Former UN IPCC Lead Author Dr. Richard Tol: ‘One of the startling facts about climate change is that there are very few facts about climate change. Climate change is mainly something of the future so we are really talking about model projections’

EIF 2014: UN Climate Change efforts destined to fail, as Beijing will shape policies for years to come, according to University of Sussex Professor Richard Tol.

 

WRIN.tv speaks with Dr. Richard Tol during the recent European Insurance Forum about climate change, and its impact on the insurance industry. He is a Professor at the University of Sussex, and the Professor of the Economics of Climate Change at the Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of Spatial Economics at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

According to Dr Tol, “One of the startling facts about climate change is that there are very few facts about climate change.  Climate change is mainly something of the future so we are really talking about model projections.”  

Dr. Tol feels that the impact of climate change is a “symptom of underdevelopment and mismanagement. For example (hurricane) Katrina devastated New Orleans. How much of that was due to bad weather and how much to bad management of the costal defenses."

Dr. Tol says the climate does not increase risk, but reduces the predictability of future weather hazards, requiring more risk capital and better risk management.

Carbon free energy sources have been proven in the lab and can supply the world's energy needs 10 times over says Dr.Tol. "The problem is an economic one.  These alternative carbon-free energy sources are simply too expensive. They only work on a small scale and are not very convenient.” 

While the insurance industry has been active in the climate debates its power is one of persuasion.

The next big political event concerning climate change is the Paris Negotiations for the United Nations Framework on Prevention of Climate Change, which according to Dr. Tol “are going to fail as others have failed so far.”  He points out that “China is...burning a lot of coal and it's bad for the health of their people and they are trying to find alternatives. They can follow the European and North American model and put scrubbers on coal fired power plants that will increase energy use and increase CO2 emissions, or they could switch to alternatives to coal that would decrease carbon dioxide emissions. This is gong to shape climate policy for the next 10-20 years - the decisions that are made in Beijing.”
 http://www.wrin.tv/index.php/component/content/article/1252-un-climate-change-efforts-destined-to-fail-as-beijing-will-shape-policies-for-years-to-come

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