March 28, 2007

"Redacting the Science of Climate Change"

A report from the Government Accountability Project, a private organization, has been published as part of the record in preparation for scheduled hearing of the House Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives.

From the Executive Summary of "Redating the Science of Climate Change:
"This report, which presents and synthesizes the findings of a year-long investigation to determine the extent of political interference at federal climate science agencies, demonstrates how policies and practices have increasingly restricted the flow of scientific information emerging from publicly-funded climate change research. This has affected the media’s ability to report on the science, public officials’ capacity to respond with appropriate policies, and the public’s grasp of an environmental issue with profound consequences for our future.
Conducted by the Government Accountability Project, the investigation incorporated dozens of interviews; a review of thousands of Freedom of Information Act disclosures, internal documents, and public records; and a comprehensive search of news archives.1 Although the investigation focused heavily on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it also included the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Agriculture, and the Climate Change Science Program."

The full 139-page report is on the webpage of the Committee at: Hearing :: Shaping the Message, Distorting the Science: Media Strategies to Influence Public Policy [scheduled]

Posted by dougsimpson at 03:06 PM

NAIC Testifies re National Disaster Insurance

The Chair of the NAIC's Catastrophe Insurance Working Group testified in Washington on the role of insurance in preparing for large natural catastrophes. Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty testified to a Congressional subcommittee that “Congress and the states need to work together to develop a comprehensive plan today to better manage and mitigate the natural catastrophic events of tomorrow.”

McCarthy advocated for enforcement of better building codes, mitigation measures and land use. Outlining the challenges of insuring catastrophic risk and some of the state and federal solutions, McCarty asked for a National Commission on Catastrophe Preparation to do further study.

“Hurricane Katrina may have been the cause of the national attention on this issue, but as that tragic day moves further into history, we still have no comprehensive national approach to managing catastrophes of that magnitude,” McCarty said. “Thankfully, 2006 was a relatively calm year for property and casualty insurers. But this window of opportunity to act is merely the eye of the storm, and we need to take advantage of it.”

The entire testimony is available at the NAIC's website. It includes tables showing the "after-the-fact" allocation of federal costs of Katrina to each of the fifty states, and maps of vulnerability of each state to various natural catastrophes.

Posted by dougsimpson at 08:30 AM

March 21, 2007

Rep. Waxman - Science-Based “Safe Climate Act”

On March 20, 2007, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, together with over 125 House colleagues, introduced the “Safe Climate Act of 2007.” The legislation is based on what scientists have concluded the United States must do to avoid dangerous, irreversible warming of the planet and would significantly reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases.
Press Release by Rep. Henry A. Waxman -30th District of California

Bill Summary: "The Safe Climate Act freezes U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2010, at the 2009 levels. Beginning in 2011, it cuts emissions by roughly 2% per year, reaching 1990 emissions levels by 2020. After 2020, it cuts emissions by roughly 5% per year. By 2050, emissions will be 80% lower than in 1990. These goals are comparable to emissions reduction goals adopted by many states and called for by leading American companies, small businesses, religious organizations, environmental advocates, and others."

Links to full text and detailed description of the bill.

Rep. Waxman is the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Thanks to beSpacific: Waxman Introduces the Safe Climate Act of 2007

Posted by dougsimpson at 03:24 PM

March 07, 2007

Finite Risk Transfer: Use only as directed

Contingencies has published a short article about finite risk transfer, an alternative method of managing risk that emerged from obscurity during recent inquiries into insurance company practices. Though it is powerful medicine that is safe when used as directed, abuse can lead to investigations, indictments and increased government regulation. "Finite Risk Transfer: May Be Habit Forming - Use Only As Directed" by Douglas Simpson.

The same March/April 2007 issue includes an article on "Climate and Hurricanes - What Happened in 2006?" by David A. Lalonde

Contingencies is published online and in print by The American Academy of Actuaries.

Posted by dougsimpson at 07:56 AM