Major climate disasters cost the U.S. economy more than $145 billion last year, according to data released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today.

The following is a statement from Bob Keefe, executive director of the national nonpartisan business group E2:

“Climate change is killing our economy – and this new data shows we cannot afford to wait any longer to stem its growing costs.

“The clean energy provisions in the Build Back Better Act will curb the emissions fueling the costly climate disasters we experienced last year, while simultaneously expanding the clean energy solutions we need and the jobs and investments that come with them.

“The Senate needs to pass this legislation. Now.”

At $145 billion, the economic costs of just the 20 biggest climate disasters is greater than the annual gross domestic product of Arkansas and 15 other states.

According to the NOAA report:

  • The U.S. experienced 20 separate billion-dollar weather disasters last year, including Hurricane Ida along the East Coast, the Texas winter freeze and last month’s deadly and costly tornadoes in the Kentucky, Illinois and other states and the Denver-area wildfires that destroyed an estimated 1,000 homes.
  • Last year’s $145 billion in economic damages was the third-highest on record, and up from $102 billion in 2020.
  • In the last five years alone, there have been 86 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters that have sucked $742 billion from our economy.


E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see or follow us on Twitter at @e2org.

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