Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Adapting to climate change key in building climate-resilient communities

Sandra Sowray in the Insurance Times and Investment News (South Africa): While negotiations continue at COP17 with a specific focus on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the insurance sector, who facilitates the mechanism by which society pools its resources to cope with risk, hosted a side event to underpin the critical importance of adapting to climate change.

The event was hosted by Santam, South Africa's largest short-term insurer, ClimateWise, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and the National Business Initiative. Santam is a member of both ClimateWise and UNEP FI and has played an active role in facilitating the industry's transition to active participation in climate discussions.

...Adaptation is about making communities, societies and economies resilient to the adverse impacts of a changing climate. ...Mr. Remco Fischer, head of climate change at UNEP FI ... presented the key findings from a global survey which assesses how the insurance industry can support society to improve its resilience to the climate.

...The study was conducted in the Southern Cape, where insurers have experienced an increase in losses due to a number of environmental, social and governance factors, reveals three major findings in relation to the changing risk landscape:
  1. Climatic changes are driving risks higher
  2. The human impact on the ecological environment is as important in determining our vulnerability to climate risk (for example deforestation greatly increases the damage from floods)
  3. In a socio-ecological landscape, the actual level of risk is determined by the non-linear interactions between the different drivers of risk...
Photo of the collapsed wooden terracing at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow after the disaster in 1902

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