I live in South Jersey, so yeah, Sandy is about to make my life uh interesting.
So before the power/interweb goes out let me reiterate a point that is not made often enough in the climate change debate – Big Business is not united in their denialism.
One sector that is particularly immune to fossil fuel propaganda is the global insurance and reinsurance industry – because unlike consumers or politicians they are on the hook when the reality of Climate Change strikes.
Take for example Munich Re cited in a wonderful article from the New Yorker: Watching Sandy, Ignoring Climate Change
A couple of weeks ago, Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance firms, issued a study titled “Severe Weather in North America.” According to the press release that accompanied the report, “Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America.” The number of what Munich Re refers to as “weather-related loss events,” and what the rest of us would probably call weather-related disasters, has quintupled over the last three decades. While many factors have contributed to this trend, including an increase in the number of people living in flood-prone areas, the report identified global warming as one of the major culprits: “Climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity.”
Munich Re’s report was aimed at the firm’s clients—other insurance companies—and does not make compelling reading for a general audience. But its appearance just two weeks ahead of Hurricane Sandy seems to lend it a peculiarly grisly relevance. Sandy has been called a “superstorm,” a “Frankenstorm,” a “freakish and unprecedented monster,” and possibly “unique in the annals of American weather history.” It has already killed sixty-five people in the Caribbean, and, although it’s too early to tell what its full impact will be as it churns up the East Coast, loss estimates are topping six billion dollars.
That’s right folks. The world’s largest and well established insurance companies are not only not in denial, they are pricing and operating with Climate Change firmly in mind. And their expertise seems to be yielding an accurate analysis. Which is important to them because their fortunes are at stake.
Well time to go shutter the windows, make sure I have food and batteries in place, because the warmer water caused by Climate Change means Southern New Jersey is going to face sustained 50-70 mph winds tonight and into tomorrow as well as billions of dollars in damages on the shore and energy infrastructure.
Not to mention one of the country’s oldest nuclear power plants is here.
What could go wrong?
Maybe I’ll have enough light to read Senator Inhofe’s award winning book about it all being a hoax.
Then again, maybe not.