In a move that could spark the biggest waste of time and money since the federal government’s $787 billion stimu-pork package, the
“Climate change will have huge impacts on the insurance industry and we need better information on how insurers are responding to the challenge,” says Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario, who chairs the NAIC Climate Change and Global Warming Task Force.
And just what are those impacts? According to climate change proponents, major increases in the Earth’s temperature and carbon dioxide levels will result in such disasters as major cities being flooded by rising oceans due to catastrophic arctic ice melting. There are also projected negative impacts on the planet’s food supply and poverty level from fires, floods and droughts. For awhile, they were also saying that it would also mean more hurricanes—and thus more property damage—but that seems to have been debunked by recent statements from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and others in the scientific community.
All this fear is based on computer models created by climatologists and other interested parties, and computers—as we all know—never make mistakes. Unfortunately, the people who put the information into computers and then interpret results are prone to make mistakes—driven, perhaps, by greed or political correctness.
Then there are those in the media who want to bring you and me the most exciting and entertaining stories possible. These media gleefully told us of dangerous melting ice packs in Greenland and Antarctica that would precipitously raise sea levels. According to Climate of Extremes, a new (2009) book from the Cato Institute, however, the latest actual measurements “indicate an extremely small contribution of Greenland and Antarctica to sea-level rise, with little evidence for any marked change in the past decade.” In reference to Antarctica, the authors state that “it definitely hasn’t warmed up down there,” adding that temperatures in Greenland were “warmer for decades in the early 20th Century, and for millennia after the end of the last ice age” with no apparent catastrophic effect.
But what about the fact that the Earth’s temperature is rising? The Climate of Extremes authors don’t take issue with that idea, but they do emphasize that both the rate of increase and the resulting fear are overblown. While the infamous Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a 2.5 to 10.4-degree (F) temperature rise from 1990 to 2100, the authors point out that the actual observed rate of warming is very close to the lowest end of the IPCC range. The predicted rate of warming, they observe, is clearly higher than the observed rate.
As to the role of carbon dioxide as a primary climate change culprit, the authors note that carbon dioxide levels and the small increases in mean temperature have not increased together at a constant rate, indicating that there is more than one factor at work. Again, they point out that climate models are predicting too high a rate of temperature increase in comparison with real-world data, and that the sensitivity of climate to carbon dioxide may have been “overestimated.”
“The world is not coming to an end because of global warming,” the authors—both distinguished climatologists—emphasize. “Further, we don’t really have the means to significantly alter the temperature trajectory of the planet.”
Maybe you think this is just a political put-up job generated by the “vast, right-wing conspiracy” as imagined by Hillary Clinton and others. Think again. Freeman Dyson, “a revered scientist, liberal intellectual, problem solver” also believes that “all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated,” according to The New York Times Magazine (March 29, 2009). The Times describes Dyson as “an Obama-loving, Bush-loathing liberal,” yet he has held his ground on climate change despite vicious criticism from environmentalists and other liberals. One thing is for sure, though: The Times knows a liberal when it sees one.
That brings us back to the NAIC, which has decided to create a three-ring circus around what looks to be a 2.5-degree average temperature increase over the next 91 years. Does it make sense to drum up fear and require insurers to spend untold sums of money on what is shaping up to be a tempest in a teapot?
I would suggest that the NAIC leave insurers to the business of providing insurance and stop trying to force shaky science or political correctness down their throats—and ours.
Ara C. Trembly (www.aratremblytechnology.com) is the founder of Ara Trembly, The Technology Consultant and a longtime observer of technology in insurance and financial services. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.
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