Warmings and Warnings
Who Should Pay for Costs of Global Warming?
Here are some quotes from a recent article appearing in The Guardian. Also, an announcement of a new report from our friends at the New Economics Foundation.
Insurance Industry Suffering from Global Warming
by Paul Brown"We used to talk in terms of floods and heatwaves being one in 100 year events, but in the south of France this year we have had a one in 100 year heatwave, and last month one in 100 year floods -- all in the same year. This is climate change happening now and a big headache for the insurance industry."
Economic losses in Europe because of the summer drought exceeded US$10,000,000,000 in the agriculture sector alone because of loss of crops and livestock, the insurance industry announced at the climate talks in Milan.
Premiums are having to be increased across Europe to cope with the number and frequency of extreme weather events, and some parts were becoming uninsurable because of repeated flooding.
Thomas Loster, of Munich Re, one of the world's largest reinsurance companies, said even householders in lower risk areas might soon be faced with having to pay a US$500 increase just to get insurance for extreme weather events.
Mr Loster, a geographer and expert in weather-related losses, said this year's German heatwave, where record temperatures were reached over several days, was a one in 450 year event, according to modern measuring methods. Climate scientists had told him that it had probably not happened in the past 10,000 years, since the last ice age.
"Everywhere records are being broken. In Dresden the highest rainfall recorded in one day had been 47mm (just under 2in), and then in one day - August 12 2002 - there was 158mm (6in), more than three times as much. Naturally, the drains could not cope. This is unprecedented." He said it was shocking that 20,000 people had died as a result of the heatwave, most of them in France, though there were also deaths in Germany, Italy and England.
Mr Loster said that between the 1960s and the 1990s insurance losses because of weather-related disasters worldwide had increased tenfold, and that was adjusted for inflation.
There were now three times as many "big weather events" recorded in each year which led to large losses.
He added: "The basic fact is, the ocean is heating up everywhere, there is more humidity in the atmosphere, there are many more heavy rain events. The risk is increasing dramatically from the insurance point of view.
"Scientists keep stressing the uncertainties, but we are businessmen, and we cannot go on taking these losses."
Notes from the New Economics Foundation --
GLOBAL WARMING: MAKE THOSE TO BLAME PAY
International authorities say that climate change due to human activities is here and probably accelerating. The consequences of a rise in temperatures for a planet already facing water shortages and a population explosion could be catastrophic. Yet some nations -- the worst climate offenders among them -- are refusing to play their part to guarantee all our futures. A new briefing looks at the possibilities of using legal, economic and trade sanctions to bring those who are "free riding" on the earth's resources into line.
Download this new report on ways to get the costs of global warming paid by the guilty, not the innocent
A Story about the Polluter Pays Principle http://www.progress.org/archive/pollpay.htm
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