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British insurers warn storm clean-up costs will soar with global warming

Agence France Presse, June 30, 2005 The worldwide cost of cleaning up major storms could rise by two- thirds to 27 billion dollars (22.35 billion euros) annually unless urgent action is taken to fight global warming, British insurers warned Wednesday.

"Governments now have a chance to make rational choices for the future before it is too late," said Nick Starling, an executive with the Association of British Insurers which issued the warning.

The ABI said in a document that the projected cost increases could be cut if governments take action now to reduce carbon emissions, improve coastal defenses, boost flood protection inland and require more resilient buildings.

It said its Financial Risks of Climate Change report was based upon international scientific research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The document said cutting carbon emissions alone could save up to 80 percent of the predicted extra costs.

The average annual global clean-up cost could rise to 15 billion pounds (27.07 billion dollars, 22.42 billion euros) by 2080 without such efforts, the ABI said.

"Managing the effects of climate change is a key issue for the 21st century," Starling said. "Insurance is a messenger of change for future risks, as well as a provider of financial protection against the unforeseen.

"Making the right decisions based on first-class assessment of the financial costs of climate change will ensure lower costs for the public in future," he added.

CP Copyright 2005 Agence France-Presse


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