of Climate-Related Natural Disasters 
 Anthropogenic Link to Climate-Related Hazards 

3. The Rising Threat of Climate-Related Natural Disasters 
 Asia and the Pacific 
 Challenge for the Philippines 

4. Climate Change Mitigation 
 Carbon Pricing 
 Removing Fossil-Fuel Subsidies 
 Renewable Energy 
 Nuclear Energy 
 Energy Efficiency 
 Forest Management and Protection 
 Urban Resilience and Mitigation 
 Mitigation: Win-Win and Net-Win 

5. Climate Adaptation and Disaster Management 
 Disaster Management Cycle 
 Social Safety Nets 
 Information Technology 

6. Transforming Mindsets, Motivations, and Politics 
 Bridging the Knowledge Gap 
 Politics of Climate Mitigation 
 Carbon Strategies and Technological Fixes 
 Underinvestment in Disaster Risk Reduction 
 Role of Multilateral Development Banks 
 Being Better Prepared 

7. A New Development Paradigm