Insurance companies that have long said they’ll cover anything, at the right price, are increasingly ruling out fossil fuel projects because of climate change – to cheers from environmental campaigners.
More than a dozen groups that track what policies insurers have on high-emissions activities say the industry is turning its back on oil, gas and coal.
The alliance, Insure Our Future, said Wednesday that 62% of reinsurance companies – which help other insurers spread their risks – have plans to stop covering coal projects, while 38% are now excluding some oil and natural gas projects. (The Insure Our Future report on re/insurers’ fossil fuel activities can be viewed here).
In part, investors are demanding it. But insurers have also begun to make the link between fossil fuel infrastructure, such as mines and pipelines, and the impact that greenhouse gas emissions are having on other parts of their business.
Green bonds. Issuance is expected to hit a record high this year and so are municipal green bond offerings. My friend and colleague Mark Funkhouser explains why local leaders should take advantage of this alignment of financial interests and moral ones.
More spending flexibility in the American Rescue Plan. Legislation now making its way through Congress would allow governments to use some of their ARP funds for highway and transit projects and to address natural disasters.
Rising income tax revenue. The K-shaped recovery and federal stimulus has resulted in the largest median state personal income jump in 14 years. According to Fitch Ratings, state income tax revenues increased by 6.3% last year and this year is expected to produce similar growth. This has implications for public pensions, tax cuts and — of course — the 2022 midterms.
Nearly a quarter of U.S. critical infrastructure—utilities, airports, police stations and more—is at risk of being inundated by flooding, according to a new report by First Street Foundation, a Brooklyn nonprofit dedicated to making climate risk more visible to the public.
Roughly 14% of Americans’ properties face direct risk from major storms, but the study shows danger extends far from those property lines.
The authors say the report provides the first holistic understanding of flood risk beyond individual property level. In addition to critical infrastructure, the report assesses commercial buildings, millions of miles of roads and socially important institutions such as schools and museums.
“Even if your home is far from the risk of flooding or forest fires, you may not so easily escape the systemic impacts from vulnerable critical infrastructure that sometimes extends hundreds of miles,” said Jesse Keenan, a climate-change and real-estate expert at Tulane University in New Orleans.
Author(s): Leslie Kaufman, Rachael Dottle, Mira Rojanasakul