California Wildfires, Hurricane Michael Top List of 2018’s Costliest Natural Disasters: Munich Re

by LS Howard, Jan 8 2019 Read full Insurance Journal article here 0

The costliest natural catastrophes occurred in the United States in 2018 with one of California’s devastating wildfires and Hurricane Michael topping the list, according to Munich Re.

A report from Munich Re on last year’s natural disasters pointed to “clear indications” that man-made climate change is a factor in California’s wildfires.

Breaking down the losses, Munich Re said northern California’s November wildfire, known as “Camp Fire,” had overall losses of US$16.5 billion and insured losses of US$12.5 billion, while Hurricane Michael had overall losses of US$16 billion and insured losses of US$10 billion.

In total last year’s natural catastrophes racked up an overall global price tag of US$160 billion, said the reinsurer, noting that only half these economic losses were insured. The 2018 losses were below 2017’s significant loss total of US$350 billion, due mainly to record hurricane losses.

Last year’s insured losses of $80 billion were substantially above the inflation-adjusted average for the last 30 years (US$41 billion), but below 2017’s record figures of US$140 billion, said the reinsurer.

Munich Re said California saw its worst-ever wildfire season – for the second year running – with the state’s wildfires contributing US$24 billion to the overall 2018 natural catastrophe loss burden with US$18 billion of the total wildfire price tag covered by insurance.,,,,

Ireland withdraws public money from fossil fuel investments

by Charlie Taylor January 4, 2019 read full article here

Ireland Strategic Investment Fund divests from 38 companies, raising €68m

The Department of Finance confirmed on Friday that the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), a State body controlled and managed by the National Treasury Management Agency, has divested from 38 fossil fuel companies.

The divestment, which was worth a combined €68 million, saw the fund selling off its shares in companies involved in oil, gas and other fossil fuels.

ISIF, which published a list of 148 fossil fuel companies in which it said it will not invest, is expected to continue to divest in such companies while also increasing investment in clean energy projects. Its portfolio already includes a range of wind farms, solar power and other renewable energy projects.

The €7.9 billion fund, which was designed to support economic activity and employment in Ireland, replaced the National Pensions Reserve Fund in 2010.

“The passing of this legislation marks Ireland out as one of the first countries in the world to withdraw public money from investment in fossil fuels,” said the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. “It positions the ISIF as one of a handful of sovereign wealth funds globally to implement a fossil fuel divestment strategy’.

How we can combat climate change

Wash Post Editorial Staff January 2 2019 read full Washington Post article here

The world has until 2030 to drastically cut our emissions. Where do we begin?

Last year’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sounded the alarm: The world has until 2030 to implement “rapid and far-reaching” changes to our energy, infrastructure and industrial systems to avoid 2 degrees Celsius of warming, which could be catastrophic. But the scale of the challenge can appear so overwhelming that it’s hard to know where to start. The Post asked activists, politicians and researchers for climate policy ideas that offer hope. Radical change from one state, or even the whole United States, won’t address climate change on its own, but taking these actions could help start the planet down a path toward a better future.

11 policy ideas to protect the planet

Read more here….

How we can make beef less terrible for the environment- managed grazing with silvopasture (Wash Post Opinion)

Eric Toensmeier is a lecturer at Yale University and a senior researcher with the climate change-focused nonprofit Project Drawdown. He is the author of “The Carbon Farming Solution.” Read full Washington Post opinion piece here.

Long-term storage of carbon in silvopasture soil is up to five times higher than managed grazing alone — not to mention the carbon stored in the biomass of the trees, although this is not a solution for all rangelands.

When I began investigating how to capture carbon dioxide to fight climate change a decade ago, I had no way of knowing which tool would have the greatest potential. Years later, in 2015, when the environmentalist and entrepreneur Paul Hawken hired me to work for Project Drawdown to help model the impacts of 23 land-based climate change solutions, many on our team were surprised when a relatively unknown solution called “silvopasture” emerged as the most powerful agricultural production practice — the ninth most powerful method overall.

Silvopasture systems combine trees, livestock (ruminants like cattle, sheep and goats) and grazing. Ranchers and pastoralists plant trees or manage the land for spontaneous tree growth. The trees provide shade, timber and food for livestock. In most silvopasture systems, the carbon captured in soil and trees more than makes up for the greenhouse gases (methane and nitrous oxide) that ruminants emit through belches and flatulence. One study of intensive silvopasture in Colombia found that emissions from livestock were equal to a quarter to half of the carbon sequestered in soil and biomass…..