- Global warming will bankrupt the world by 2065, when
the cost of the damage caused will exceed the value of all the world's
resources, an insurance expert said yesterday.
- At current projections, damage
to property will then
be greater than the world's annual GDP, Andrew
Dlugolecki told the international
climate conference in the Dutch
- Dr Dlugolecki, a Scot who is a director of CGNU, one
world's six biggest insurance groups, and also an adviser to the
Nations environment programme, made his prediction in a briefing
the insurance industry would respond to climate change.
- "Climate change
will have an effect, our studies
show us, in new areas and new
intensities, and we know in insurance that
new intensities can produce
accelerating damage at an exponential rate,"
he said. "A 10
per cent increase in wind speed can increase damage
by 150 per cent, so
that is why I feel so uncomfortable about people who
say, 'Let's wait
and see what happens', because once it begins,it will
happen at a very,
very frightening pace."
- Property damage was already rising by 10 per cent a
"The bad news is that most of that is not yet due to climate
it is produced by the fact that we are living in an
even before climate change begins to have an
effect." Insurance was
not the answer to global warming, but part
of the answer, he said. "It
has to be integrated with a
sustainable society where governments and communities
responsibility for the way they behave.
- "Insurers would try to
continue to offer cover,
but there would be conditions," he said.
"Where there is repeated
damage with no evidence that anything is
going to be done to stop it, we
will not give cover. Where the risk of
damage increases but is not certain,
we will probably continue cover,
but with changes in the coverage. Yes,
we will insure property, but
only if it is protected by physical measures.
In general we wish to
continue cover, but only where we are part of the
- New sources of capital would have to be developed, he
because "already we're beginning to run out of money in the
- The Kyoto protocol, the climate treaty the conference
is trying to finalise, was only a "tactical" solution, he said,
and a much more fundamental answer was needed, with the world moving to
dependence on renewable energy.
- "At the current rate of growth of damage of 10 per
cent a year, we will actually exceed the world's GDP growth of 3 per cent
a year by the year 2065. That shows you how serious it is. By 2065, the
damage curve will cross over the GDP curve."
- Bob Watson, chairman of the
Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change, the UN's body of 3,000
scientists who are assessing global
warming, said in the same briefing
that "potentially tens of millions
of people" would be
displaced by sea-level rise. If carbon-dioxide
levels in the atmosphere
doubled over the next 70 years, he said, because
of the sea's slow
response time, sea-level rise would continue, not for
10, not 100 but
for more than 1,000 years. "Who are the most vulnerable?"
said. "No question: poor people in developing countries. But still
there is no doubt that Europe will be affected, as will North America.
Climate change is already occurring."
- A woman delegate from a small
group of Pacific islands
told the conference how her homeland was
already being hit by rising temperatures
and seas. Youlsau Bells, from
Palau, a chain of 200 islands in Micronesia,
said causeways connecting
the seven inhabited islands, which had always
been dry, were now
covered half the time. Three islands holding 7,000 people
were now just
above sea-level, she said, and might have to be evacuated.
- Al Binger from
Jamaica, said: "Our survival depends
on cuts in greenhouse gases,
and currently the trends are all the wrong
way. Our needs and fears are
being ignored. Our people have no place to
- * Flood warnings remained
in place across England and Wales last
night after storms dumped an inch
of rain on saturated land and swollen
rivers. The Environment Agency said
further heavy rain at the weekend
could bring water levels back to crisis
point as the country became
locked in a winter cycle of almost constant
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