LONDON - Nov 30 (Reuters) - There is clear evidence that climate change is contributing towards rising natural catastrophe losses and ambitious climate protection targets are needed to tackle the increase, according to Munich Re.
The world’s biggest reinsurer (MUVGn.DE) said its NatCatSERVICE database, a global record for natural catastrophes, shows the average number of major weather-related catastrophes such as windstorms, floods or droughts is now three times as high as at the beginning of the 1980s.
Losses have increased by 11 percent per year since 1980, and overall losses due to weather-related events total $1.6 trillion in original values, with insured losses amounting to approximately $465 billion, it said in a statement last week on Thursday.
In the period from 2000-2008, overall losses totalled over $750 billion, whilst insured losses came to around $280 billion due to the impact of climate change.
Munich Re said to what extent the increased losses are due to climate change is not yet clear. But preliminary analyses suggest that it accounts for a low single-digit percentage of annual overall losses.
“Our statistics clearly show that the loss burden from weather-related natural catastrophes is increasing. A year like 2009, with relatively low losses to date, in no way contradicts this”, said Torsten Jeworrek, member of Munich Re’s Board of Management responsible for reinsurance business.
“Something must be done. Even if an all-embracing agreement does not seem feasible in Copenhagen, at the very least fundamental framework conditions should be established. We cannot afford a delay at the expense of future generations.”
The reinsurer called for significant progress to be made at the Copenhagen climate summit to lay the cornerstones of a strict climate agreement.
Peter Höppe, Head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research, said a binding commitment in Copenhagen will have to be defined to limit global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
"This can be done only if global carbon emissions are cut to 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2050," he said. "That means the industrial countries will have to achieve 80 percent, and that globally there will have to be a real fall in emissions within the next few years. (Editing by Andy Bruce) ((Click here to join the Thomson Reuters Insurance Linked Securities Community for more news and analysis: here)) ((firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 207 542 9619))