Insurance and Climate Change column

NYT Piece Calls out ‘Summer of Climate Disasters’

By | September 8, 2022
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Insurance professionals in the alternative energies sector may want to take note of a recent Bloomberg opinion piece that focuses on supply chain and supply chain risks due to rising energy costs.

It calls 2022 “a blockbuster year for energy transition,” especially for solar.

“Installations will rise at the fastest pace in nearly a decade to hit 250 gigawatts this year, Shanghai-based JinkoSolar Holding Co., the second-biggest module producer, told investors last month, and then jump as much as 30% next year,” the piece by David Fickling out this week states.

This uptick in the promise of alternative energies comes in the face of rising commodity prices. European natural gas is almost 18 times more expensive than this time in 2019, while the “solar boom of the past two decades has left the world” with more green energy supplies, he asserts.

Fickling writes that “the likeliest outcome” of green energy capacity building will lead to plummeting prices of a key raw material for solar, and while electricity consumers will always gravitate to the cheapest technology, which has been traditionally been powered by hydrocarbons, “the solar industry is betting that race has already been won.”

Climate Summer

Climate change is making extreme weather “increasingly normal,” states a New York Times article out this week.

“Heat waves in the U.S., wildfires in Europe, floods in Asia: This summer has shown how the climate crisis has made extreme weather a part of everyday life,” writes the NYT reporter German Lopez.

He calls out the flooding in Pakistan (for more on that, see the next item in this column), and spoke to an expert about the possible tie-in between the floods and climate change. While they can’t be tied together with certainty, climate is the most likely contributor, according to experts he spoke with.

“These off-the-charts events are going to happen more often, and this is just one of those examples,” Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at the Woodwell Climate Research Center, told the newspaper.

The article calls out other climate disasters this summer, including the heat wave on the West Coast, a heat wave and drought in China, and a heat wave in Europe that sent temperature in Britain to a record 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pakistan Flooding

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited some of the flood-stricken areas that cover as much as one third of the nation and said some parts of his nation seemed “like a sea.”

Officials estimate as many as 33 million people were affected in a disaster that is being blamed on climate change that has left hundreds of thousands homeless and caused losses of at least $10 billion, according to a Reuters article on Insurance Journal this week.

The government has increased cash handouts for flood victims to 70 billion Pakistani rupees ($313.90 million), it will buy 200,000 tents to house displaced families, and the United Nations has called for $160 million in aid to help the flood victims, Reuters reported.

The raging waters have swept away 1.6 million houses, 3,564 miles of transport links, 750,000 head of livestock, and swamped more than 2 million acres of farmland, the Reuters article states.

“You wouldn’t believe the scale of destruction there,” Sharif told media after a visit to the southern province of Sindh. “It is water everywhere as far as you could see. It is just like a sea.”

Newsom on Heat

California Gov. Gavin Newsom told the media this week that “all of our models have been thrown out” when it comes to climate change.

“We’ve never seen this kind of extreme heat for this extended period of time,” Newsom said during the Code Conference in Beverly Hills. “And so we have thrown all of the old books and rules and regulations out, and we are moving in a completely different mindset in order to stay a step ahead of Mother Nature.

The website CNBC reported on Newsom’s comments, which included noting that the high heat is stressing the energy system at peak times. He said the state must improve efforts to deal with climate change.

He also took aim at the problems Texas has had with its energy system, which he said is more willing to rely on fossil fuels, the website reported.

“I’m not interested in the death spiral that states like Texas are,” Newsom said. “They’re doubling down on stupid.”

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