Newark, Calif.-based – Risk Management Solutions, a provider of products and services for the management of catastrophe risk, announced the appointment of Dr. Celine Herweijer to the position of “Principal Scientist, Future Climate.”
RMS stressed that the new role “reflects a commitment by the company to explore the evaluation of future climate risk for today’s economic, business, and political decisions.” Herweijer is a climate scientist, “recognized for her work on modeling drought and the impact of oceans on climate,” said the announcement. She will lead RMS work around the wide-ranging implications of future climate risk.
“Just as RMS has pioneered the neutral science-based quantitative perspective on catastrophe risk, we intend to lead the assessment of future risk, both to motivate effective adaptation as well as to provide an independent informed view of what lies ahead,” noted President and CEO Hemant Shah.
RMS also indicated that it had made the appointment “in advance of the February 2nd publication of a report on the current state of knowledge in climate change science, prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (See IJ web site Feb. 2).
RMS summarized some of the conclusions that have been reached concerning climate change, noting that the “global warming trend has accelerated since the 1970s, and 11 of the last 12 years have ranked in the top 12 warmest years since 1850.”
It also restated the now generally accepted fact that “a warming climate leads to changes in the nature and occurrence of extremes – tropical and temperate windstorms, droughts, heat waves, and wildfires, as well as floods of all kinds – and for some regions and perils.” RMS said it therefore “expects increases in the severity and/or frequency of catastrophic events,” and that it climate modelers are already investigating where and how such impacts should be incorporated in catastrophe models that assess current risk, and how to model changes in risk into the future.”
“For many regions and perils, hazard of the past is different from the hazard of today, which is in turn different from the hazard of the future,” stated Dr. Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer at RMS. “Society is still coming to terms with the profound implications of this – in addition to concerns for the safety and welfare of residents of vulnerable communities, future risk and future value is already beginning to impact today’s economic and political decisions, from investment in a ski resort, to development in a canal estate in the Caribbean.”
RMS reasserted the commitment it’s making “to policy-makers and business to help them understand both how climate change will affect the risks of catastrophes, and the economic implications of how society can best manage these risks.
“Our examination of future climate risk is an important development that will help us to meet the needs of business and society,” Dr. Herweijer commented. “We have reached the stage where the economics of the consequences of climate change is going to become a principal motivation for taking action.”
In conclusion RMS said that in the next twelve months the Company will “will pursue initiatives to enhance catastrophe modeling to explore the potential costs of future climate risk, and undertake focused case studies to assess the economic implications of climate change for communities and for business, in both the developing and the developed world. In addition, RMS will continue to engage worldwide business and government leaders in a discussion of the challenges posed by future climate risks, and in the identification of opportunities to react proactively today, for tomorrow’s risks.”
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