Thursday, January 13, 2011

Current climate information insufficient, say world's financial institutions

UN Environment Programme: The availability of and access to climate change information remains insufficient, according to many of the world's leading financial institutions. A pioneering study launched today confirms the increasing financial relevance of climate change and the fact that insurers and lenders need better information regarding the physical and economic impacts of the world's changing weather patterns.

The report, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, presents the results of an international survey undertaken by the Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and the Sustainable Business Institute (SBI), Germany. More than 60 institutions, from both developed and developing countries, took part in the survey.

Financial service providers and their customers are increasingly affected by the impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather events. Moreover, the survey shows that insurers, reinsurers, lenders, and asset managers expect these kinds of risks to increase in the future.

Given that financial institutions are able to influence their clients and investee companies across all sectors of the economy, they can play a key role in accelerating the implementation of adaptation measures by the private sector.

But in order for the sector to manage climatic risks affecting their business portfolios and to give the best possible advice to their customers, financial institutions need access to applied information such as climate change predictions, modelling, analysis, and interpretation. Such information needs to be appropriate to the duration of contracts, the regions where customers hold assets or undertake operations and the hazards that are material to the operations of borrowers, investees, and the insured….

Local Ethiopians gather supplies on the taxiway from an Air Force C-130H Hercules aircraft delivering aid to flood victims in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Philip A. Fortnam

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