Saturday, August 21, 2010

Caribbean storm damage costs may rise 50% with global warming

Alex Morales and Jeremy van Loon in Bloomberg: Climate change may add 50 percent to the storm damage costs incurred by some Caribbean nations over the next two decades, said Swiss Reinsurance Co., the world’s second-largest re-insurer. Wind, storm surges and inland flooding already cost some Caribbean nations up to 6 percent of their economic output each year, the Zurich-based company said today in a statement on its website. Global warming could add costs amounting to another 1 to 3 percent of output by 2030, it said.

Insurers are being hit with more claims as damages from natural catastrophes rise. Costs to clean up after storms and other natural disasters reached a record $180 billion in 2005, of which insurers covered about half, according to Munich Re, the biggest re-insurer. “As a global re-insurer. we are already exposed to the effects of climate change,” said David Bresch, Swiss Re’s head of sustainability. “Projected climate patterns are likely to heighten the risks.”

More than 190 nations have been trying since 2007 to craft a treaty to rein in climate change and channel aid from rich to poor nations to help them adapt to its effects. At the latest round of talks earlier this month, island nations said that loopholes in the existing treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, could wipe out emissions reduction pledges for 2020….

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