President Barack Obama tours Kenai Fjords National Park by boat in Alaska, Sept. 1, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Denali is seen from a window on Air Force One during descent into Anchorage, Alaska, Aug. 31, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Global warming is a fact that can’t be denied. The globe is getting warmer from CO2 emissions. Yet many people, including intelligent people, can’t bring themselves to admit this. How can people have such cognitive dissonace over this issue? The effects of global climate change can be seen in many places none more so than Alaska.
The New York Times 9.3.15
“Residents of a Native village threatened by erosion were thankful for President Barack Obama’s attention to their plight, saying they hope his visit to Alaska will help them secure funding to build a critical evacuation road to drier ground.”
SAID PRESIDENT OBAMA: “For many of those Alaskans, it’s no longer a question of if they are going to relocate, but when,” Obama said. “Think about that. If another country tried to do wipe out an entire town, we’d do everything in our power to protect it.”
“Erosion is only part of the impact of climate change, which is accelerating in the Arctic. Villagers say the migrations of animals they rely on for much of their diet, such as bearded seal and caribou, have become unpredictable and is taking place far earlier. That is forcing residents to travel farther to hunt.
For the past few years, the caribou that used to show up by the thousands near the village have all but disappeared.
Also, the ice that protects the shores from storm surges is forming later and melting earlier, allowing stronger storms to lash out at the eroding coastline.”
You might think this is a statement from Greenpeace or the Environmental Defense Fund or some other liberal environmental group. It isn’t. It is from a report issued eight years ago on 17 July 2002 by the global re-insurance company: Swiss Re.
Most of us don’t know much about re-insurance companies. That’s because they don’t do business with individuals or even with most corporations. With certain exceptions, reinsurance companies deal only with property and casualty insurance companies. P & C firms are the companies which insure industrial and commercial properties, homes, automobiles, etc for loss of property and injury or loss of life on that property.
A common example of the second is this: you are driving a car with several passengers. You get hit by another car and your passengers are injured, that is, they become casualties. This doesn’t mean necessarily that they are dead. It means they are either dead or injured. Your auto insurance policy, which is issued by a property and casualty company, not only insures your car so you can get it fixed, it insures the people who become casualties while in your vehicle. Property and casualty companies take on enormous risks and they lay off part of that risk on re-insurers who are, in essence, companies which offer insurance to insurance companies.
Re-insurance companies are run by bottom-line oriented business people with a keen eye and a sharp pencil. Assessing risk is their business and they are quite good at it. They have to be or they would go bankrupt. They don’t look at global warming or global climate change as good or bad, liberal or conservative, moral or immoral. They simply look at what is occurring through a detailed examination of statistics of every kind. Only by doing this can they price their insurance in a way to make it profitable and protect themselves from unknown risks.
Two of the largest re-insurers are Swiss Re and Munich Re. The first company is Swiss, the second one is German. One would be hard pressed to characterize either the Swiss or the Germans as alarmists.
Says Munich Re on their website now, October of 2010:
The fact of global warming has somehow become a political issue. This is unfortunate. I look at many things from a business perspective since I spent twenty years in the financial services industry. I have also worked as a contract employee for the Commercial Real Estate Division of Energy Star. (Energy Star is a public/private partnership focused on energy efficiency. The program was begun during the administration of President George H.W. Bush).
There are so many people with various agendas shouting about global warming it is hard to know what the facts actually are. I respectfully suggest, therefore, that if you want hard facts on global warming from unsentimental business people, then follow the links in this post and read for yourself the reports on climate change from the re-insurance companies.