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Insurance Industry Looking Hard At Climate Change

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the letting-the-market-decide dept.

Businesses 156

A recent paper in Science (abstract) examines the insurance industry's reaction to climate change. The industry rakes in trillions of dollars in revenues every year, and a shifting climate would have the potential to drastically cut into the profits left over after settlements have been paid. Hurricane Sandy alone did about $80 billion worth of damage to New York and New Jersey. With incredible amounts of money at stake, the industry is taking climate projections quite seriously. From the article: "Many insurers are using climate science to better quantify and diversify their exposure, more accurately price and communicate risk, and target adaptation and loss-prevention efforts. They also analyze their extensive databases of historical weather- and climate-related losses, for both large- and small-scale events. But insurance modeling is a distinct discipline. Unlike climate models, insurers’ models extrapolate historical data rather than simulate the climate system, and they require outputs at finer scales and shorter time frames than climate models."

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In short (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42389765)

Charge you a lot more.

Externalities come home to roost (4, Insightful)

presidenteloco (659168) | about 2 years ago | (#42389925)

Global warming has already been forecast http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stern_Review [wikipedia.org] to cost much more than slowing it down/preventing it would cost.

I guess those externalities in economic models (and fossil-fuel price and fossil-fuel-based product prices) weren't so external after all.

Who would have guessed that the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment?

Re:Externalities come home to roost (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390153)

Who would have guessed that the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment?

Darwin?

Feynman coming home to roost (5, Insightful)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#42390249)

The CAGW graphs from models have repeatedly failed to predict current temperature trends, and others, like global methane in the atomosphere. Data has been repeatedly unused, misused and misreported in CAGW pal reviewed "literature". CAGW is a scam and pseudoscience. Go listen to Feynman about missed predictions. Get over it.

Re:Feynman coming home to roost (5, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 2 years ago | (#42391177)

Dude here is what you don't get. The insurance industry does not give a rats ass on the foaming mouths of those who are for or against climate change. The only thing that the insurance industry cares about is making money. Let's say that California is in an earthquake zone, which it is, the insurance company says, "hey guess what you are going to pay more for earth quake insurance." When the big one hits they really don't care because they should have covered their butts.

This is why if some hurricane were to flatten New York the only question that the insurance industry will ask is, "how much money will we make or NOT?" Thus by seeing that climate change is starting to hurt their pocket books you can be sure as American Greenbacks being green that they will begin to pay attention and charge you more for insurance.

Re:Feynman coming home to roost (2)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#42391297)

Dude what you don't get is that insurance companies like to overcharge on premiums and to not pay claims. Perhaps in an ideal world what you say is true, but this isn't your ideal world/model. More regulations create lots of opportunities. Climate change predicted fatter tail means excuses for higher premiums. Climate change = force majeure on old policies, like not pay as much, or cancellation?

Excessive hurricane insurance claims where I grew up had more to do with poor building codes, muckheads developing houses out to the tide lines, and inflation tripling the replacement costs.

Re:Feynman coming home to roost (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#42391439)

What you don't get apparently is those 'regulations' are there for your protection. So that when an 'big event' happens you don't just have mom & pop insurance companies who go out of business and leave you hanging. The Gov't regulates insurance companies so they can pay out even beyond worse case scenarios.

It's why we SHOULD have had more regulation on wall street to cover the financial meltdown but didn't, so we got the meltdown. Regulation does increase prices - because we actually want them to be able to handle the worse case scenarios.

Feynman died 25 years ago (2)

sam_vilain (33533) | about 2 years ago | (#42391771)

It was probably a valid critique of the contemporary model predictions of the time [aip.org] . Hansen was really the first to do a good job, first in 1981 [realclimate.org] and later in 1988 [skepticalscience.com] (links are to reviews of those predictions, with empirical observations conveniently overlaid).

good job? Hardly (1)

jarek (2469) | about 2 years ago | (#42392577)

pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/is-jim-hansens-global-temperature-skillful-guest-weblog-by-john-christy/

Re:Feynman coming home to roost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391991)

You might actually read the Feynman talk in 1974 about cargo-cult science you refer to. In the 1974 talk at CalTech he was talking about PHYSICS, specifically the Milliken oil drop experiment. As far climate model prediction accuracy rather than listen to the likes of Tony Watts, Pat Michaels, John Christy, Christopher Monckton, you might actually try comparing the results of climate models to observed data. www.pcmdi.llnl.gov and www.ncdc.noaa.gov are good starting points because you can download the source code and the output of just about every climate model in existence as well as the raw observed data to compare the results. Before you say the data has been contaminated, note that the Koch industries funded BEST project said that the temperature trends reported by NASA, NOAA and CRU UNDER ESTIMATED THE OBSERVED TEMPERATURE TRENDS

Re:Feynman coming home to roost (1)

KeensMustard (655606) | about 2 years ago | (#42392641)

You are right to some extent. The current decadal temperature trending is higher than the models predicted, and although you have a right to be concerned about that and to call it out, due to the danger it poses, this discrepancy it is entirely due to assumptions made about the amount of CO2 emissions. Even the worst case scenarios didn't see us pumping out the amount of CO2 which we are pumping out at the moment. Hence the temperature is rising faster than the models predicted.

So in other words, it's not a problem with the models, or with the peer review process. It is a problem with humans who know the danger and do nothing about it.

Re:Externalities come home to roost (3, Interesting)

CODiNE (27417) | about 2 years ago | (#42390563)

The thing is, it's not about overall cost to prevent vs to allow. It's about which is more predictable and easier to be profited from.

Tanking a well run company is a tremendous profit for those in the know, and turning things around at the right time doubly so.

A war is extremely expensive and wasteful, but extremely profitable to those well positioned.

Bubbles are manufactured, the follow predictable patterns and allow profits on the upside and the downside.

Allowing these things to happen is just another example of privatizing profit and socializing losses.

The real question is, how many deniers are secretly believers?

Re:Externalities come home to roost (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#42391441)

Bubbles are manufactured, the follow predictable patterns and allow profits on the upside and the downside.

Indeed they are, usually in the ABSENCE of rigorous regulation of the industry in question. More regulations mean less ability to fudge the numbers and create said bubble.

Of course too much regulation isn't good either, but as we saw in the financial meltdown, sometimes less is definitely not more.

Re:Externalities come home to roost (-1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#42391513)

The real question is, how many deniers are secretly believers?

That's not a question it's a definition!
They are called deniers because they are denying what they know to be true, it used to be called "lying". The rest are either plain old wrong, intellectually incurious, or politically distracted. In the case of AGW deniers the last category is a large (but shrinking) army of "useful idiots" who's facts and opinion are fed to them by K street lobbyists such as the Heartland Institute (the deniers) and their dwindling number of friends in the press.
Thing is, a paltry $50 million has been spent over 20yrs by FF companies on these anti-science, anti-intellectual, amoral, propaganda mills but it has bought them the "hearts and minds" of a large chunk of the American public. $50M for getting that many people to vote against their own interests is dirt cheap by anyone standards and it was made possible by a free press where advertising revenue is valued more than content. It's not solely the US media that whores it's opinion pages but that's where it's most obvious and that's where most of the money comes from. Political hacks in other countries (such as Andrew Bolt here in Oz) feed off the material produced by the US lobbyists to push the political agenda of their own sponsors (eg: World's richest woman in the case of Bolt).

Not all FF companies fund this kind of activity, in fact it's now more or less limited to some companies in the coal industry (note Exxon has large coal investments). Most of these companies have a "colourfull billionaire" running the show, the really big FF companies (GE, SHELL, BHP, BP, Ri-Tinto, ect) of the world accept things must change and are looking for a long term predictable legislative path from governments, ie: they want long term stability, a predictable ROI of 10-15% that will attract retirement fund managers to their stock. The "colourfull billionaire" is mainly focused on their personal legacy which is generally measured by the pile of assets they left multiplied by the pile they gave to charity while alive.

Colourfull billionaires are far from stupid (or evil) but like their political counterparts [wikipedia.org] they do and say the most outrageous things out of pure self-interest, so I would have to put them in the denier category along with the lobbyists that feed off them and the politicians riding in their back pocket. Why else would anyone sponsor an Australian speaking tour by Lord Monckton?

Re:Externalities come home to roost (2)

R80_JR (1094843) | about 2 years ago | (#42391061)

Who might have guessed that climate change is what forced humans to become human. http://phys.org/news/2012-12-fluctuating-environment-driven-human-evolution.html [phys.org] And there's no denying that humankind has prospered in the 20K years of (more or less) continuous warming since the last glacial maximum.

Re:Externalities come home to roost (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#42391537)

Some would say we should already be heading into the next ice age. And yet we're overcoming that cooling trend with AGW.

It would be quite the irony if we ended up 'needing' the coal plants to keep us from freezing ;-) Though it seems we aren't quite at the point just yet.

Re:Externalities come home to roost (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#42391557)

The problem is that our modern industrial society largely formed in the last 200 years or so, while the climate was relatively constant. At the same time, we've grown our population at insane rate, and clustered most of it tightly packed in narrow areas. Something that has the potential to significantly upset the balance (land and water availability, food supply etc) in those areas can seriously fuck our merry life up. Not to the point of extinction, mind you, but definitely not something we can easily fix on a whim.

Re:In short (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#42391095)

Of course they will charge you more, they're a business not the Red Cross, if they go out of business nobody gets paid.

The odd thing here is that people think TFA is news, insurance companies have been including climate change into their risk calculations for at least a decade now (spurred by the 1997 IPCC reports). Insurance companies think long term, a large building can be expected to last a century or more, if "once in a century" floods start appearing once every decade, they will watch the trends and adjust the rates accordingly.

Re:In short (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#42391561)

Insurance companies and the military think long term ;-)

You'd think the right-wing pro military would think it was something important (ala the 'green fleet initiative'), but no they say it's political pressure on the military :)

Lots of money... (2)

vikingpower (768921) | about 2 years ago | (#42389767)

...to be made for programmers ! Let's go and rake in some of that....

Re:Lots of money... (3, Insightful)

pseudonymnal (1963912) | about 2 years ago | (#42390589)

You mean actuaries, and they are.

Lots of technical use cases... (2)

vikingpower (768921) | about 2 years ago | (#42389777)

...for APL. Ha !!

The insurance industry (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42389797)

as well as the banking industry are corrupt and need to go away.

Re:The insurance industry (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#42391567)

never had a natural disaster have you?

Who knew... (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#42389885)

God forbid someone actually get some actual benefit from their insurance...

Re:Who knew... (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#42390429)

Wait, what? That's how insurance works? I always thought we were just giving them money out of the goodness of our hearts. Charity, if you will.

Re:Who knew... (4, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 years ago | (#42390749)

Of course in a most twisted way they could prove useful. Those pollution producing corporations are becoming a bit too much of a profit burden, which would be cheaper, eliminating them or paying out of the damage they are generating. When targeting the cause is order of magnitude cheaper than paying for the damage. Strange things can happen out there in corporate wars lobbyists land. Politically you can already see distinct corporate alignments forming, copyright versus technology, financial versus energy (only certain forms) and, development versus military. How violent will the corporate wars become?

Re:Who knew... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#42392135)

Those pollution producing corporations are becoming a bit too much of a profit burden, which would be cheaper, eliminating them or paying out of the damage they are generating.

There's another option: raise insurance premiums on everyone and continue making profits.

We're all going to pay the costs of climate change one way or another, the only question is whether the money spent will be to prevent disasters or to clean up after them.
So far, we've been content to keep paying megabucks to clean up after disasters, since there is no political will to force through even more expensive solutions.

Re:Who knew... (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42390853)

Honestly, I'd rather NEVER have to use my insurance, any of it.

Re:Who knew... (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#42391317)

Honestly, I'd rather NEVER have to use my insurance, any of it.

Yes, but when you do need to make a claim - after perhaps years of paying a lot of cash over time - wouldn't it be nice not to have your claim initially rejected out of hand? Wouldn't it be nice *NOT* to have to hire an attorney to get your insurance pay-out?

Re:Who knew... (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#42391573)

Would you rather your insurance company just hand out cash willy nilly? Such that when you ask they say 'sorry we're broke'.

Oh wait 'your' emergency is somehow obvious and more important than everybody elses?

Re:Who knew... (5, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#42391789)

Would you rather your insurance company just hand out cash willy nilly?

Mo, of course not. But guess what? Insurance companies hire these people call - get this - Insurance Adjusters, who are - get this - "professionals" at evaluating claims.

But you know what? Most of them only look for reasons *NOT* to pay out on legitimate claims.

Oh wait 'your' emergency is somehow obvious and more important than everybody elses?

What an angry ignorant statement.

My claim is no more or less important than any other legitimate claim. Perhaps you need to look into how insurance companies deny legitimate claims?

Or perhaps you are one of these assholes that insurance companies hire to bullshit people out of making legitimate claims?

We're not talking about "entitlements" here, we're talking about paying for a service and not getting it.

But please, fuck off.

Re:Who knew... (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#42391879)

we're talking about paying for a service and not getting it.

No you're complaining that a company charged with paying for tragedy...in an industry that is rife with fraud....denied your claim, that you paid for.

You're still arguing 'your' situation obviously merits response over others.

Re: Who knew... (1)

Eskarel (565631) | about 2 years ago | (#42392197)

Your insurance company should pay out any time you meet the requirements if your policy, however stupid they've made the terms. Insurance is a bit like a casino, sometimes three house pays out sometimes it doesn't and they set the games up so the house always wins, buy they still write the check when you win. Having your insurance company act like a company that the world wouldn't be better off without costs bigger premiums if course and it involves idiots not getting all huffy because they never use their insurance, but it can be done.

Re: Who knew... (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#42392343)

Insurance is a bit like a casino

Without a doubt insurance is legalized gambling. The OP is just complaining because he bet and lost....

Death throes of climate alarmism (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42389911)

We've had a bunch of climate related stories on /. lately. My theory is that when IPCC AR5 comes out officially, the jig will be up. The alarmists are having to make hay while they still can.

For the blessed few who haven't been following the climate wars, IPCC AR5 is the United Nations latest report on global warming. It has several important findings including that shown in Figure 1.4 . The global climate has warmed less than all the IPCC's previous projections. They also conclude that the global temperature will warm about an additional degree in the 21st century. Dry places will get slightly drier. Wet places will get slightly wetter. Extreme weather events will not be more extreme or more frequent. Catastrophic anthropogenic global warming has been cancelled.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/14/the-real-ipcc-ar5-draft-bombshell-plus-a-poll/ [wattsupwiththat.com]

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (0, Troll)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#42390061)

Nice try, but anyone who reads the actual report rather than the biased climate-sceptic web site you linked to will see that things still look pretty bad for a lot of people in the world. Of course the report is still a couple of years away from release so we don't know exactly what the final conclusions will be.

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390357)

Where are YOUR facts? You provide even LESS than the "parent".

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#42391579)

Perhaps he was referring to the ACTUAL reports?

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390063)

Don't worry, they'll restart the craziness in the usual 30 years.

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390165)

Yeah -- I noticed like you that /. is no longer "News for Nerds, Stuff that matters"... That has been removed from the site.
I used to come here for cool tech / nerd stuff, now it's overblown with fucking politics which is what all of these stupid ass global warming posts have been...

I hope you are right about IPCC AR5 -- that would be fucking awesome...

The icing on the cake was the story talking about strong hurricanes from the 1980's til now... when Sandy came through...
I guess everything before 1980 that was way more disastrous doesn't count... keep making the data conform to what you want to see...
 

hurricanes that blow (2)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#42390263)

Try October 1780 for a month to remember.

Re:hurricanes that blow (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390487)

Try October 1780 for a month to remember.

Westboro Baptist Church says that was payback because we didn't ban gays in the Declaration of Independence.

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390387)

He's not right. He's a troll.

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (-1, Troll)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 2 years ago | (#42390265)

Why are climate change skeptics, who call climate change global warming, still taken seriously? If some shitty blog claiming to be "the world's most viewed site on global warming" wants to go up against the scientific consensus [wikipedia.org] , that's great for them. We have no need of taking them seriously, however.

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390319)

The part I find interesting is that it isn't the "skeptics" that are against nuclear power, it's those who scream the loudest about global warming that want us to wait twenty years until we can switch to renewable power sources.

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (4, Insightful)

the gnat (153162) | about 2 years ago | (#42390875)

it's those who scream the loudest about global warming that want us to wait twenty years until we can switch to renewable power sources.

Straw man. Ask most actual scientists who know anything about the topic, and we'll tell you we should be building nuclear power plants as fast as possible. (And yes, I would happily live near one, although since I live practically on top of a fault line it would be a pretty stupid place to build it.)

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (2)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#42391689)

Nuclear will be a necessary evil for the next 50-100 years.

My beef is when they argue that nuclear is 'safer' than coal. Not true in any sense unless you exclude what 'could' happen.

The tiger by the tail situation is that we need to get off fossil fuels basically yesterday, and the only available option for grid scale right now is nuclear. But we need to be investing in renewable now at the same time and usually the argument is that nuclear is the 'answer' and it isn't.

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 2 years ago | (#42392363)

I wouldn't say that nuclear is the best solution long term... but near term it probably is... if there had been more construction of nuclear facilities twenty or thirty years ago, we wouldn't have the situation we have now.

Long term, If I were a multi billionaire, I would be setting up shipping/pipeline systems for water, desalination facilities, and solar power. Using solar power with desalinated water can be used to produce hydrogen as a fuel source... From here we have a fuel that is portable, and can be distributed and stored. Though it is somewhat volatile, not too much more than propane or gasoline. During the day production can be used for active power, and excess into converting water to hydrogen. Plants can be setup in Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah where it makes more sense... the missing piece is getting water to these areas from those areas that tend to flow over with water in sufficient quantities.

It's honestly something the U.S. is better setup to handle as a nation because of our size, and diverse climates within the country than other nations. Still, it won't happen until it is absolutely needed. Nuclear could have sustained us for a long time if that investment were made a few decades ago.. Now, it's only going to go from the most urgent scenarios when it is too late.

I'm also not talking about climate change, just our energy usage. That said, the global climate has been changing for tens of thousands of years.

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391813)

Would you say that there's scientific consensus supporting nuclear?

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (2, Funny)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#42390481)

Why are climate change skeptics, who call climate change global warming, still taken seriously?

Indeed, what else would you call "global warming", but the obvious term, "climate change"?

As for myself, I too suffer dearly from climate change. Due to the warming of the past century, my bid for Supreme Galactic Emperor has fallen into shambles. Damn that nefarious Industrial Age! And now with all this extreme weather, I had to give up on the consolation prize, the Most Excellent Emir of the Orion Arm position. You wouldn't think that US flood insurance policies have intergalactic implications. Well, that's why I'm a space noble and you're a space peasant!

I think my suffering is worth at least $200 billion dollars and the title of Honorable Viceroy of the Sol System. It's not too much to ask, given the circumstances and the money sloshing around.

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390531)

So if http://www.petitionproject.org/ was started over again for 2013, would it get anywhere?
That petition was last updated about 5 years ago.

I will accept humans have caused global warming, climate change, or whatever you want to call it when petitions like that would simply have no ground to stand on...
I think if another one was started today, it would get somewhere.

If you started a petition today claiming we live in a geocentric solar system versus heliocentric, it wouldn't get anywhere...
Need to see something remotely close proving global warming, climate change, etc. -- I don't deny climate change -- if you go back in history all the way, the climate on earth has changed. Have humans caused the most recent "change" in the last 50 years... doubt it.

Re: Climate change vs Global warming (-1, Troll)

presidenteloco (659168) | about 2 years ago | (#42390771)

I'm sorry, What?

You are a little bit confused.

When scientists first noticed the problem, 40 or so years ago, it was generally referred to as global warming.
The term "global warming" is a way of saying "climate change with a net change toward warmer."

Later, skeptics, denialists, industry shills, right-wing politicians, call them what you will, changed the "framing" of the issue
by calling it "climate change".
"Climate change" is:
a) a vaguer and less specific term - says less about the important aspect of what's different.
b) introduces confusion in the weak-minded with normal "background" climate variation.
c) Does not convey that there may be a dangerous trend in one particular direction, away from
a previous equilibrium.
d) Sounds less serious because it is not evident from the term that it is a global-scale difference.

So, in short, those who want to shroud the issue in doubt and confusion use the term climate change.
Those who want to be straightforward about the essential new factor call it global warming.

Re: Climate change vs Global warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391291)

"Climate change" has much better impact on the lesser informed. With "global warming" people kept saying "oh look it's snowing in June, global warming my ass!" Of course that snow in June is really caused by global warming but try to explain that to someone who gets their facts from teevee and movies...

In the end, neiher term fully identifies the real problem: man's impact on the environment, which goes much further than rising temperatures: pollution, disappearing sources of food and water, etc.

If you really want to get the point across, use "environmental impact."

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 2 years ago | (#42392225)

Its amusing how frequently comments in a thread about climate change/global warming get marked troll (on all sides of the issue).

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (4, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#42390371)

Nonense. The comparisons that have been done with the original IPCC report vs current data are showing their predictions were suprisingly accurate.

http://www.livescience.com/25367-first-ipcc-climate-report-accurate.html [livescience.com]

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391163)

From the link:

"After an adjustment"

I lol'd. That's not how you do science.

as a non–scientist, I presume (3, Informative)

sam_vilain (33533) | about 2 years ago | (#42391609)

This is how you do science: you repeat the method to test the hypothesis. The article hints at what these adjustments entail:

"These included the volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, which spewed sunlight-blocking particles into the atmosphere, as well as the collapse of industry in the Soviet Union or the economic growth of China, ..."

This is similar to Hansen's 1987 (iirc) papers, which were based on a random prediction of a volcanic eruption in a particular year but it turned out to guess the year wrong. Predicting such events, which have a short term effect on the climate, is a guessing game. The numbers were pretty close, but if you repeat the method and replace the projections of CO2 emissions and aerosol emissions from volcanic and other sources, then they end up spot on.

These days, with more computing power available to run more detailed models more times, they do many model runs with a the random natural factors, and end up with a spectrum of results. This allows confidence intervals to be achieved. Hansen, in 1987, didn't have the resources for that; just like Sverre Arrhenius certainly couldn't do that when he estimated a 2C climate sensitivity from his manual model runs in ~1897.

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (1)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#42392359)

"After an adjustment"

I lol'd. That's not how you do science.

Yep, when you adjust your theories to match the data after the fact, you can hit the target every time.

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390379)

Do you have that from a reliable source? I've had enough lies from wattsupwiththat for one lifetime.

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390469)

Oh yeah, the smoking gun. This "leaked" graph is definitly proof that all the alarmists are wrong.

http://www.fool-me-once.com/2010/09/temperatures-are-below-projections.html

Deniers have only one goal, lie to fool dumb people into thinking there are serious doubts.

But their whole case is built on hot air, they say the alarmists made the whole thing up while they themselves have nothing but nonsense. There are a few skeptics, but they never claim what the deniers claim they say.

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (4, Insightful)

taz346 (2715665) | about 2 years ago | (#42390925)

We see more stories about global warming on Slashdot lately because more of the predicted effects are becoming reality. That trend will continue because we will continue to do nothing to address it, opting to put our own short-term interests ahead of the costs to future generations. Nothing new there. Just ask Yeats: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity."

Re:Death throes of climate alarmism (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42392315)

We've had a bunch of climate related stories on /. lately. My theory is that when IPCC AR5 comes out officially, the jig will be up.

We've had a lot of creationism stories too. My theory is that flame wars drive page hits.

I haven't tracked it, but I get the impression that they usually get posted on slow news days - weekends and holidays.

Haha (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42389931)

Go figure. While all other industries tries hard to deny it because it is bad for business. Insurance companies are busy acknowledge it because it is good for business to do so.

Re:Haha (2)

owski (222689) | about 2 years ago | (#42390045)

While all other industries tries hard to deny it because it is bad for business.

All other industries including solar & wind power, electric cars, bio fuels, carbon trading, etc.?

Insurance companies are busy acknowledge it because it is good for business to do so.

It's always good business for insurance companies to make people worried about something that they want to buy insurance for, especially something that it's not likely will ever be claimed on.

The good side of science in pursuit of profit (3, Funny)

PerlPunk (548551) | about 2 years ago | (#42389973)

Finally, we are about get some science that is not tied to advancing some political cause, political party, or some religious belief for or against Gaia.

Why, how astonishing! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42389991)

They're taking a handy excuse to raise their premiums - who would have guessed at such a remarkable development!

Re:Why, how astonishing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390355)

You know, insurance companies have some of the lowest profit margins of -any- industry. It's why they take -everything- into account to start with.

Re:Why, how astonishing! (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#42390507)

You're ignoring the physical product industry.

Re:Why, how astonishing! (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#42390711)

You're ignoring the physical product industry.

I don't know about that. Take a cheap shoe, made by underpaid workers, stick a logo on it, and now it's a designer item. Not all physical items have low profit margins.

Re:Why, how astonishing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390983)

You're ignoring the physical product industry.

Bullshit is physical, oh hang on I see what you're saying, they sell bullshitting or bullshitter services.

Re:Why, how astonishing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390399)

They wouldn't need an excuse to raise premiums. If they could jack prices up without too many people switching to competitors who undercut them, they would do so anyway.

Two outcomes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390391)

1) The insurace companies put pressure on governments to take global warming seriously. Just like they pressured for no smoking for bars-restaurants

2) They add a clause that says your insurance is void if "damage was caused by phenomena caused by global warming", just like they added a clause for "mass riots"

too bad climate models are nearly useless! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390439)

I believe the climate model used in the 2007 IPCC report didn't even include the arctic ice albedo feedback. This made the 2007 projections more optimistic than current projections. I'm sure it's better now, but I'm also a firm believer that they are still missing some major climate systems and chemistry in even the most complicated models.

Already happening in Belgium (3, Insightful)

SilenceBE (1439827) | about 2 years ago | (#42390489)

Insurance has been raising for a couple of years as there is an increase of natural disasters that are purely related to the weather.

Regardles of the who and what, but the climate is changing noticable. Normally at these part in this time of year it is freezing but now we are getting temperatures in the range of 15-18 degrees. We also have more floods then in the previous years. It may be warmer, but we also have a lot more rain.

Re:Already happening in Belgium (1, Troll)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#42390541)

Regardles of the who and what, but the climate is changing noticable.

Ever hear of confirmation bias? Just because you think you notice something doesn't mean you do.

Besides we have yet to use the proper methods for determining whether weather is due to climate change. Here's a simple test. Take your suspect weather event and throw it in a pond. If it floats, then it's a witch^H^H^H^H^H climate change induced extreme weather event.

Re:Already happening in Belgium (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391257)

Yip, we are getting more freezing in our winters here in the Netherlands, breaking records of the last 30 years. Meaning that it is slowly going back to how it was 35 years ago when I was a young boy when it was freezing every year, lost of snow, and deep black natural ice to skate on.

These cycles have been predicted hundreds of years ago by our own meteorology office. You cannot use weather within a single country for just a 100 years as a way to determine climate change.

Determining climate change requires measuring the heat / temperature at a global scale, over several hundred years. Sadly we don't have records for global temperatures that go back hundreds of years, the best we can do is indirectly measure it.

I am not a climate change denier. I am just saying that you should not use the argument of local weather changes during your life time, as it is worthless and it makes it difficult to talk about actual issues.

pfft (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | about 2 years ago | (#42390501)

there's no such thing as climate. OR change

On the other hand... (3, Insightful)

cirby (2599) | about 2 years ago | (#42390503)

...using climate change as an excuse to raise rates? A win-win.

If the scaremongers are right, they cover possible extra expenses... which have not - in any sense - shown up. No extra bad weather, hurricanes, et cetera. Just higher payouts from covering more people.

If they're wrong, the insurance companies get more money for free, and they get the environmental folks to help them get the rate increases approved from various government entities.

"We need to raise our rates to allow for extra payouts from climate change."

"Do we get a refund if you don't have to pay out more?"

"No. But don't you feel better knowing that we might?"

Re:On the other hand... (2, Interesting)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about 2 years ago | (#42390769)

That has already happened. Munich Re got into bed with environmental groups when hurricanes were predicted to rise in number and intensity as a result of global warming/climate change/zombie apocalypse/whatever its called.

Result: Huge rises in insurance rates while hurricane numbers and intensity went down.

Big result: Huge profits for reinsurance companies

Re:On the other hand... (2)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#42390901)

If it were so, why didn't the insurers switched from Munich Re to Swiss Re? It's not as if Munich Re was the monopolist. Sometimes conspiracy theories are simply dumb.

Re:On the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391413)

Am assuming here, but I'd think Swiss Re would also be able to raise there rates and why would then also????

Cover... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390533)

This is just cover for a plausible reason to raise rates... move along.

LOL at 'climate change'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42390567)

So it's no longer 'man made global warming' then...

www.climatedepot.com

CO2 has no effect on the Earth's temperature, this has been clearly proved time and time again.

Re:LOL at 'climate change'... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42392357)

CO2 has no effect on the Earth's temperature, this has been clearly proved time and time again.

Look at the second plot on this page [skepticalscience.com] . It's a direct measurement of the amount of the reduced re-radiation from planet earth at 1996 vs. 1970, and shows substantial dips for CO2 (far left) and methane (far right).

Re:LOL at 'climate change'... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42392481)

I should have said, "dips at the absorption frequencies for CO2 (far left) and methane (far right)."

Clash of the Titans (0)

Weaselmancer (533834) | about 2 years ago | (#42390663)

The oil industry is saying it isn't happening, and the insurance companies are saying it is.

The legislation that these two vying groups of lobbyists will produce will be a wonderfully schizophrenic bit of doublethink, I'm guessing.

Re:Clash of the Titans (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#42390739)

And somehow, despite the fact that they are on two different sides, neither one of them will manage to actually provide information that clears up the matter definitively.

Re:Clash of the Titans (1)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#42390913)

They don't need to, That's what the IPCC is for, But if you insist on not believing what all those people say who have the education and the practice to answer your questions in climate matters, then ok, you are still left uninformed.

Re:Clash of the Titans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391379)

those guys arent liars ????
I guess we could call them fact manipulators

Good policy, even for deniers (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 2 years ago | (#42390673)

One doesn't even need to consider climate change to mitigate the Hurrican Sandys. The sea level rise is incontrovertible, and easy to extrapolate. The minimum insurance companies should be doing is accounting for sea level rise, regardless of whether it is tied to climate change, and regardless of whether that climate change is anthropogenic, and regardless of whether interventions to mitigate said climate change would be more costly or less costly than doing nothing.

Insurance needs fear to sell (2, Insightful)

vlad30 (44644) | about 2 years ago | (#42390833)

Insurance needs fear to sell.

It used to be rational fear e.g. you might have a car accident that turns out to be expensive to repair and pay for damages. However here is a fear that is irrational Climate change the climate always changes, day to day , year to year, century to century. And the difficulty will be was the damages caused by climate change or were you in a flood zone anyway. and fearful governments afraid of being sued are complicit in this. A recent example I have is a local council declaring a flood zone in an area that would only flood if sea levels rose 2-3 metres insurance companies without question simply rose all premiums in the area $3000 -$7000 if you wanted flood insurance. It did have an effect as people in this area were generally concerned about climate change now many I spoke to have seen the money maker it really is

They also need premiums to exceed payouts (2)

sam_vilain (33533) | about 2 years ago | (#42391675)

You know, that whole solvency thing is pretty important. I think you're thinking of the gun industry.

Also, Sandy's storm surge, plus the Spring Tide, and the 1 foot of mean SLR since 1900, added up to that 2-3 metres. And also bear in mind: ice sheets are all melting far faster than expected; and also because of ocean currents and other effects, that "mean Sea Level Rise" can very dramatically depending on where you are. In a capitalist society, high flood insurance premiums are the appropriate signal to discourage people to either a) not build in low–lying areas or b) finally give a damn about Global Warming.

Heh, our /. userids differ by 11111 :-)

Re:Insurance needs fear to sell (3, Informative)

Xyrus (755017) | about 2 years ago | (#42392349)

Insurance needs fear to sell.

No it doesn't. People buy insurance because MOST don't have enough funds to cover things like car crashes, unexpected serious illnesses, etc. . These things happen and the LOGICAL response is to be prepared for them. At worst, that could be considered cautious.

However here is a fear that is irrational Climate change the climate always changes, day to day , year to year, century to century.

Weather != Climate. Climate changes TYPICALLY happen over 100's to 1000's of years, sometimes even longer. And the impacts of those changes on the life forms existing on the planet depend on how string and how fast those changes happen.

The changes, as indicated by all the research, observations, and data we have show that the climate is changing, and rapidly (decadal scale). There is no irrational fear here. The science says A is going to happen, evidence shows A is happening, and that there are consequences for A happening. Groups that are interested about these consequences and what their effects will be such as the DoD, DoE, insurance companies, agribusiness, etc. are incorporating the science into future plans to prepare for it.

And the difficulty will be was the damages caused by climate change or were you in a flood zone anyway.

What your describing is called attribution, an it's pretty easy to filter out such basic cases. Attribution of weather event to climate change is more difficult, but that's another matter. As water levels rise, flood zones will increase (at least in coastal areas). Storm surges will become more dangerous and travel further inland.

That's just an example, but these are things city planners and others need to be aware of when making long range plans. Otherwise, when those 1 in a thousand year events start becoming one every ten years there's going to be a heavy bill to pay.

and fearful governments afraid of being sued are complicit in this. A recent example I have is a local council declaring a flood zone in an area that would only flood if sea levels rose 2-3 metres insurance companies without question simply rose all premiums in the area $3000 -$7000 if you wanted flood insurance.

You don't seem to understand coastal flood zones very well. Storm surges, even those not driven by hurricanes, can easily exceed 2 or 3 meters. Even coastal winds can drive waves that size depending on where you live. And if such events have been shown to be happening more frequently in your area due to a combination of increasing extreme events, ocean rise, coastal erosion, etc. then it only make sense.

It did have an effect as people in this area were generally concerned about climate change now many I spoke to have seen the money maker it really is

You're going to need more than emotional appeal to win an argument. You have to get some real hard data and show WHY you think the increase is unnecessary. How often does the area flood? How much value does the area have? What is the projected increase in flooding events as sea levels rise? What is the projected increase of conditions that would lead to probable flooding? Insurance companies use a lot of information to estimate risks and determine premiums. If you don't have a solid provable case you basically just whining that your premiums had to go up to cover the increasing risk due to a changing climate.

This shouldn't be a surprise to you, as scientist have been saying these types of things would likely happen 30 years ago.

Carelessly picked buildsites (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391659)

The main problem is not climate change, but rather poor judgement of what to build where. A beachhouse used to be within minutes of the beach, now it is directly on the beach and the building is a lot more expensive. This means the risk of damage is not only greater than it used to be, it is also more expensive when it happens.

Another problem is draining. Swampland is drained and houses are built there. However nature intended such places to be swamps and they tend to reappear when exposed to heavy rain.

Land is claimed from rivers, making them narrower, which prevents heavy flow. When rain makes heavy flow needed, waterlevel raises instead and causes floods, often just before the block, which means the owners of the flooded houses wasn't the one to make the mistake. This was the main problem with the flooding in Germany and Czech Republic in the 90's as well as the major Mississippi flooding.

There is a pretty good example of this on the street where I live. Houses were built on all free plots in the 1950s, except one. This one vacant plot didn't have any house on it until the late 1980s. Turns out that whenever it rains heavily, a lake fills up, sends all the water over the top of the hill, down to the road and then it travels on roads all the way to the ocean. The problem is that whenever the water goes downhill it goes through this new house and no amount of dams and ditches appears to work. It has been flooded twice in the last 10 years alone and none of the other houses have ever been flooded. One has to wonder why this plot was left unused in the first place.

Another fine example is a train repair shop built recently in a moist plot with a stream nearby. The politicians forced the engineers to make the building lower than the engineers recommended because otherwise the roof would be too tall compared to the trees and that wouldn't look nice. Now it has to use a pump to keep dry and they will have water on the floor if the pump stops and they fail to restart it within a certain amount of hours. I bet it completely fails the flood resistance demands set by the same politicians.

Such poorly protected (and often expensive) buildings is a major concern for insurance companies. It's a far greater issue than climate change. However it might be a whole lot easier to get everybody to pay more if it's stated that it's due to climate change than if it goes to "poorly located houses".

Another interesting note about this is one "proof" of climate change is the increasing amount of money paid by insurance companies. Those numbers can't be used to proof worse weather because you can't isolate the costs for climate change and the costs caused for the reasons I mentioned here.

The obvious insurance industry solution... (1)

qeveren (318805) | about 2 years ago | (#42391809)

... is to deny insurance to people with pre-existing climate issues. :)

Trillions in revenue? Profit is what matters (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about 2 years ago | (#42392115)

The insurance industry is a necessary evil just like government. The only way they stay in business is to make a profit. If you are paying too much either change providers or stop being such a high risk.

Until Obamacare came along insurance was not mandatory.

Brillent ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392207)

Clogged Toilets are due to Global Warming !

Would you like that Fear with a bottle of DrainO - And DrainO Reduces Carbon Foot Print !

XD

Hurricane Sandy.... (5, Informative)

Ferretman (224859) | about 2 years ago | (#42392353)

....had nothing to do with "climate change" or "global warming" or whatever the AGW supporters are calling it this week. Even the climatologists said as much:

http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/12/07/csu-researchers-say-sandy-wasnt-influenced-by-global-warming/ [nationalgeographic.com]

Ferret
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