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Extreme weather events cost rising by 2% a year since ’70s


April 9, 2007   by Canadian Underwriter


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The financial costs of extreme weather events have been increasing by an average of two per cent a year since the 1970s, Dr. Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer of Risk Management Solutions (RMS), said in response to the chapter, The Summary for Policymakers in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes (IPCC) most recent report.
Dr. Muir-Wood served as a lead author on the Industry, Settlement and Society, chapter of the IPCC report, and noted that the summary for policymakers concluded that in many different ways climate change is already having an impact on human populations across all regions.
Our research has found that, even after changes in wealth, inflation and population are taken into account, the financial costs of extreme weather events has been increasing by an average of two per cent a year since the 1970s, he said in a statement.
As the summary stresses, these impacts and costs are likely to continue to rise.
He points to North America as an example, with the trend of increasing coastal development leading to higher risks and economic losses due to more severe storms and associated surges, coupled with higher sea levels.
In developed countries Muir-Wood suggests, there will be a greater need to respond to weather-related natural disasters, and government intervention will be more likely in the systems that provide economic support after disasters, such as insurance.