As new statistics published Monday by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revealed the United States has sustained more than $2 trillion in damages wrought by over 300 weather and climate disasters since 1980, a leading economist specializing in equitable climate solutions reiterated the need for urgent action—starting with passing Democrats\u0026#039; flagship Build Back Better Act—to mitigate the planetary emergency. \u0026nbsp;\r\n\r\n\u0022Policymakers must take drastic actions to rein in global warming emissions across all sectors of the economy.\u0022\r\n\r\nAccording to NOAA, there were 310 U.S. weather and climate disasters since 1980 whose inflation-adjusted costs each exceeded $1 billion, with total damages topping $2.155 trillion. Economic damages from last year\u0026#039;s disasters alone exceeded $145 billion, making 2021 the third-costliest in the time period studied. These events claimed 688 human lives and injured scores more.\r\n\r\n\u0022The sobering power of NOAA\u0026#039;s annual data on billion-dollar disasters highlights a worsening and undeniable trend,\u0022 Rachel Cleetus, policy director and lead economist for the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), said in a statement. \u0022This report underscores the reality of how the climate crisis is already affecting people\u0026#039;s lives and the economy.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022Additionally, the devastating toll and trauma imposed by extreme weather and climate disasters have, and continue to, hit some people harder than others, with communities of color, low-income communities, and communities that have endured multiple disasters often bearing the brunt of its impacts,\u0022 she continued. \u0022We simply cannot adapt to runaway climate change.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Fossil fuel companies and their allies shouldn\u0026#039;t be allowed to stand in the way of desperately needed climate action.\u0022\r\n\r\nNOAA says 2021 was the fourth-warmest ever recorded in the U.S. Additionally, Copernicus, the European Union\u0026#039;s Earth observation program, reported Monday that the last seven years were the hottest on record worldwide as the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane continue to rise, despite a slight decline early during the Covid-19 pandemic.\r\n\r\nCleetus stressed that \u0022to curtail the worst climate and extreme weather disasters, policymakers must take drastic actions to rein in global warming emissions across all sectors of the economy during this consequential decade and invest in climate resilience.\u0022\r\n\r\nShe referenced as one step President Joe Biden\u0026#039;s flagship Build Back Better Act, which has been weakened by right-wing Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and remains stalled in the U.S. Senate\r\n\r\nThe legislation, said Cleetus, could be \u0022a crucial step to shift sharply away from fossil fuels toward clean energy and ensure communities are better prepared for disasters before they strike.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Fossil fuel companies and their allies shouldn\u0026#039;t be allowed to stand in the way of desperately needed climate action,\u0022 she added.