In 2011, floods in Thailand cost the economy US$ 45 billion (7% of its GDP) with disruptions to many global supply chains. Floods in the Philippines have claimed at least 1,500 lives and caused corresponding negative impacts to infrastructure and land. Meanwhile, parts of China have experienced their worst drought in 60 years, with over 4 million farmers facing severe water shortages. Two failed rainy seasons across Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda have created the worst drought since 1950, affecting more than 10 million people and pushing food prices upward across the region. In 2010, 17 million people were affected by floods in Pakistan, making it the country’s most expensive natural disaster, while an autumn drought in the Amazon brought river flow to its lowest level since 1902 in some parts.
The scale and frequency of these kinds of weather shocks, combined with long-term economic forecasts of climate change impacts and fossil fuel costs, are having a political as well as an economic impact.