Statue of Liberty

Climate Week NYC 2012: the time to act is now

Climate Week NYC got underway in New York City on 24 September with political figures and business leaders from around the world coming together to call for "a clean revolution" in the United States.

The Clean Revolution is a partnership of international statesmen and governments, business leaders and corporations, thinkers and opinion formers. It is coordinated by The Climate Group  - the non-profit organization which runs Climate Week - and calls for a swift, massive scale-up of clean energy and infrastructure, and of smart technologies and design

Swiss Re is proud to be the founding sponsor of Climate Week NYC, now in its fourth year, and Swiss Re America Holding Corporation Chairman Walter Bell was joined by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Albert II of Monaco and Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, among others, for the opening ceremony at the Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan.

Going clean for a better life

This year's event was launched with a new report from Climate Group. The report, "An American Clean Revolution -  Why the US should play to win on the clean economy," concludes that the transition to a clean energy economy could create more than one million new jobs in the US and help to stem the rise in the number of severe weather events caused by climate change.

Blair, who is also Chair of The Climate Group International Leadership Council, told a room of more than 200 attendees, "The purpose of Climate Week NYC is to say one major thing to the US and the world: Combating climate change is massively in our best interests if we want higher energy supply security, lower costs and a better life."

Seeing the future, now

Swiss Re America Holding Corporation Chairman Walter Bell speaking at Climate Week NYC 2012

Swiss Re fully endorses the need to act on climate change. Bell pointed out that society need only look at the recent past for an indication of what the future could hold if no action is taken.

"Everything we see points to the inescapable conclusion that climate change must be dealt with. Severe weather cost the US economy about USD 60 billion last year and what we are seeing around the world is a glimpse of the future - a future that could be thrust upon us because of our inability to take appropriate actions today.

"We have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the increase in global warming to the international target of 2oC," Bell said. "Above that we face irreparable ecological damage and one in which people, businesses and economies are much less likely to thrive."

A role for the insurance industry

Yet while there are risks associated with climate change and tackling its causes, there are also opportunities including for the insurance industry. With its ability to transfer risk, insurance solutions can help manage risk associated with the renewable energy industry as well as in the management of severe weather impacts. Investment in renewable energy makes economic sense because an unmitigated world will face even greater losses.

Entrepreneur and Twitter co-founder Evan Williams said: “America's long history of prosperity was built by entrepreneurial innovators in science and technology. These visionaries imagined and then created a new and better way of doing things which was the catalyst for a century of prosperity. We need powerful new thinking in that same vein in order to challenge and transcend the limits of our high-carbon economy with clean energy innovation."

Swiss Re is proud to be at the forefront of the business communities' efforts to tackle climate change and hopes that by continuing to partner with other like-minded companies and by working closely with governments, other organizations  and decision makers around the world, "the clean revolution" can be realized.

Published 27 September 2012

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