Insurance and Climate Change column

Warm 2016 May Help Put Climate Change on The Map – Even Higher That Is

By | December 23, 2015

If you think you heard a lot about climate change in 2015, wait till next year – or next week depending on how you want to look at it.

Next year may be on track to the be warmest year on record, according to the U.K.’s weather forecasting organization.

The global mean temperature for 2016 is expected to be between 0.72°C (1.29°F) and 0.96 °C (1.73°F) above the long-term (1961-1990) average of 14 °C (57.2°F), according to the Met Office annual global temperature forecast issued earlier on Dec. 17.

Professor Chris Folland, a Met Office research fellow, said in a statement that “2015 is on track to be the warmest year on record, and this forecast suggests 2016 is likely to be at least as warm, if not warmer.”

In fact, the outlook for 2016 is warmer than the Met Office’s forecast for 2015, which had a range of 0.52 °C (0.93°F) to 0.76 °C (1.36°F).

Manmade global warming combined with an impact from El Niño’s water-warming effect are integrated into the forecast, so there’s no indication that the 2016 outlook is suffering the wrath of global warming more so that this year.

Thanks to the bleak outlook for next year climate change made Fast Company’s list of “10 Issues That Will Shape The World In 2016.” There’s no particular order of issues indicated, but climate change is listed below “The Refugee Crisis,” which has hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence in Syria.

Other issues highlighted in the article by Fast Company Associate News Editor Rose Pastore may be of interest to the insurance industry.

One issue is “Data Security.” The article states that next year “cybersecurity will be an increasingly critical problem for companies, governments, and individuals.”

“Regulating Drones and Self-Driving Cars” is also on Fast Company’s list. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced it will require all drone owners register, while U.S. transportation secretary Anthony Foxx has promised changes to the nation’s policy on autonomous cars.

Finally, the article lists “Regulating The Sharing Economy” as another top 10 world-wide game changer, thanks to the likes of Uber and Airbnb. “Uber could soon be forced to classify its U.S. drivers as employees — a move that would upend its business model — and Airbnb is facing legal issues related to taxes and safety,” the article states.

See related Insurance Journal articles on some of these topics:

Like 2015, which brought myriad global meetings and summits to address climate change – culminating earlier this month with in the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties, AKA COP21 – there is no shortage of climate change meetings around the world already on tap for 2016.

One of the earliest events of the year is “Canada in the Post-2015 World: Outcomes of the Paris Climate Change Conference and the SDGs,” on Jan. 25 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

In April Mogens Lykketoft, president of the U.N. General Assembly, is set to convene a “thematic debate” on sustainable development, climate change and financing. The meeting at the U.N. headquarters in New York is titled: “UNGA High-level Thematic Debate: Implementing Commitments on Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Financing.”

“Climate Action 2016,” which was announced during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC, is expected to bring together government, business leaders and academia to discuss multi-stakeholder climate implementation in May at the University of Maryland.

And in November the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UNFCCC is expected to take place in November in Marrakech, Morocco.

The Climate Change Policy & Practice project has a detailed list of meetings scheduled for next year on topic for climate change.

If that’s not enough buzz for the topic, climate change is a practical shoo-in to be among the hottest topics in the 2016 presidential race.

Ballotpedia lists the views held by candidates on natural resources, including their views on climate change.

Much-talked about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has no qualms about his position on climate change, and in the past could be counted as a denier. In November he called comments by President Obama that climate change posed one of the greatest threats to the U.S. “one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard in politics.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been vocal in her support about addressing climate change. Following the signing of Paris Agreement adopted on Dec. 12, her campaign released the following statement: “I applaud President Obama, Secretary Kerry and our negotiating team for helping deliver a new, ambitious international climate agreement in Paris.”

To the left of Clinton, Bernie Sanders said the Paris agreement didn’t go far enough. Democrat Martin O’Malley has frequently talked about his “plan to power our country with 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2050,” while Republican Ben Carson said climate change should be treated with “the significance it deserves” but not as “the overarching driver of [his] policies.”

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