Climate change creating flood of claims

News Mar 31, 2017 by Jeff Tribe Norfolk News

It’s not to the stage of building an ark and gathering animals two-by-two.

But City of Kitchener corporate planning analyst Dustin Carey warns climate change has resulted in a rising tide of significant weather events and an associated flood of insurance claims that municipalities would be wise to consider in their asset management plans.

“The less we invest in mitigation activities today, the more we’ll have to pay in adaptations to deal with higher magnitude events later,” he said during his keynote address on Friday morning at the SCOR annual general meeting inside the LPRCA boardroom in Tillsonburg.

Climate change is the world’s largest market failure, said Carey.

“Without a cost on the pollution causing it, the public will bear the brunt of its effects.”

The University of Waterloo graduate, who has a degree in geography elevated with a Masters in climate change, supported his contention the latter is happening today with a graph indicating average temperatures rising into the ‘danger zone’, along with significantly higher insurance payouts.

“The trend is replicating what climate-risk experts have been predicting for some time.”

There are highly visible exceptions such as the Fort McMurray fire and the Ottawa/Montreal ice storm of 1998. But, with what used to be considered ‘five-year’ weather events occurring every three years now compared to the 1970s curve, Carey says the great majority of insurance risk comes from flood water events.

Integrating climate change into asset management plans falls into two main categories.

Firstly, designing facilities to be environmentally-friendlier, so as to reduce consumption of fossil fuels and their related emissions,  as well as to withstand weather events anticipated to grow in frequency and severity across their lifetime. The approach has financial implications, arguably higher upfront costs which can be mitigated over the long-term through maintenance, and operational savings — positives enhanced by anticipated rising fuel and electricity prices, along with carbon emission’s monetary implications in a province and nation sensitive to their broader costs.

“Building first well is a better option than making the build better,” said Carey.

Secondly, there is a growing realization that long-lasting storm drainage infrastructure’s capacity is often not up to contemporary and growing demands. There is an increasing trend of overcapacity events, says Carey, from what are “by no means remarkable storms.”

Much infrastructure is no longer capable of effectively handling the current standard of a five-year event, “let alone being able to accommodate any future changes in climate conditions.”

The City of Kitchener is taking proactive action, upgrading existing catchment ponds and building new ones to reflect current and future reality while committing $40 million over the next 15 years to upgrade storm draining pipes.

Increasing spending, particularly on carbon emissions, is a hard sell in some quarters.

“It absolutely can be, but public opinion has been shifting for the better on that,” said Carey, noting a recent poll indicating 75 per cent of Canadians support government action on climate change. Carey says municipalities have a large role in responding to play through embracing its effects in their asset management strategy.

“Be prepared for the changing climate we are going to be experiencing.”

There is no universal standard on how, but Carey referred to a ‘triple bottom line’ which takes into account economic, environmental, social and cultural criteria. Four questions are also seen as generally applicable: is it designed to lower carbon emissions? If not, can it be? Can it accommodate significant weather events over its life cycle? If not, can it be made to be?

“These four questions should be integrated into all asset management making decisions.”

The climate change ball is already rolling, said Carey, and while it is never too late to make effective effort, it is coming regardless.

“No matter what we do in terms of carbon emissions, we’ll see a 20 per cent increase in the incidence of five-year storm events compared to the baseline established in the last 30 years.”

And at the very least, municipalities should be prepared for that eventuality.

“This really needs to be a front-of-mind consideration in all asset management decisions,” said Carey.

“Insurance costs can’t be argued with,” he added later in conclusion, noting there is a bottom-line consideration to embracing the outlook.

“It’s not sentimentality that’s driving it. Cost avoidance is a good investment.”

Climate change creating flood of claims

Major municipal asset management plan consideration

News Mar 31, 2017 by Jeff Tribe Norfolk News

It’s not to the stage of building an ark and gathering animals two-by-two.

But City of Kitchener corporate planning analyst Dustin Carey warns climate change has resulted in a rising tide of significant weather events and an associated flood of insurance claims that municipalities would be wise to consider in their asset management plans.

“The less we invest in mitigation activities today, the more we’ll have to pay in adaptations to deal with higher magnitude events later,” he said during his keynote address on Friday morning at the SCOR annual general meeting inside the LPRCA boardroom in Tillsonburg.

Climate change is the world’s largest market failure, said Carey.

“Without a cost on the pollution causing it, the public will bear the brunt of its effects.”

The University of Waterloo graduate, who has a degree in geography elevated with a Masters in climate change, supported his contention the latter is happening today with a graph indicating average temperatures rising into the ‘danger zone’, along with significantly higher insurance payouts.

“The trend is replicating what climate-risk experts have been predicting for some time.”

There are highly visible exceptions such as the Fort McMurray fire and the Ottawa/Montreal ice storm of 1998. But, with what used to be considered ‘five-year’ weather events occurring every three years now compared to the 1970s curve, Carey says the great majority of insurance risk comes from flood water events.

Integrating climate change into asset management plans falls into two main categories.

Firstly, designing facilities to be environmentally-friendlier, so as to reduce consumption of fossil fuels and their related emissions,  as well as to withstand weather events anticipated to grow in frequency and severity across their lifetime. The approach has financial implications, arguably higher upfront costs which can be mitigated over the long-term through maintenance, and operational savings — positives enhanced by anticipated rising fuel and electricity prices, along with carbon emission’s monetary implications in a province and nation sensitive to their broader costs.

“Building first well is a better option than making the build better,” said Carey.

Secondly, there is a growing realization that long-lasting storm drainage infrastructure’s capacity is often not up to contemporary and growing demands. There is an increasing trend of overcapacity events, says Carey, from what are “by no means remarkable storms.”

Much infrastructure is no longer capable of effectively handling the current standard of a five-year event, “let alone being able to accommodate any future changes in climate conditions.”

The City of Kitchener is taking proactive action, upgrading existing catchment ponds and building new ones to reflect current and future reality while committing $40 million over the next 15 years to upgrade storm draining pipes.

Increasing spending, particularly on carbon emissions, is a hard sell in some quarters.

“It absolutely can be, but public opinion has been shifting for the better on that,” said Carey, noting a recent poll indicating 75 per cent of Canadians support government action on climate change. Carey says municipalities have a large role in responding to play through embracing its effects in their asset management strategy.

“Be prepared for the changing climate we are going to be experiencing.”

There is no universal standard on how, but Carey referred to a ‘triple bottom line’ which takes into account economic, environmental, social and cultural criteria. Four questions are also seen as generally applicable: is it designed to lower carbon emissions? If not, can it be? Can it accommodate significant weather events over its life cycle? If not, can it be made to be?

“These four questions should be integrated into all asset management making decisions.”

The climate change ball is already rolling, said Carey, and while it is never too late to make effective effort, it is coming regardless.

“No matter what we do in terms of carbon emissions, we’ll see a 20 per cent increase in the incidence of five-year storm events compared to the baseline established in the last 30 years.”

And at the very least, municipalities should be prepared for that eventuality.

“This really needs to be a front-of-mind consideration in all asset management decisions,” said Carey.

“Insurance costs can’t be argued with,” he added later in conclusion, noting there is a bottom-line consideration to embracing the outlook.

“It’s not sentimentality that’s driving it. Cost avoidance is a good investment.”

Climate change creating flood of claims

Major municipal asset management plan consideration

News Mar 31, 2017 by Jeff Tribe Norfolk News

It’s not to the stage of building an ark and gathering animals two-by-two.

But City of Kitchener corporate planning analyst Dustin Carey warns climate change has resulted in a rising tide of significant weather events and an associated flood of insurance claims that municipalities would be wise to consider in their asset management plans.

“The less we invest in mitigation activities today, the more we’ll have to pay in adaptations to deal with higher magnitude events later,” he said during his keynote address on Friday morning at the SCOR annual general meeting inside the LPRCA boardroom in Tillsonburg.

Climate change is the world’s largest market failure, said Carey.

“Without a cost on the pollution causing it, the public will bear the brunt of its effects.”

The University of Waterloo graduate, who has a degree in geography elevated with a Masters in climate change, supported his contention the latter is happening today with a graph indicating average temperatures rising into the ‘danger zone’, along with significantly higher insurance payouts.

“The trend is replicating what climate-risk experts have been predicting for some time.”

There are highly visible exceptions such as the Fort McMurray fire and the Ottawa/Montreal ice storm of 1998. But, with what used to be considered ‘five-year’ weather events occurring every three years now compared to the 1970s curve, Carey says the great majority of insurance risk comes from flood water events.

Integrating climate change into asset management plans falls into two main categories.

Firstly, designing facilities to be environmentally-friendlier, so as to reduce consumption of fossil fuels and their related emissions,  as well as to withstand weather events anticipated to grow in frequency and severity across their lifetime. The approach has financial implications, arguably higher upfront costs which can be mitigated over the long-term through maintenance, and operational savings — positives enhanced by anticipated rising fuel and electricity prices, along with carbon emission’s monetary implications in a province and nation sensitive to their broader costs.

“Building first well is a better option than making the build better,” said Carey.

Secondly, there is a growing realization that long-lasting storm drainage infrastructure’s capacity is often not up to contemporary and growing demands. There is an increasing trend of overcapacity events, says Carey, from what are “by no means remarkable storms.”

Much infrastructure is no longer capable of effectively handling the current standard of a five-year event, “let alone being able to accommodate any future changes in climate conditions.”

The City of Kitchener is taking proactive action, upgrading existing catchment ponds and building new ones to reflect current and future reality while committing $40 million over the next 15 years to upgrade storm draining pipes.

Increasing spending, particularly on carbon emissions, is a hard sell in some quarters.

“It absolutely can be, but public opinion has been shifting for the better on that,” said Carey, noting a recent poll indicating 75 per cent of Canadians support government action on climate change. Carey says municipalities have a large role in responding to play through embracing its effects in their asset management strategy.

“Be prepared for the changing climate we are going to be experiencing.”

There is no universal standard on how, but Carey referred to a ‘triple bottom line’ which takes into account economic, environmental, social and cultural criteria. Four questions are also seen as generally applicable: is it designed to lower carbon emissions? If not, can it be? Can it accommodate significant weather events over its life cycle? If not, can it be made to be?

“These four questions should be integrated into all asset management making decisions.”

The climate change ball is already rolling, said Carey, and while it is never too late to make effective effort, it is coming regardless.

“No matter what we do in terms of carbon emissions, we’ll see a 20 per cent increase in the incidence of five-year storm events compared to the baseline established in the last 30 years.”

And at the very least, municipalities should be prepared for that eventuality.

“This really needs to be a front-of-mind consideration in all asset management decisions,” said Carey.

“Insurance costs can’t be argued with,” he added later in conclusion, noting there is a bottom-line consideration to embracing the outlook.

“It’s not sentimentality that’s driving it. Cost avoidance is a good investment.”