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Global Warming - Is a Plan Emerging

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					with Dr. Mike Magee

Global Warming: Is a Plan Emerging?

Global Warming, a Pressing Health Issue
Not just about melting ice caps and rising temperatures

Health risk
• to the quality of the air we breathe • to our stable water supplies

• to our ability to nourish our bodies with food

All the things we need to live healthy lives...

A Gathering Consensus
• Fueled by public and private power and dollars
• Still below the radar screen

• Action must now replace words
• Out of a range of voices, a plan seems to be taking shape

A Closer Look Reveals Interesting Trends
Convergence driving us toward a possible plan • Many segments of our global society are: - intersecting with each other - affecting each other - determining each other Global warming – a case in point • 3 different sectors heading in same direction: - insurance industry - energy industry - public policy makers

Insurance Industry’s Role
Known for throwing weight behind policy solutions Example: Auto insurance industry Pushed for state seatbelt and motorcycle-helmet laws to reduce injuries Now U.S. insurance companies want to roll back global warming Catastrophic weather caused by global warming could devastate the insurance industry

Sources: Hinton C. Insurers See Global Warming as Threat. The Wall Street Journal. September 27, 2006. B2B.

Numbers Illustrate the Point
2005 • Global insurance collected $3 trillion in premiums - U.S policies accounted for 17% ($507 billion) - $71 billion in weather-related disaster damages > 14% of net-premium earnings Historic Comparison • 1960s catastrophic losses: 1% - 2% of premiums • 1984 - 2004 average was 3.3%

Sources: Hinton C. Insurers See Global Warming as Threat. The Wall Street Journal. September 27, 2006. B2B.

The Impact of Global Warming
A unique 2005 • Hurricanes Katrina and Rita - Many experts agree these were tied to global warming > Global warming tied to carbon emissions • Humans like to live in areas most vulnerable to water disasters • Lack of effective emergency preparedness / response systems Loss of lives, dwellings and insurers’ profits were a forgone conclusion

Insurance companies don’t want to see another year like 2005

Sources: Webster PJ, Holland GJ, Curry JA, Chang HR. Changes in Tropical Cyclone Number, Duration, and Intensity in a Warming Environment. Science. 2005;309:1844-1846. Available at: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sci;309/5742/1844.

Insurers Address the Problem
“Insurers are vulnerable, and they have a stake in getting out in front of the problem.” -- Evan Mills Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How are they getting out in front of the problem? • Developing methods to reduce catastrophic weather effects - New building codes or land-use policies • Swiss Reinsurance - Offering to underwrite carbon-emission credits for businesses investing in emission-reduction projects in the developing world

Sources: Hinton C. Insurers See Global Warming as Threat. The Wall Street Journal. September 27, 2006. B2B.

Responding to Conditions
“Coverage for national catastrophe has been rising for more than 10 years at an average rate of 9.4%. Climate-change mitigation, or anything that helps reduce emission, would be a positive.” -- Ivo Menzinger Swiss Reinsurance

Insurer actions a plus for U.S. energy companies? Example: California - State passed legislation to cap emission output - California oil companies produce 13% of nation’s oil - Emissions in primary production and in burning fuel for energy Credits for carbon emission from insurance companies would be a plus in this setting
Sources: Hinton C. Insurers See Global Warming as Threat. The Wall Street Journal. September 27, 2006. B2B. Anders G, Buckman R. Venture Firms Ignite Bitter Fight With Push for California Oil Tax. The Wall Street Journal. September 27, 2006. A1.

Public Policy
California’s Proposition 87 • Would have raised $4 billion by taxing oil extracted in California - to fund research for alternative fuels - to spur sales of alternative energy • Failed in November election, but received 3 million+ votes • Policy makers can’t help but take notice Growing interest and support will continue to influence policy makers and impact public policy

Sources: Tribble SJ. Prop. 87 may still spur energy research. The Mercury News. November 9, 2006. Available at: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/15973590.htm.

The Emerging Plan
1) Control emissions • Swiss Reinsurance is putting money where mouth is • End result is what matters – less carbon in the atmosphere

2) Less energy consumption • Focusing on efficiency and conservation is fast and effective • Efforts could reduce greenhouse gases by 1/3 in 25 years 3) Use public policy proactively • Re-examine tax and land-use policy in light of Katrina and Rita - Can’t continue to put ourselves in harm’s way

Sources: Hinton C. Insurers See Global Warming as Threat. The Wall Street Journal. September 27, 2006. B2B.

www.healthpolitics.org

Global Warming: Is a Plan Emerging?

Release Date: 11/29/2006


				
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