The last days of October have produced two serious reports about the dangers presented by unchecked climate change.
- Last year, global atmospheric CO2 levels hit a record high, a high not seen since 3 million years ago.
- Significantly, the rate of increase of emissions in 2016 was higher than any other recent year.
These circumstances led Erik Solheim, the UN’s environment chief, to call for urgent action:
“We still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future. This is unacceptable. If we invest in the right technologies, ensuring that the private sector is involved, we can still meet the promise we made to our children to protect their future. But we have to get on the case now.”. (emphasis added)
In September, a series of nearly consecutive hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria), “super-charged” by waters further warmed by climate change, caused loss of life and damages estimated to be in the billions of dollars. In the case of such heavy losses, people might expect the world insurance industry and/or their governments to assist in compensating them for the damages they have suffered.
The insurance industry has long been aware of the serious impact of climate change on its future viability. John Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson for the Geneva Association, an industry think tank, recently stated:
“There is new, robust evidence that the global oceans have warmed significantly, given that energy from the ocean is a key driver of extreme events, ocean warming has effectively caused a shift towards a ‘new normal’ for a number of insurance relevant hazards. This shift is quasi irreversible—even if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions completely stop tomorrow, oceanic temperatures will continue to rise.”
The industry has warned that property owners cannot expect the industry to provide complete coverage of the order that historically has been available before climate change contributed to the severity of weather events. The potential damages could be so staggering that the industry must protect itself against devastating claims. This may require capping the amount of coverage, raising premiums significantly, or excluding numerous properties assessed to be “high risk”.
Even with these measures much more is required from the nations who are parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change. Their immediate challenge is to reduce GHG Emissions that are the cause of global warming.
That is why we are appealing to you. The next international climate conference (COP 23) will take place next week in Bonn, Germany. The Conference must reach agreement on effective measures to implement the Paris Accord, a key agreement to reducing GHG emissions.
You can help by contacting your Federal Member of Parliament and explain how important Canada’s leadership will be to a successful conference. A telephone call is sufficient. Just click on this link for contact details.