We’re Already Paying a Carbon Tax in Disaster Relief

By Climate Crocks: An appeal to economic reason by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Below, a piece titled ‘You Might Just Like a Carbon Tax”, by Ike Brannon.

Ike Brannon is senior fellow and director of research at the R Street Institute. R Street was founded by Eli Lehrer, a former staffer at the climate denialist Heartland Institute. R Street accepts the science of global climate, and explores, among other activities, potential free market solutions to climate change. A significant portion of their funding is from the insurance industry. Read more RealClearEnergy

NYTimes: From Hurricane Sandy’s devastating blow to the Northeast to the protracted drought that hit the Midwest Corn Belt, natural catastrophes across the United States pounded insurers last year, generating$35 billion in privately insured property losses, $11 billion more than the average over the last decade.

And the industry expects the situation will get worse. “Numerous studies assume a rise in summer drought periods in North America in the future and an increasing probability of severe cyclones relatively far north along the U.S. East Coast in the long term,” said Peter Höppe, who heads Geo Risks Research at the reinsurance giant Munich Re.

“The rise in sea level caused by climate change will further increase the risk of storm surge.”

Most insurers, including the reinsurance companies that bear much of the ultimate risk in the industry, have little time for the arguments heard in some right-wing circles that climate change isn’t happening, and are quite comfortable with the scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels is the main culprit of global warming.

“Insurance is heavily dependent on scientific thought,” Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America, told me last week. “It is not as amenable to politicized scientific thought.”

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