Insurance and Climate Change column

NASA: U.S. Coastlines Could Experience a Foot of Sea Level Rise Within 30 Years

By | December 1, 2022
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Sea levels along U.S. coastlines could rise as much as 12 inches above today’s waterline by 2050, according to NASA researchers.

The results from the NASA Sea Level Change Team rely on measurements from a network of satellite altimeters along with tide gauge observations to produce trajectories of sea level rise along U.S. coastlines.

The team said that accelerating sea level rise found in satellite measurements from 1993 to 2020 indicates future sea level rise will be in the higher range of estimates for all regions, with trends along the U.S. Southeast and Gulf coasts substantially higher than for the Northeast and West coasts.

“A key takeaway is that sea level rise along the U.S. coast has continued to accelerate over the past three decades,” JPL’s Ben Hamlington, leader of the NASA Sea Level Change Team and a co-author the new study, said in a briefing from NASA summarizing the study. “We’ve been hearing from practitioners and planners along the coasts that they need more information on shorter timescales – looking not 70 or 80 years into the future, but looking 20 or 30 years into the future.”

Climate Sim

Climate simulator games may be the next big thing on the horizon to get more insurers more invested in the climate change battle.

InnSure, a nonprofit focused on catalyzing decisive insurance industry response to climate change, announced this week it is partnering with Climate Interactive on a “Climate Solution Simulator.”

The two groups will work to bring an EN-ROADS Climate Solution Simulator developed by MIT Sloan to the insurance industry with a program that includes workshops and role-playing games.

The interactive experience is designed to provide people with a way to test and explore various pathways to net zero emissions.

“Participants gain a much better understanding of climate change, the impacts, assumptions, and tradeoffs involved in transitioning to a low carbon economy,” an announcement on the partnership states.

InnSure is developing an “insurance overlay” intended to help participants conceptualize insurance innovation to address climate risk by offering a better understanding of climate system dynamics.

“Climate-related solutions will drive insurance industry innovation and growth over the coming decades,” the announcement states. “We estimate that growth in climate-related insurance products and services will present $100b+ in new business opportunities per year by 2030.”

Climate and Paintings

Activist attacks on the world’s most precious paintings are adding to insurers’ worries about climate change – specifically the attacks and the threat to art from climate change itself could lead to higher art insurance premiums.

Climate activists have recently drawn attention to the climate change cause and the use of fossil fuels in attacks on art that include throwing tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” in the National Gallery in London and a black liquid at Gustav Klimt’s “Death and Life” in the Leopold Museum in Vienna.

While the aforementioned pieces suffered only minor damage, many in the art and insurance world believe it may be only be a matter of time before art works are vandalized. Nearly 100 galleries in early November issued a statement saying the activists “severely underestimate the fragility of these irreplaceable objects,” Reuters is reporting in an article on Insurance Journal this week.

“At the moment it’s just climate change activists, who are mainly middle-class liberals and are not really intending to damage the work,” Robert Read, head of art and private client at insurer Hiscox, told Reuters. “What we worry about is if it spreads to other protest groups who are less genteel and will take a less caring attitude.”

Baltimore County

Government officials in Baltimore County, Maryland, are considering a new way to pay for the costs of climate change.

A vote is scheduled for the Baltimore County Council to consider establishing a resilience authority to help finance climate change-related projects.

The impacts of extreme weather on infrastructure from events such as flooding and excessive heat is already a mounting cost to the county, WYPR News is reporting.

According to the news report, the resilience authority would help pay for long-term climate change mitigation projects long term rather than relying on the county’s annual budget.

“We really need to think more holistically about how we can provide predictable revenue to do the kind of work we know is needed,” Jenn Aiosa, Baltimore County’s chief sustainability officer, told WYPR News.

The resilience authority mission would be to determine what infrastructure is at risk, and it would have to power to issue bonds, levy fees and pursue grants.

A vote on the matter is expected next week.

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