Costs piling up

Published: Thursday 15 April 2004

Annual economic losses due to natural disasters exacerbated by global warming may double to US $150 billion in a decade. A report brought out by insurance major Swiss Re states that insurers will have to bear claims worth us $30-40 billion over the next 10 years, which is equivalent to one World Trade Center attack each year.

"There 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," notes the report. Over the past 30 years, there has been an immense rise in losses to insurers from environmental events, and they are likely to increase at a faster rate, warns Swiss Re climate expert Pamela Heck.

In another recognition of the destructive potential of global warming, power behemoths American Electric Power and Cinergy will now make public their plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Under pressure from shareholders, the us companies have decided to report on impacts of their policy scenarios as well as responses to them.

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