10 November 2010

Mixed Messages from Munich Re

Earlier this week Munich Re called for action on climate change, while touting its green investments, explaining that the rise in costs due to hurricanes was due to only one factor:
[Since 1980] windstorm natural catastrophes more than doubled, with particularly heavy losses from Atlantic hurricanes. This rise can only be explained by global warming. . . [I]nnovative insurance solutions will be needed to bring about the necessary transformation within the energy sector, where investments are often only feasible with the backing of innovative insurance covers.
Writing last year in the peer reviewed literature, Munich Re successfully replicated work that I have been involved in, reaching exactly the same conclusions that we did about hurricane losses in the Atlantic:
There is no evidence yet of any trend in tropical cyclone losses that can be attributed directly to anthropogenic climate change.
Knowing some of the scientists at Munich Re, and having high respect for their work and integrity, I can only conclude that the marketing department is not talking to the research department. What else would explain such polar opposite messages?  (In case you are curious, the messages in the peer reviewed research results are consistent with the state of the science on this subject.  The other stuff is not.)