Preparing for climate disasters can save $6 for every $1 spent

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A new report from the US National Institute of Building Sciences has concluded that funding to mitigate against climate change can save huge amounts of money.

The Institute released its Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2017 Interim Report this week, an update to a report it compiled in 2005.

The authors studied the results of almost 25 years of funding from the US government to mitigate against extreme weather events. It concluded that for every $1 spent on hazard protections, it saved the nation a further $6. They also found that upgrading new buildings to exceed the current model codes can save $4 for every $1 spent.

Implementing these changes could have immediate benefits for the US, preventing 600 deaths, 1 million injuries and 4,000 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder. Adapting buildings could also create 87,000 new jobs.

As reported by Climate Action earlier this week, 2017 was the costliest year on record for extreme weather events in the US. 16 separate disasters had losses of over $1 billion, totalling $306 billion.

The Institute’s report goes into detail on the various measures that can be taken to reduce the impacts of these extreme weather events. These include replacing buildings especially prone to flooding, adding hurricane shutters, strengthening structures to resist earthquakes, and replacing roofs to combat wildfires.

Bryan Koon chairman of the Institute’s Multihazard Mitigation Council, told the Insurance Journal that the report provides “plain hard facts and figures that appeal to anybody in Congress, in the executive branch.”

He added: “The timing couldn’t be better for people to recognize the importance of mitigation…invest properly and you’re going to get your money back — regardless of what your beliefs in climate change are”.

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