climate change

Fri, 2013-03-22 05:00Bill Hewitt
Bill Hewitt's picture

Excerpt from Bill Hewitt's A Newer World: The Insurance Industry’s Response to Climate Change

The following is excerpted from A Newer World: Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis by Bill Hewitt.  It is taken from Chapter 8, “A Resilient Future: Adaptation, Education, Law, and Lifestyle.”  The analysis of the insurance industry’s response to climate change below does not reflect the latest information such as the fact that Hurricane Sandy caused an estimated $28.2 billion in insured losses and approximately $65 billion in economic losses across the US, Caribbean, Bahamas and Canada.

The Insurance Industry’s Response

One industry that knows what is coming is insurance. We looked at insurance in Chapter 5, noting how fully convinced all the leaders in the industry are of climate change’s impacts, now and for the future, and how committed they are to managing those risks through pushing for policy to meet the crisis head-on and by promoting measures to effectively adapt to the inevitable stresses on human populations and infrastructure that are at hand. The Insurance Information Institute cites one study on hurricanes that indicates that as wind speeds increase over the next couple of decades, property insurance losses will increase as well — by 30 to 40 percent. Seven of the ten most costly hurricanes in U.S. history occurred from August 2004 to October 2005, including Katrina, which caused losses of $41 billion. If the predictions of more-intense storms bear out, with the attendant increases in property loss, then Katrina will be dwarfed in the future, especially if hurricanes zero in on major cities in the United States like Miami or New York. The Big Apple had a near miss with disaster in late August 2011 with Hurricane Irene.

Thu, 2013-03-21 23:16Graham Readfearn
Graham Readfearn's picture

Climate Denial Think Tank's Plans To Abolish Climate Change Departments in Australia

A LEADING Australian free-market think tank with close ties to the country's conservative Liberal Party has revealed its plan for climate change - abolish it.

Aside from the current Labor-led government's mud-wrestling over its leadership, all opinion polls point to a landslide victory for the Tony Abbott-led Liberal Party at the next election, which has been set for September.

The Institute of Public Affairs, a leading promoter of climate science denial and misrepresentation, has revealed its recommendations for the next government in a document outlining budget cuts. The plan was written by Alan Moran, director of the think tank's deregulation unit.

The document made the pages of The Australian newspaper but the report did not mention the document's detailed plans to obliterate all climate change functions in the country's public sector. In one section the document outlines the think tank's recommendations for public sector departments. In delaing with the future of the “Climate Change and Energy Efficiency” department, Moran writes simply: “Abolish”.

Pretty much every other federal government function to administer climate change policy, research global warming, ensure sustainable development or support renewable energy gets chopped under Moran's plan. Many publicly-funded research programs and agencies are either chopped entirely or cut to the bone.

Mon, 2013-03-18 11:00Sharon Kelly
Sharon Kelly's picture

Obama's Energy Strategy -- Too Little, Too Late?

A year ago, President Obama set forth his vision of America’s energy policy. “We need an energy strategy for the future,” he said in a message still prominently displayed on the White House website, “an all-of-the-above strategy for the 21st century that develops every source of American-made energy.”

During the presidential debates, he hammered repeatedly an “all of the above” theme, though he also surprised many by making a strong statement about the urgency of confronting climate change during his second term.

This week, President Obama once more talked about his “all the above” strategy as he announced that he was setting aside $2 billion for research and development on alternative transportation fuels.

Things are looking up for renewable energy, right? Not so fast.

Obama's choice for new directors of the three agencies with the most relevance to climate change – the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior — do not sew confidence that real change is coming.

Lewis Page

Lewis Page

 Credentials

  • Cambridge University (Engineering degree 1988-91, St John's College) Islington Green Comprehensive. 
  • Royal Navy Officer 1993 - 2004. 
Source: [1]
 
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Thu, 2013-03-14 11:28Ben Jervey
Ben Jervey's picture

Climate Disruption Tax Costs Americans Billions

Here’s a term that bears repeating: climate disruption tax. What is a climate disruption tax? It’s the cost to the American taxpayer of dealing with the impacts of climate-related weather events, as introduced by NRDC’s Dan Lashof and Andy Stevenson.  

The concept of a climate disruption tax is actually hugely important. Why? Because climate change is costing us more than trying to avoid climate change ever would, but unfortunately, this troubling little bit of economics is somehow constantly overlooked in the climate debates. We always hear about how much it will cost to transition away from fossil fuels and to slow deforestation. But the costs of inaction rarely stick in the discussion.

It’s not for lack of research or knowledge, nor for lack of bloggers bringing it up. Over the past few years, a range of voices have weighed in with warnings from all across the socioeconomic and ideological spectra. If not quite first, but foremost, the master economist Sir Nicholas Stern sounded the alarm, only to recently double down on his dire predictions.

Then there are the massive insurers and even more massive reinsurers like Munich Re and Swiss Re. There are the , of course. There are NGOs and think tanks like DARA with a cold, hard economic calculus in their Climate Vulnerability Monitor. There are academics.There’s the U.S. government itself warning of the severe costs of unmitigated climate change.

These studies and reports are written about, blogged, tweeted, and sometimes cited, but they haven’t managed to nudge their way into the mainstream climate conversation. The costs often seem too far off, too theoretical–a problem for another time.

Which is why any clever new way of framing climate-related costs should be celebrated and spread far and why. Over on Switchboard, Lashof and Stevenson are onto something.

Say it with me again: Climate Disruption Tax.

Sun, 2013-03-10 16:25Graham Readfearn
Graham Readfearn's picture

Climate Denial Industry Hits Courts And Hollywood As Threats Fly

THE climate science denial industry doesn't like Penn State University's Professor Michael Mann very much.

Mann is the scientist behind the famous “hockey stick” graph that first appeared in the journal Nature in 1998. Mann and two other scientists Professor Raymond Bradley and Professor Malcolm Hughes had reconstructed temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere from the year 1400 to present day using data mainly from tree rings, ice cores and modern temperature readings.

The following year, the same three scientists extended their study to reconstruct 1000 years of temperatures and published this in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Each time the team plotted their data on graphs and each time the plots showed what is the now famous “hockey stick” shape with a sharp uptick in temperatures towards the end of the century.

Bo Nordell

Bo Anders Nordell

 Credentials

  • Professor, Water Resources Eng. (LTU) 2001
  • Docent, Water Resources Eng (LTU) 1997
  • Doctor of Technology, Water Resources Eng. (LTU) 1994
  • Senior High School (House Construction Eng) 1964-67
  • Licentiate of Technology, Water Resources Eng. (LTU) 1986
  • Mining Engineering (LTU) 1974-79
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