State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate News Roundup: Week of 8/28

Seeing Irene as Harbinger of Change in Climate, New York Times, Aug. 27

As the East Coast recovers from the impacts of Hurricane Irene, the storm has revived a debate on the impacts of human-induced climate change on the strength and frequency of hurricanes. While there is widespread consensus that a warmer world will lead to more intense hurricanes, there is significant uncertainty about the magnitude of such an increase as well as about any increase in frequency.

Global Concern for Climate Change Dips Amid Other Environmental and Economic Concerns, Nielsen News, Aug. 29

A survey of internet users in 51 countries conducted by Nielsen shows that concerns about climate change have diminished relative to other environmental priorities like clean air and water and use of pesticides. However, a majority (69%) of respondents affirmed that they were “concerned” about climate change; the steepest decline in level of public concern (a 14% decrease between 2007 and 2011) took place in the U.S.

Climate change to worsen childhood asthma, Times of India, Aug. 31

A new study published in Preventative Medicine has found that global climate change could lead to an increase in the incidence of asthma in children. This study, which puts an emphasis on the health burden of climate change in children, adds to the growing body of literature on the health-related impacts of climate change.

Few insurers planning for climate change, Reuters, Sep. 1

Despite growing evidence of the link between climate change and increased loss from natural disasters, only one in eight insurers has a formal climate change risk policy. However, several large insurance companies such as Allstate and Munich Re have taken public stances on climate change, stating that recent severe weather is “part of a permanent change in the environment.”

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