Foreign Policy Blogs

Global Warming's Costs, Wind Power, and U.S. Law

Insurance Losses , I've written about the insurance industry's concerns about climate change several times before , see "Insurance Industry" here for instance.  See also the webpage on climate change for Lloyd's of London.

Here's an article from "Forbes" that hits the point home further.  "Natural disasters wrought by climate change have a staggering price tag, and it's growing."  The story cites a report from Munich Re, the world's second-largest reinsurer. They have a comprehensive accounting of the past year and losses internationally.  In their release, Munich Re quotes one of their board members:  "All the facts indicate that losses caused by weather-related natural catastrophes will continue to rise. As a leading reinsurer, we are ready to deal with this. Ultimately, however, it is society as a whole which bears the cost , in the form of higher insurance premiums or infrastructure repairs financed by taxes. That is why speedy international action is needed. In addition, climate protection can bring huge economic opportunities, thanks to new technologies and increased energy efficiency." Opportunity , that's a word that I continue to love.

Important fact to remember:  You don't get more hard-nosed when it comes to the bottom line than these folks.  It doesn't hurt to keep the bottom line in mind while we keep pushing for progress.

Wind Power , Here are two reports worth noting, the first echoing what I reported about China's burgeoning renewables manufacturing sector in the last post below.  The head of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) told Reuters here:  "We'd expect that the domestic Chinese manufacturers will have an annual production capacity of about 10 gigawatts per year…by the end of 2009." 

Meanwhile, German Company to Build Massive Wind Farm in Australia is the story from the German news service "DW-World."  This complex will "generate enough electricity for 400,000 homes and save greenhouse gas emissions of three million tons of carbon dioxide annually." 

Global Climate Change and U.S. Law , That's the title of a new book from the American Bar Assn.  The book "provides comprehensive coverage of the country's law as it relates to global climate change."  It's edited by Michael Gerrard, one of the most knowledgeable and experienced environmental lawyers in the country.  Here's a blurb from Bruce Babbitt, former governor of Arizona, Interior Secretary under President Clinton, and a candidate for President himself in 1988.  (I had the chance to work on that campaign and, let me tell you, he would've been a fantastic President.)  But Babbitt's review of the book:  "Creative legal engineering will be needed to address this problem. This book, written by many of the country's leading environmental scholars and practitioners, provides an invaluable start on this process. It's a must read for any serious lawyer or policymaker in the field."  Go here at the ABA website for much more information about the book. 

Meanwhile, LexisNexis has opened an impressive Environmental Law & Climate Change Center.  There's a very well done webinar available on "Evaluating Global Warming Impacts under NEPA and State Environmental Review Statutes," lots of news items, and a cornucopia of resources on environmental law.



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change