The Stream, March 15: Disaster Losses Exceeded $100 Billion in 2012

Environmental Threats
Natural disasters cost the world approximately $US 138 billion last year, the third consecutive year that economic losses from disasters have exceeded $US 100 billion, AlertNet reported. Floods and droughts accounted for almost 80 percent of disaster victims in 2012.

Failure to address environmental threats like climate change, deforestation, air pollution, and water pollution could “halt or even reverse human development progress,” according to the United Nations 2013 Human Development Report, the Guardian reported. The report said that inaction could cause the number of people living in extreme poverty to increase by 3 billion by 2050.

Paraguay’s economy could grow 10 percent this year as it recovers from drought and doubles its soybean exports, Bloomberg News reported. The country is trying to boost its agriculture sector, in part by installing more irrigation systems and improving water management.

Small hydropower projects in India’s northern Himalaya region are providing a sustainable energy source for local industries and are decreasing the area’s need for generators powered by fossil fuels, according to AlertNet.

The Texas House of Representatives will get the chance to vote on a major water bill that would use $US 2 billion in seed money to create a water infrastructure bank in the drought-hit state, StateImpact Texas reported. The bill would direct 20 percent of the funding to conservation projects.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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