Thursday, May 21, 2009

Insurer blames climate change for Australia damage

Sydney Morning Herald (Australia): As floods lash northern [New South Wales], insurance companies say they are revising their estimates due to climate change. Damage from severe weather has increased significantly in the past few years, while other forms of natural disasters have remained static, said the head of geo risks research at the global insurance giant Munich Re, Peter Hoeppe.

"If you calculate the trends in weather-related natural catastrophes you find a distinct difference in recent years," Dr Hoeppe told the Herald. "It's quite obvious that something has changed here and I think that is really the effects of global warming … We are seeing that serious weather events are becoming much more common, while the other kinds of catastrophes like the earthquakes and volcanoes are, of course, not changing."

The heavy rainfall on the North Coast of NSW has forced 120 schools to close and damaged dozens of properties. No large-scale financial assessment has been conducted yet but the repair bill is expected to be millions of dollars. Dr Hoeppe said the disproportionate increase in damage caused by wild weather could not be attributed to more people living in threatened coastal zones, because rising populations in all areas meant people were equally exposed to other hazards….

A view of the Cocked Hat Rocks at Broken Head (NSW, Australia)

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