Monday, June 25, 2012

The climate challenge list from Lloyd's

Lloyd's has a detailed list of climate change impacts-- just a few snips here: As world leaders, academics and scientists gather for the Rio +20 conference to try to reach agreement on sustainable growth, controlling world emissions and managing the growing impact of climate change, we look at the recent past to identify potential climate challenges ahead.

There is growing evidence that prolonged heatwaves are likely to lead to a greater incidence of wildfires, particularly in Southern Europe and the Western United States. 2009 saw wildfires raging out of control in Spain, France, Greece and Italy. In Spain, this destroyed more land in just a few days than the entire wildfire season of 2008. In 2010 and 2011, wildfires devastated large swathes of Russia’s agricultural land. In 2011, these destroyed 618,000 hectares while in 2010, the loss of crops to wildfires in the country forced Russia to impose a ban on grain exports – creating a spike in the price of these commodities on international markets..

The severity of flooding on communities is affecting a growing number of people across the world. In both 2009 and 2011, floods in southern India took hundreds of lives and left millions homeless. The 2011 Thailand floods were the largest insured fresh-water loss in history. The Mississippi floods of 2011 disrupted an estimated 13% of US petroleum refinery output, resulting in a rise in petrol prices. In Europe last year, flash flooding resulted in a state of emergency being declared by Italy and Czech Republic. In China last year, floods in Eastern China affected an estimated 5 million people, killing 17, disrupting 1,000 businesses and decimating crops. Analysts have predicted crop shortages in China could affect global food prices. Half the world’s population (3bn) live within 200 kilometres of the coastline. If current trends continue, this could double to 6bn by 2025.

...Lloyd’s believes strongly that insurance has a vital role to play in helping businesses and communities adapt to the effects of climate change. We were a founding member of the ClimateWise initiative, which provides insurers with a framework to set out how they build climate change into their business operations.

Inside the Lloyd's building, photo from Lloyd's, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license

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