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Saturday 01st of November 2014
November 28, 2011

Global warming 2°C target “no longer attainable”

by Gill Montia

Story link: Global warming 2°C target “no longer attainable”

Munich Re reckons hopes of a successful conclusion to the world climate summit, which starts today in Durban, South Africa, are “extremely slim”.

Progress may be achieved in the second negotiating track, i.e. adaptation aid for the countries worst hit by climate change.

However, after the collapse of negotiations in Copenhagen two years’ ago, global warming issues would appear to be doomed to further failure in Durban, meaning the Kyoto Protocol will expire with no follow-up agreement.

Munich Re argues that the 2°C target that scientists consider the maximum for containing global warming within manageable limits is virtually no longer attainable.

The firm has been analysing climate change for nearly forty years and its database of natural catastrophes worldwide shows the number of registered loss occurrences from extreme weather increasing almost threefold since 1980.

The number of flood loss events has gone up by a factor of more than three and the number of windstorm natural catastrophes has more than doubled.

Whereas the increasing losses are primarily due to socio-economic developments (population growth, rising values, settlement patterns), the data probably cannot be fully explained without climate change, especially as the number of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other geophysical events have only increased slightly.

Professor Peter Höppe, Head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research, comments: “It’s as if the weather machine had shifted up a gear.

“We believe that we can already see this in retrospect in our last 30 years’ data for some regions, although the most severe impacts of global warming are still to come.”

More positively, Munich Re does not believe a further failure at the Durban summit would spell the end of climate protection, as countries and companies increasingly see switching to renewable energy as a prime task.

They also increasingly understand the financial opportunities this presents.

The firm explains: “The changeover to renewables will be given strong backing in the next few years by the market and technical progress but this massive challenge can only be overcome if a core group of nations that have already set their climate goals now take the lead and concentrate their efforts on promoting renewable energy.”

 

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