29 December 2008

Business versus Business

It's pretty obvious why companies in sectors like oil production should be denying so vehemently that their products are major contributors to climate change. It's also pretty clear why many other industries would prefer not to think about the externalities of their business models, and how much they take without replacing from the environmental commons. But there are a few non-green businesses that not only believe climate change and environmental degradation is happening, but that it is large scale - and already hugely expensive:

The past year has been one of the most devastating ever in terms of natural disasters, one of the world's biggest re-insurance companies has said.

Munich Re said the impact of the disasters was greater than in 2007 in both human and economic terms.

The company suggested climate change was boosting the destructive power of disasters like hurricanes and flooding.


"It is now very probable that the progressive warming of the atmosphere is due to the greenhouse gases emitted by human activity," said Prof Peter Hoppe, head of Munich Re's Geo Risks Research.

"The logic is clear: when temperatures increase there is more evaporation and the atmosphere has a greater capacity to absorb water vapour, with the result that its energy content is higher.

"The weather machine runs into top gear, bringing more intense severe weather events with corresponding effects in terms of losses."

The company said world leaders must put in place "effective and binding rules on CO2 emissions" to curb climate change and ensure that "future generations do not have to live with weather scenarios that are difficult to control".

"If we delay too long, it will be very costly for future generations," said Mr Jeworrek.

Not rabid greenies talking, but hard-headed representatives of a big business sector...

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