Climate, Change and Risk

Climate, Change and Risk

Climate, Change and Risk

Climate, Change and Risk


With weather-related losses on the rise, this timely volume explores the poorly-understood fields of hazard vulnerability and disaster management. Including issues of societal responses to climate change, as well as insurance matters and current research methodologies, Thomas Downing presents an overview of the future of climatic disasters, and our ability to cope with them.


The intent of this volume is to explore potential sensitivity to changes in weather hazards that might be expected with climate change. The emphasis is on identifying critical issues and data requirements, exploring different methodologies, and synthesising results across sectors and studies. The focus is insurance, especially the commercial insurance sector. Insurance is widely recognised as an effective response to risk, but there is considerable debate regarding its role in responding to climate change. The target audience for this volume is researchers and practitioners concerned with climate change adaptation, weather hazards and disaster management.

The chapters on Europe are the culmination of five years of research on climate change and extreme events. It began with a study by the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, for the Netherlands National Research Programme on Global Air Pollution and Climate Change, with assistance from the Environmental Change Unit (ECU). This was followed by a European Commission (EC) study co-ordinated by the IVM, with contributions from the ECU, the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki (AUT), the Flood Hazard Research Centre (FHRC) at Middlesex University, and the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (no. EV5V CT94 0391). An extended network of researchers, representatives from insurance companies and policy-makers participated in these two projects. Several workshops reviewed emerging research.

The EC project resulted in a final report prepared by the three editors of this book. The present volume includes revised and extended papers from that final report, three new chapters on Australia and the USA, and a fresh introduction.

The research also benefited from related work on European climate change and agriculture (CLAIRE, EV5V-CT92-0294), the economics of climate change (several projects for the EC, International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas R&D, Nuclear Electric, and others). As we write, a new round of EC-funded research is about to get under way, focusing on societal responses to changing drought and flood risk in Spain, the Netherlands and the UK.

In Australia, research at CSIRO and the Climatic Impacts Centre at Macquarie University has largely been funded via the Australian Federal Department of the

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