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Item #d96jun91

In the past year or so, signs of widespread concern over climate change and variability within the insurance industry, and even the banking industry, have become more apparent. (See "Insurers Warm to Climate Change," G. Stix, Scientific American, pp. 27-28, Feb. 1996; and "Who's Afraid of Global Warming? Surprise! Its Big Business That's Worried Now," M. Hertsgaard, The Washington Post, pp. C1, C4, Jan. 21, 1996.)

Fearing a rise in damage related to storms and extreme weather conditions, some companies are willing to support scientific research on the topic. The Risk Prediction Initiative, funded by global insurance and reinsurance companies, is a new program administered by the Atlantic Global Change Institute at the Bermuda Biological Station for Research (BBSR). An announcement in Eos (p. 43, Jan. 30, 1996) solicited applications for research grants on interdisciplinary topics, and for postdoctoral fellowships. (Deadline was March 1; contact Res. Opportunities Prog., BBSR, 17 Biological Sta. Lane, Ferry Reach, GE01 Bermuda (tel: 441 297 1880; fax: 441 297 8143; e-mail:; World Wide Web:

Speaking at a February meeting of the European Parliament Environment Committee, a meteorologist for a large German insurance company emphasized that the insurance industry may have to make significant adjustments in rates over the next decade to cover increasing losses. (See Intl. Environ. Rptr., p. 156, Mar. 6, 1996.) He also pointed out the industry's interest and potential influence in mitigating climate change.

A new book contains a collection of presentations by members of the insurance, banking and pension fund industries at two conferences sponsored by Greenpeace International last year. (See Books/Insurance Industry, this Digest issue--June 1996.) One message that emerged is that these institutions can increase their financial stability and also contribute to solving the climate change problem by investing in renewable energy sources.

Those industries with an interest in avoiding curtailed emissions do not necessarily take the same view regarding climate change and storm behavior. (See Changing Weather? Facts and Fallacies About Climate Change and Weather Extremes, Reports/Gen. Interest, this Digest issue--June 1996.)

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