Warns of Global
March 3, 11:40 PM
(Reuters) - The world's second-largest reinsurer, Swiss Re, warned on
Wednesday that the costs of natural disasters, aggravated by global
warming, threatened to spiral out of control, forcing the human race into
a catastrophe of its own making.
a report revealing how climate change is rising on the corporate agenda,
Swiss Re said the economic costs of such disasters threatened to double to
$150 billion (82 billion pounds) a year in 10 years, hitting insurers with
$30-40 billion in claims, or the equivalent of one World Trade Centre
is a danger that human intervention will accelerate and intensify natural
climate changes to such a point that it will become impossible to adapt
our socio-economic systems in time," Swiss Re said in the report.
human race can lead itself into this climatic catastrophe -- or it can
report comes as a growing number of policy experts warn that the
environment is emerging as the security threat of the 21st century,
expect global warming to trigger increasingly frequent and violent storms,
heat waves, flooding, tornadoes, and cyclones while other areas slip into
cold or drought.
levels will continue to rise, glaciers retreat and snow cover
decline," the insurer wrote.
RISE Losses to insurers from environmental events have risen exponentially
over the past 30 years, and are expected to rise even more rapidly still,
said Swiss Re climate expert Pamela Heck.
tell us that certain extreme events are going to increase in intensity and
frequency in the future," Heck told Reuters by telephone.
"Climate change is very much in the mind of the insurance
the past century, the average global temperature has increased by 0.6
degrees Centigrade, the largest rise for the northern hemisphere in the
past 1,000 years, Swiss Re said.
the short- and medium-term, simply knowing that the planet is warming will
allow society to adapt, for example, through infrastructure to cope with
more-frequent floods or by instructing farmers to use drought-resistant
other cases, governments need to restrict risk-taking, such as approving
housing developments in low-lying areas, and improve catastrophe
the long term, Swiss Re said, greenhouse gases widely thought to trigger
global warming will need to be reduced, the use of fossil fuels cut and
new energy technologies developed.
role of the insurance industry is through establishing risk adequate
tariffs and to give the risk taker the opportunity to implement
appropriate measures to reduce the chance of possible losses," Heck