Despite Climategate, Nations and Media Remain Delusional on Global Warming
Insurance Experts' Forum, December 21, 2009
What does one do when one is caught—literally or figuratively—with one’s pants around one’s knees? The classic response is outright denial, blatant refusal to acknowledge facts, a la “I never had sex with that woman.” (Ms. Lewinsky)
When recent news reports revealed hacked e-mails that clearly indicated distortion and concealment of climate data that is unsupportive of anthropogenic global warming, you would have thought the scientists involved would simply do a mea culpa and fess up. As climate blogger Marc Morano put it: “The media is now digging and digging into Climategate and they are finding a scandal of the highest magnitude. The media and politicians at this week’s UN summit can no longer pretend that Climategate is not a game changer. It is time to end the denial. Even UN IPCC chair Pachuari now appears ready to throw the key UN Climategate scientists under the bus.”
But no, some of the scientists involved fecklessly tried to pass off their actions as a “joke,” while others, especially those who had an international global warming event to put on, simply ignored the evidence. This childish and outlandish behavior is apparently what passes for integrity in the scientific community these days, so is it any wonder that surveys reveal fewer people supporting the idea of man-made climate change?
Among the co-conspirators in this effort at global denial was Associated Press, which droned on for more than 30 paragraphs about the “deal” that was struck in Copenhagen to pour billions more into controlling the climate, but did not once mention the major scandal that has made all this nonsense questionable at best. And while USA Today trumpets a poll of Americans saying that 55% support a global treaty that would require the United States to reduce greenhouse emissions, it also points out that they are “split on the likely economic impact of enacting new environmental and energy laws to address climate change: 42% say they will hurt the economy; 36% say they will help.” Gee, doesn’t a split usually mean half on one side and half on the other?
But what will all this mean for the insurance industry? Actually, very little. Ours is an industry that caters to the notion of “just in case.” Insurance companies are certainly smart enough to see that the whole climate change fiasco is an ill-conceived political crapshoot at best, but that’s not the point. Insurers and brokers will support climate change efforts “just in case” we might need them (or they might actually work, which is another doubtful premise). It’s a bit like placing a bet on every horse in a race, “just in case” the favorite doesn’t come in. This practice is known as “hedging” one’s bets so that a loss in one area will be cushioned by a win in another area.
Still, it’s hard to see why an industry so grounded in reality would continue to pay so much attention to a movement that has been compromised by deceit and trickery. It’s also puzzling that we don’t seem acknowledge actual climate figures, which don’t support warming at the catastrophic rates predicted by some models. On the other hand, it wouldn’t surprise me if insurers in Haiti, for example, would invest in protective charms to ward off the threat of voodoo.
Just in case.
Ara C. Trembly (www.aratremblytechnology.com) is the founder of Ara Trembly, The Tech Consultant, and a longtime observer of technology in insurance and financial services.
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