Archive for November, 2006

The Environment – Climate Change and Insurance

Some articles on the internet have recently discusses the potential cost of climate change on our economy.  As I have stated before, humanity should start taking out insurance against global climate change by actively pursuing ‘alternative energy programs’ and actively reducing our current emissions of climate change particulate such as carbon dioxide by enforcing cleaner air standards in our cars and power plants.  Most of us personally hold insurance in our daily lives on our health and even our inevitable death.   Why should society not start insuring against the statistical probability that global climate change is happening and will severely affect our society. Even if you disagree with the science of global warming, taking out insurance against the probability, no matter how small that probability may be, would both create new industries and jobs and protect our future.  Below are some excerpts from the articles as well as links for further reading. 

Weather Disasters Could Cost 1 Trillion Dollars in a Year” by Richard Ingham

“Driven by climate change, weather disasters could cost as much as a trillion dollars in a single year by 2040, financial experts warned at the UN’s conference on global warming.  ‘Most insurance and re-insurance companies have no doubt that the rising tide of losses from weather-related disasters is linked with climate change,’ said Thomas Loster of German reinsurance giant Munich Re on Tuesday.”

Action Needed on Global Warming” by Jeremy Siegel, Ph.D.

“Some of the changes wrought by global warming are favorable. Warmer temperatures increase the growing seasons in Canada and Russia and reduce heating costs in northern climates. However, global warming also increases tropical storms and droughts and could disrupt the Gulf Stream that warms Europe. On balance, the above consequences are negative for the world economy, but not substantially so.

However, there is one consequence of global warming that could be absolutely catastrophic: a significant rise in sea levels due to the melting of the polar icecaps. …the continued increase in greenhouse emission can cause temperatures to rise between two and three degree Centigrade. If that happens the earth will be as warm as it was three million years ago when the seas were between 15 and 35 meters higher than today.

If this pattern continues, the seas could be 10 feet higher in a mere 60 years. Of the five largest cities in the United States (New York, LA, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia), only Chicago and my own Philadelphia would not be seriously impacted.

There may be only a very small probability that a worst-case scenario that I painted above – the flooding of the world’s coastal regions – will occur. But that’s precisely what insurance is all about. Is it not worthwhile to take necessary measures today to significantly reduce the possibility of this event?” 
 

Add comment November 17th, 2006

Politics – The Democrats Develop Some Stride

Well, the decision is made and for the next two years we will have a lame duck president while the Democrats will exert significant power in both houses.  Though I would consider myself more of a democrat as they support environmental initiatives and will likely bring a fresh face to international politics, I am concerned about them continuing to shoot themselves in the foot by potentially raising taxes and continuing to support extravagant trial lawyer litigation. 

Our society has become so damn litigious it almost makes me quake with hesitation every time I wish to enter a new venture.  Besides the astronomical increase in insurance rates to protect against potential liability for the most ridiculous of cases, (and increasing insurance is a cost that effects all of us at least indirectly), the fact that our society is so sensitive to potential legality has begun to prevent a lot of great ideas from been implemented, from allowing children to have a tetherball in the playground to letting adults establish a respectable business.  The true root of the problem are certain lawyers who will take any case, regardless of merit of misconduct, and with a no-upfront fee, attempt to ram litigation and briefs through the legal process in the hope of deriving that massive payoff wherein they will receive 40-50% of the settlement. 

Now certainly, as a self-coined ‘consumer advocate’, I do believe the interests of the consumer over big business should be closely watched (this also relates more importantly to the interests of the citizen in our democracy versus the power of corporations in our democracy).  One method of protecting the consumer against corporate malfeasance, as with Enron, is through the courts, as of our governing bodies have not established sufficient laws to protect the consumer/citizen.  And by citizen, I do not refer to the ‘corporate citizen’, which corporations have become as a ‘corporation’ by law has many of the rights of a breathing, emotional, living human. Amazing how a legal entity on a piece of paper can receive the same rights as a living human being! I jest.  In many cases, consumer/citizen laws do not adequately protect citizen interests, or worse, provide poor clarity on consumer rights, thus opening the portal to ‘advantageous’ litigation.

Word to the Dems: If you truly want to be the party of the future,

1) implement significant environmental and clean energy initiatives

2) don’t raise taxes unless we are really in grave danger of fiscal structural deficits

3) stop turning a blind eye to our litigious society

And can someone please reform the campaign financing system!!! 

1) Campaign financing should not be provided by corporations but by the citizenry

2) We should have a cap on available spend amounts for campaigns funded by a public funds

3) Some television and radio airtime should be provided for free in equal share to campaigning groups, mainly because these airwaves are public property

4) And candidates should be required to do more public debates instead of this ridiculous 30 second sound byte ‘let’s throw mud and not say anything of substance’ TV ads.  Let’s have some ultimate fighter verbal debates and not this moderating baloney where one candidate doesn’t have to answer to the tough questions and retorts of their opposition.  It seems our candidates have lost the ability of great leaders to debate as in the Lincoln-Douglas debate circuit (I can say this as I was there… jk).  You want to create more public interest into politics?  Pair up Oprah and Jerry Springer as moderators and let the debates begin.

Add comment November 8th, 2006


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