Monday, July 8, 2013

the hits keep on comin' 4


However, it seems our global income is taking a hit as the years go by and as global damages increase, as if exponentially.

["Weather-related damages and costs are increasing quickly"]

Nielsen asked, "How long can we cope with weather-related economic losses?" Then he added, "If global income increases more slowly than the losses, it is worthwhile to calculate how long the money will last."

That makes sense to me, but I've never seen many instances of people in a position to know or care, e.g., insurance companies, government officials from local to federal levels, economists, or financial wizards, explain what the future may hold related to economic or financial health if we continue "business as usual" both economically and environmentally.

Nielsen continues re 'how long the money will last' (page 103, The Little Green Handbook):

To estimate this period I have analysed the data for weather-related economic losses and for gross world-product (GWP), both expressed in 2001 US dollars.

Preliminary examination of the data shows that the prospects are not encouraging, because the losses are increasing much faster than income. As we have seen, global weather-related losses per decade increased from $86 billion to $474 billion, or 450 per cent, in the last two decades of the 20th century. However, GWP increased from $291 trillion per decade to $386 trillion, or 33 per cent, during the same period. GWP is still greater than the weather-related losses, but the losses are increasing much faster, and in time they might match global income. That would mean global bankruptcy.

... The two calculated curves cross in 2045. If about that time we decide to repair the damage there will be no money left for anything else.

Dr. Nielsen does not mention which countries will fare better or worse or who will suffer the greatest blows amongst the rich and poor, but he does go on to say the following:

global bankruptcy could occur earlier than 2045, for two reasons. First, the costs of weather-related damages might drain global resources to a critical level, even if they are lower than global income.

The above statement reminds me of details related to a recent air disaster. A jumbo jet filled with passengers came in for a landing at a reduced speed (according to black box data and recorded conversations in the cockpit), i.e., at substantially fewer knots per hour than required for a safe landing, and the jet dropped too quickly out of the sky. The plane suffered great damage and two passengers were killed upon impact.

Second, we also have to consider the cost of other natural disasters... (i.e.,) the so-called great natural disasters. They do not happen often, but they are responsible for enormous economic losses, and their number has increased from about two per year in the 1950s to 9 per year in the 1990s. (pg. 104)

In the wake of recent flooding in Alberta, blows to the economy of one of Canada's richest provinces and government promises to send a billion in relief funding (likely a small portion of what will be needed for all repairs), there may be a growing concern about how long we can cope with such damage, economically and environmentally.

["Are governments studying important, recent data?
Will they keep their citizenry fully informed?"]

Nielsen makes an excellent point about what is needed to determine an answer today:

The first 10 - 20 years of this century will be crucial in determining whether weather-related economic losses will lead to global bankruptcy. The cost of damage is increasing rapidly, and the additional sets of data will make the analysis more reliable. (pg. 104, TLGH)

Though accurate information may be long in coming from worried insurance companies and national governments, we should make every effort to stay informed while - at the same time - cleaning up one economic and environmental mess after another.

Photos by GH


Please click here to read the hits keep on comin' 3

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