"The insurance industry is finally waking up and smelling the climate chaos coffee"

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"What is the increasingly risk-exposed insurance industry doing to prepare and plan for increasingly intense extreme weather fueled by climate change? The answer is, not surprisingly, much, much too little," writes former CSW senior research associate Anne Polansky on her new blog.

Anne Polansky of Takoma Park, Maryland is a consultant and writer specializing in public policies to deal with climate change and to advance sustainable energy options in US energy markets. She was a part of the Climate Science Watch team for three years, 2007-2009.

She initiated the blog, Chlimate Chaos, with this on November 4: The insurance industry is finally waking up and smelling the climate chaos coffee, which begins (then read the full post):

Several days before Sandy made landfall, my home-insurer sent me a love note: “Hurricane Sandy is on her way,” said the email, “and you may be impacted.” But not to worry: “We’ve got you covered.” Whew!

Who are the less fortunate, I wondered, that are not getting such reassuring messages, and are not adequately covered for damage associated with extreme weather? More broadly, what is the increasingly risk-exposed insurance industry doing to prepare and plan for increasingly intense extreme weather fueled by climate change?

The answer is, not surprisingly, much, much too little. ...

We must note that the post includes this:

Consider this: the northeast is already doing a headspin over 2011′s Hurricane Irene which caused 56 deaths and $4.3 billion in insured losses, and Sandy just one year later. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new “joke” is that New York now gets 100-year storms every couple of years. Even a senior VP, John Miksad, of ConEd was incredulous in a CNN interview:

“[The storm] was sort of on steroids and I would have never expected it. I mean, this is New York City. This is not Florida or North Carolina. We’d have never expected to have two years in a row with this kind of damage to our system.”

Never would have expected? In the late 1990s the U.S. Global Change Research Program conducted a national assessment of regional climate impacts that included the metropolitan northeast and predicted just this: more severe, more frequent weather patterns that could mean storm surges, power outages, and inundation of NYC’s subway system. The reports were deep-sixed by the incoming Bush administration in 2000. We knew, or had reason to know. George W. Bush and his team, for one reason or another, thought it was important for us not to know.

Rick Piltz, a federal whistleblower who founded Climate Science Watch under the Governmental Accountability Project has covered this extensively, referring to Bush’s suppression of the National Assessment and related scientific reports and information as “the central climate science scandal of the Bush administration.”

So far, this mega-metropolitan region with heavy population densities hasn’t had the pleasure of experiencing an Andrew-caliber hurricane (Florida, 1992, Cat 5, $27B in damages), the likes of which haven’t dared to venture north of the Mason-Dixon. Yet. But it could, and scientists say it will: like our own death, it’s not a question of whether, but when.

Keep writing, Anne. Feed your blog.

She can be contacted at anne.polansky@me.com.

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