Tag Archives: WWF International

Copenhagen brain squeeze: Day 4

WWF-International released a study today ranking the cleantech market activities of countries around the world. The report predicts that by 2020 the cleantech industry will be worth $2.45 trillion, ranking as the third-largest global industry behind automobiles and electronics.

According to the 44-country ranking, measured by cleantech sales as a percentage of GDP, the Top 3 countries are Denmark, Brazil and Germany. China ranked sixth. The U.S. ranked 19th, just one position behind the United Kingdom. On the bottom half of the list are Australia, ranked 28th, and Canada, ranked 31st. Keith Stewart at WWF said the results come as a warning to Canada. “This report shows that Canada is far behind countries like the U.S. and China in investing in green technologies, in real and relative terms,” he said. “You can be sure the Chinese economy will not sit still while we sit on our hands.”

Stewart said it doesn’t help that come the end of January 2010 a Canadian federal incentive program designed to promote renewable energy development will run out of budgeted funds. While there is talk of re-charging the fund next year there is still likely to be a major funding gap, creating the kind of bust-boom cycle that once held back the U.S. wind and solar markets. Have we not learned from past mistakes?

What the insurance industry thinks about climate change and sea level rise, and it’s not pretty

WWF International and insurance giant Allianz have released a report called “Major Tipping Points in the Earth’s Climate System and Consequences for the Insurance Sector.” I find reports from the insurance industry quite informative because nobody knows risk better than the people who stand to lose a lot of money from those very risks.

A few high-level takeaways from this analysis:

  • A global sea level rise of 0.5 m by 2050 is estimated to increase the value of assets exposed in all 136 port megacities worldwide by a total of $US 25.158 trillion to $US $28.213 trillion in 2050.
  • The impact of an additional 0.15 m of sea-level rise affecting the NE Coast of the U.S. as a result of the localized SLR anomaly means that the following port megacities may experience a total sea level rise of 0.65 m by 2050: Baltimore, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Providence… 0.65 m of SLR is estimated to increase asset exposure from a current estimated $US 1.359 trillion to $US 7.425 trillion. The additional asset exposure from the regional anomaly alone (i.e. 0.65 versus 0.5 m) is approximately $US 298 billion (across the above mentioned cities alone).

The critical issue, according to the report, “is the impact that a hurricane in the New York region would have. Potentially the cost could be $1 trillion at present, rising to over $5 trillion by mid-century.” This is all based on a tipping-point scenario where we see the Greenland Ice Shield and West Antarctic Ice Shield melt away. More takeaways:

  • The annual damages caused by wildfires, mostly in the U.S. southwest, could be tenfold compared to today’s costs and could reach up to $US 2.5 billion per year by 2050 increasing to up to 14 billion by 2085.
  • 70 percent of working population may be put at risk by droughts in India.

Specifically related to Canada, a 0.5 m sea level rise would put an additional $209 billion (Canadian) worth of assets at risk — from $63 billion today to $272 billion by 2050.  “No bank will give you a mortgage if you don’t have insurance, yet Canada still lacks a plan to manage the risk from dangerous climate change,” said Keith Stewart of WWF Canada.

The latest signs of declining ice cover around the world? How about Continue reading What the insurance industry thinks about climate change and sea level rise, and it’s not pretty