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Lloyd’s insurers mock climate sceptics over ‘global cooling’

Head of exposure at Lloyd’s says ignoring IPCC report is not an option, calling on all regions to think about developing resilience

(Pic: Tim J Keegan)

(Pic: Tim J Keegan)

By Nilima Choudhury

The head of exposure management at leading insurer Lloyd’s has slammed attempts to dismiss the latest UN climate science report, and says he’s unconvinced by claims the world is cooling.

“The sceptics are just trying to push the debate and they start at 1998, which was one of the hottest years on record,” says Trevor Maynard in a blog titled ‘Silencing the Sceptics‘.

“It’s a bit like someone breaks the world record for running 100 metres and then in the next ten races people say, ‘Runners are getting slower’.”

He added:  “In some parts of the world we expect there will be more flooding and drought and food shortages, we just don’t know where exactly. It means all regions need to think about becoming more resilient.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s report published two weeks ago warned the world could warm 4°C by 2100.

It attributed a 15-year hiatus in significant temperature rises to a combination of factors, including the reflective powers of small particles in the atmosphere, natural climate variability and the role of the oceans in sucking up excess heat.

It also predicted sea levels are likely to rise higher than previously thought, while the Arctic could lose all its sea ice cover in the summer by 2050.

“Climate change acts as a ‘threat multiplier’,” said Maynard. “It doesn’t necessarily cause events to happen, but it does make them worse.”

Business concern

The insurance industry has long warned of the potential impacts of climate change and related extreme weather events.

Estimates of the repair bill left by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 range between $50-100 billion, and prompted insurance payouts of $25 billion.

Insurance company Munich Re AG say natural disasters cost insurers $65 billion in 2012. A spokesman told RTCC the company was investing heavily in efforts to develop a better understanding of global risks.

“We adopt a multidisciplinary approach, using and combining the pertinent experience and expertise of our scientists, specialist underwriters, lawyers, economists, sociologists and actuaries as appropriate for the risk situation,” he said.

This warning from Lloyd’s is the latest in the series of comments from business leaders over the impacts warming could have on industry and global supply chains.

On Monday Virgin chief Richard Branson called for “climate deniers to be called out”, calling for greater focus on the development of clean fuels.

Yesterday, Emma Cox from consultancy PwC said the financial industry needs to realise that climate change “is not just an environmental issue.”

“This is no longer just a debate about climate change. It’s one of securing recovery and sustaining growth for UK plc,” she said.

And last week the heads of the World Bank,  IMF and OCED all called for governments to develop more effective low carbon pathways.

“There is only one way forward: governments need to put together the optimal policy mix to eliminate emissions from fossil fuels in the second half of the century,” said the OECD’s Angel Gurria. “Cherry-picking a few easy measures will not do the trick.”
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Global ‘cooling’: how will the IPCC explain 15-year temperature hiatus?

Ed Davey fighting “guerrilla war” with Tory climate sceptics

Connecticut and Minnesota tell insurers to recognise climate risks

Extreme weather cost US insurers $34bn in 2011

  • Tenac

    … in other news, Turkey condemns Christmas.

  • The_Magic_M

    > “It’s a bit like someone breaks the world record for running 100 metres and then in the next ten races people say, ‘Runners are getting slower’.”

    I love it when people explain such things in terms the masses can understand. There’s just too much misdirection among the climate change deniers (just like Creationists claim it “disproves” evolution when new facts about it are discovered).

    • Donald Ciesielski

      Oh yes, the climate and runners have so much in common to compare to each other

  • Denier_paid_by_Big_Oil

    Hmm, insurance companies making money off of the CAGW claim also. No wonder they’re against any skeptic.

  • derekcolman

    Mass hysteria is a well known phenomenon.

  • Shankar Sarkar

    Trevor Maynard has degrees in Mathematics and has worked in actuarial sciences [primarily statistical modeling] for the insurance industry, essentially a form of predictive risk management. He is not even minimally qualified in terms of education or professional knowledge/experience to open his mouth regarding any environmental issues, including climate change. His comments are convoluted gibberish and nothing substantive based on scientific reasoning. Lloyd’s is a large reputable insurance company but their in house expertise/basic understanding on “environmental” matters is woefully inadequate. The media in general, is significantly compounding the problem by providing a platform for such garbage and unfounded statements because of its sensationalism and selling power.
    Climate Change, Green House Gases, Green Technology, Carbon Footprint, Global Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility etc. have become buzz words in the past 5 – 7 years. Many with little knowledge are taking advantage of the largely uninitiated masses to posture and even propagate total lies and partial truths for their personal gains.
    I believe, “climate change” is real and has to be dealt with via serious energy conservation measures, new renewable energy technologies and even perhaps “safer” nuclear energy. There is reason for serious concern and we need to take action now.
    However, the studies on climate change are indeed very subjective and predictions are not based on sound, accurate science. It is the very nature of global meteorology which incorporates a great deal of “randomness”. There is real reason for skepticism as different camps are producing different studies and reports based on their vested interests. This fist fight is itself counter productive as it seriously hampers progress and implementation of real and effective initiatives.

  • brucehall

    Take a sine wave and begin measuring data from the bottom of the wave. That’s the global warming approach. Warming? Sure. Apocryphal? Hardly.

  • MchlMcPhillips

    The heat we produce rises to the top of the atmosphere and is drawn towards the poles because heat always goes from hot air to cold air. On reaching the poles it melts the ice and the ice cold water flows south cooling the surface of the oceans and the lands it touches.
    If temperatures are rising slower than before we are probably in a feedback loop; the more heat we produce, the more that reaches the poles, the more ice that melts, the more the surface of the oceans and touching lands cool.
    Looks like the beginning of the next ice age if we don’t stop.

  • http://churchofsmoke.org/ Jose

    If an insurance company can siphon money from a global warming surcharge, why would they question it?