"The outcome of Copenhagen has left me somewhat stunned. The
2°C goal agreed with China and India at the
G8 summit in summer of this year was merely recognised in
Copenhagen, with no pledges made. The major industrial countries,
along with China and India, have thus retreated behind the lines
At Munich Re, we look closely at a multitude of risks and how to
handle them best. Climate change is such a risk, and the need for
action is obvious. I therefore find it baffling that so little was
achieved during the negotiations in Copenhagen.
Climate change is a fact, and it is almost entirely made by man.
It is jointly responsible for the rise in severe weather-related
natural disasters, since the weather machine is "running in top
gear". The figures speak for themselves: according to data gathered
by Munich Re, weather-related natural catastrophes have produced
US$ 1,600bn in total losses since 1980, and climate change is
definitely a significant contributing factor. We assume that the
annual loss amount attributable to climate change is already in the
low double-digit billion euro range. And the figure is bound to
rise dramatically in future.
What we need now is leadership. It is up to the USA, Europe
including Germany, and China to cut the Gordian knot. Progress is
likely to be made more easily on a small scale rather than at a
climate summit with 193 negotiating partners and thousands of
participants. In the light of the Copenhagen experience, I would
therefore advocate a rapid resumption of talks with a small party
of participants to get the negotiations moving again.
We need a strict climate agreement, and we need it fast. Climate
change is a global problem and a challenge for humankind. If the
players do nothing but pursue their national interests, we are
headed for a climate catastrophe.
Industry is certain to move ahead now and actively develop
solutions to curb climate change and prevent its consequences.
After all, such solutions make economic sense. One example is the
Dii, the huge desert-power project. We at Munich Re will make every
effort together with our partners to rapidly turn this vision into
reality. In the long run, however, the economy will need a global
agreement to prevent a distortion in competitive conditions and
relocation of high-carbon production processes and jobs into
countries without any regulation mechanisms."