Climate change–A risk that must not be ignored

Presently the focus of the world is battling the coronavirus pandemic and the disruption it is causing in all aspects of life.  Surprisingly, most people are still unaware that climate change or global warming will be more devastating than the Covid-19.  This was reported in a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), stating that the world will not be able to avoid the disastrous impacts of climate change.  The report also concluded that humans have caused so much emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.  Examples are the recent record-breaking hurricanes in the United States and the heat waves in Europe. The Panel also predicted that the enormous ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica will continue to melt and global sea levels will continue to rise.

The IPCC experts project that in the coming decades, climate changes will increase in all regions and for 1.5°C of global warming, there will be increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons and shorter cold seasons.  At 2°C of global warming, heat extremes are more likely to reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health. But what is even more alarming is its impact on the production of water, which is vital for the farmers.

The series of climate disasters occurring are all the evidence we need to validate the warnings enumerated in the IPCC report, although some scientists deplore the fear mongering on climate change.  Nevertheless, unless governments take concerted action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement, the world will have to suffer the consequences.

The private sector should also help and this campaign being done by a number of banks and financial institutions that have refrained from financing the fossil-fuel industry.

On the part of the insurance industry, they have the support of the House of Representatives in requiring environmental insurance coverage for environmentally critical projects in order to protect the country’s ecology and natural resources.  Deputy Speaker Rodante D. Marcoleta authored the bill. It was approved by the House and forwarded to the Senate, which was then taken up as Senate Bill 2358 sponsored by Senator Bong Go. Under the measure when signed into law, owners and operators of projects that have high potential for significant negative environmental impact are required to secure mandatory environmental insurance to compensate for damages to health and property, environmental rehabilitation, remediation and clean up costs resulting from impairment or damage to resources triggered by the projects.

The author is a risk management consultant and Editor of Insurance Philippines magazine.

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