Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Not for the first time the insurance industry sounds alarm over climate change impacts

 expected Highest Tide Flooding in 2100 at +0.54m.
High Tide flood extent (dark blue) and medium sea level rise scenario for 2100 (light blue)

Common Dreams, 29 August 2016:

Warning that climate change amounts to the "mother of all risks," three of the world's biggest insurance companies this week are demanding that G20 countries stop bankrolling the fossil fuels industry.

Multi-national insurance giants Aviva, Aegon, and Amlin, which together manage $1.2tn in assets, released a statement Tuesday calling on the leaders of the world's biggest economies to commit to ending coal, oil, and gas subsidies within four years.

"Climate change in particular represents the mother of all risks—to business and to society as a whole. And that risk is magnified by the way in which fossil fuel subsidies distort the energy market," said Aviva CEO Mark Wilson. "These subsidies are simply unsustainable."

According to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), fossil fuel companies receive an estimated $5.3tn a year in global subsidies—a figure that included, as the IMF put it, the "real costs" associated with damage to the environment and human health that are foisted on populations but not paid by polluters.

Tuesday's declaration is being issued as leaders prepare to convene for the 11th G20 summit, which is being held in Hangzhou, China on September 4-5 under the theme: "Toward an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected, and Inclusive World Economy."

"We're calling on governments to kick away these carbon crutches, reveal the true impact to society of fossil fuels and take into account the price we will pay in the future for relying on them," Wilson added.

Indeed, insurance companies are increasingly shouldering many of the costs associated with a warming planet, whether it be from extreme weather damage or reimbursing farmers for lost crops.

In the first half of 2016 alone, natural catastrophes have caused $70bn in losses, of which $27bn was insured, according to an assessment by insurance and reinsurance company Munich RE—with events of particular note being climate-related "storms in the U.S. and Europe, massive forest fires in Canada, and the complete absence of typhoons in the northwestern Pacific."

And housing data firm Zillow recently published an analysis which found that as many as 1.9 million homes across the country could be underwater by 2100 if the seas rise as much as climate scientists predict, amounting to property losses in the hundreds of billions of dollars……

West Yamba: Expected Highest Tide Flooding in 2100 at +0.74m. Image courtesy of John Edwards.
High Tide flood extent (dark blue) and high sea level rise scenario for 2100 (light blue)

No comments: