The devastation caused by the sweep of natural disasters in 2017 will only increase and cost the economy even more, National Geographic said.
According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the increasing number of weather events has caused almost $1 billion in economic losses, increasing more than 400 percent from the 1980s.
A study by the Universal Ecological Fund found natural disasters impact the economy. The report stated climate change, combined with the health impacts of burning fossil fuels, has cost the U.S economy almost $240 billion per year, over the past 10 years.
With data like this emerging, students are left questioning whether Americans are to blame for the rising temperatures and climate change. The more fossil fuels burn, the faster the climate continues to change, according to the NOAA.
“When you have national disasters impacting such key areas, especially Houston, there are a lot of industries put on a complete slowdown or shut down,” senior Kevin McGuire said. “In Florida, the hurricanes directly impacted their agriculture. While it might not be felt immediately in the U.S., it creates a slowdown in efficiency of the country.”
Oklahoma Christian University Dean of the College of Business Jeff Simmons visited Houston over fall break to help distribute goods to the visits of the tropical storm.
“It sounds like we were doing a good thing, and it was,” Simmons said. “But I wonder how many mom and pop businesses are being put out of business because of the aid.”
According to ABC News, the Senate approved a $36.5 billion hurricane relief package, which would provide Puerto Rico with cash as well as keep the federal flood insurance program from running out of money to pay claims from the past hurricanes. This package comes after a $15.3 billion aid package approved last month.
Simmons said the money is needed, and without power in Puerto Rico, the country cannot produce goods or services, which will decrease jobs.
“The money being sent is creating work,” Simmons said. “The linemen restoring power have a job and are getting paid. The cleanup crews are getting paid; this is creating jobs.”
Though the Environmental Protection Agency does theoretically cost businesses money, it is a cost worth taking, Simmons said.
“If, in fact, global warming is occurring and the trend will continue, that will obviously not be sustainable for life on earth,” Simmons said. “Regardless of the cost, it is a price that needs to be paid.”