Thursday, October 18, 2012

Disasters and Climate Change

Much has been written about climate change and its real or potential effects on the weather, risk management issues for companies, insurance, oceanfront development, and myriad other issues.  The world's largest reinsurers has just released a study stating that climate change has been the cause of the uptick in natural disasters in North America.  The study, "Severe weather in North America," looked at the period 1980 to 2011 through a comprehensive database of loss data for natural catastrophes.  The study shows a nearly quintupled number of weather-related loss events in North America for the past three decades, compared with an increase factor of 4 in Asia, 2.5 in Africa, 2 in Europe and 1.5 in South America. "Anthropogenic climate change is believed to contribute to this trend, though it influences various perils in different ways."

So if climate change is driving natural disasters in North America, what are we to do in terms of preparedness?  The study suggests the following:  "All stakeholders should collaborate and close ranks to support improved adaptation. In addition, climate change mitigation measures should be supported to limit global warming in the long term to a still manageable level."  Thus, adaptation is necessary to address the increased frequency of weather-related disasters and mitigation measures must be put into effect.  Insurers and policyholders, as well as governments, need to work together to address these issues.  Join the American Bar Association's Section on Tort Trial & Insurance Practice as its Task Force on Disaster Preparedness and Response continues to address all forms of disasters and presses the discussion with all stakeholders to make sure that we are all better prepared for disasters.

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