Face Climate Change Consequences, Not Just Causes, Says ABI

June 20, 2007

The Association of British Insurers said it has put increased pressure on the UK Government to develop an effective climate change strategy with the publication of its climate change adaptation manifesto.

The study “Adapting to our Changing Climate: A Manifesto for Business, Government and the Public’ – “sets out strategic solutions and immediate action needed to manage key threats such as maintaining habitable housing, reliable transport and safe water supplies,” said an ABI bulletin.

Stephen Haddrill, ABI’s Director General, commented: “However successful we are at reducing our carbon footprint now, weather damage will worsen over the next 40 years because of past emissions. The Government needs to invest at least £750 million [$1.47 billion] a year in flood defenses, and should use the Climate Change Bill and Comprehensive Spending Review to set out an effective climate risk management strategy. Insurers remain committed to working with Government and our customers to help manage the consequences of climate change”.

A key Manifesto proposal targets Britain’s vulnerable seacoasts by urging more spending on flood defenses. The call has been “reinforced by the recent report from the National Audit Office highlighting that the Environment Agency needs to focus on improving flood defenses, as climate change is likely to increase the flood risk,” the ABI bulletin noted.

The Manifesto outlines measures that need to be in place by 2011 for Britain to be prepared for climate change. These include:
— Greater investment in flood defenses. At least £750 million a year (a 10 percent annual rise on current levels) needs to be spent by 2011. This needs to be addressed by the Comprehensive Spending Review
— Hospitals, schools and regeneration projects to be built to standards that cope with the climate of 2050.
— Adaptation measures must be treated as seriously as emissions reduction.
— Energy supplies to be protected against severe weather.

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