George Rose/Getty Images

Het antwoord van de natuur op de klimaatrisico's

LONDEN – Bijna de helft van de wereldbevolking, zo'n 3,5 miljard mensen, woont in de buurt van de kust. Naarmate – onder invloed van de klimaatverandering – de gevolgen van stormen, overstromingen en erosie zullen verergeren, staan de levens en het levensonderhoud van miljoenen van deze mensen op het spel. In feite wordt in de jongste editie van het World Risk Assessment Reportvan het World Economic Forum het onvermogen om zich aan te passen aan de gevolgen van klimaatverandering genoemd als het grootste enkelvoudige risico, in termen van impact, voor de samenlevingen en economieën in de hele wereld.

Afgezien van het feit dat ze levens in gevaar brengen, kunnen frequentere en sterkere stormen vele miljarden dollars kosten als gevolg van schade aan infrastructuur en verloren gegane inkomsten uit landbouw, visserij en toerisme. En, zoals de Harvard Business Reviewonlangs heeft opgemerkt: met ieder onderzoek stijgen de verwachte kosten. Toch geeft de internationale gemeenschap aan de verzachting van de risico's nog geen vijfde uit van wat zij uitgeeft aan het verlenen van noodhulp na natuurrampen.

Als het op klimaatrisico's aankomt, is voorkomen veel beter dan genezen. Zoals Rebecca Scheurer, directeur van het Global Disaster Preparedness Center van het Rode Kruis, het zegt: “We geven miljoenen dollars uit aan de reactie op natuurrampen, maar als we meer van die middelen van tevoren zouden kunnen besteden, zouden we meer mensen kunnen redden. Zo eenvoudig is het.”

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