THE bill for the planet’s climate emergency just keeps building up.

World governments, corporations and individuals this year began to wake up the crippling cost of minimising global heating.

However, 2019 also left some horrific clues that doing nothing would be far more expensive.

Extreme weather, driven by climate change, hit every populated continent this year, killing, injuring and displacing millions of people, and causing billions of dollars of economic damage, according to a report by Christian Aid.

The charity has catalogued 15 of the most destructive droughts, floods, fires, typhoons and cyclones of 2019, each of which caused damage of more than

$1 billion (£770 million).

Seven of the events cost more than

$10bn each.

Worse: some of these figures are likely to be underestimates – in some cases they include only insured losses and do not take into account the costs of lost productivity and uninsured losses.

All of these billion-dollar disasters are linked with human-caused climate change. In some cases scientific studies have shown that climate change made the particular event more likely or stronger, for example with Cyclone Idai in Africa and floods in India and America.

In other cases, the event was the result of shifts in weather patterns – such as higher temperatures and reduced rainfall that made fires more likely, or warmer water temperatures that supercharged tropical storms,that are which are themselves consequences of climate change.

Adelle Thomas, director of the

Climate Change Research Centre at the University of the Bahamas, Senior Research Associate at Climate Analyticssaid: “In small island developing states, such as

the Bahamas where I’m from, we’ve experienced first-hand the repeated devastation caused by the climate crisis.

“Most recently, the record breaking Hurricane Dorian destroyed lives, livelihoods and our sense of security.

“This was, unfortunately, not an isolated event because multiple hurricanes in recent years have resulted in unprecedented devastation throughout the Caribbean region.

“The great tragedy of climate change is that it is the poorest and most vulnerable who suffer the most, despite us doing the least to cause it.

“However, as this year has shown, no continent is immune from global warming and its impacts. It’s vital countries step up and deliver stronger action plans and much increased ambition before the COP26 summit in Glasgow next November.”

The most financially costly disasters identified by the report were wildfires in California, which caused $25bn in damage, followed by Typhoon Hagibis in Japan ($15bn) and floods in the American mid-west ($12.5bn) and

China ($12bn).

The events with the greatest loss of life were floods in Northern India, which killed 1,900, and Cyclone Idai which killed 1,300.

l January saw floods in Argentina and Uruguay that forced 11,000 people from their homes, while in Australia some places received more rain than at any time since records began in 1888.

l In March, Storm Eberhard swept across Europe while Cyclone Idai caused death and devastation in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi. Floods

began racking up huge financial losses

in the American Midwest ($12.5bn) and Iran ($8.3bn).

l May and June saw $28bn of damage in Asia: Cyclone Fani struck India and Bangladesh, parts of China experienced their highest rainfall for 60 years and, in Northern India, a stronger than usual monsoon led to floods that killed

1,900 people.

l September and October saw Typhoons Faxai and Hagibis cause more than $20bn of damage in Japan as well as disrupt the Rugby World Cup that was being held there.

l In North America, Hurricane Dorian caused destruction along the Eastern seaboard from the Bahamas to Canada, killing 673 people.

l The most expensive event took place

at the end of the year with $25bn of damage caused by wildfires in California throughout October and November.

Professor Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Centre at Pennsylvania State University, said: “If anything, 2019 saw even more profound extreme weather events around the world than last year, including wildfires from the Amazon through to the Arctic, devastating out-of-season, simultaneous wildfires in California and Australia, winter heat waves and devastating superstorms.

“With each day now we are seemingly reminded of the cost of climate inaction in the form of weather extremes.”