Insurance companies: unlikely planet saviours

From ABC Environment, 5 July 2010:

Insurance companies stand to lose a lot of money if the climate changes in unpredictable ways so they have become partners in the push to save the globe.

EVEN ON THE ALREADY enlarged scale of renewable energy projects, DESERTEC is ambitious. It aims to build more than 16,000 square kilometres of solar thermal and wind power plants in the sun-drenched deserts of North Africa and the Middle East. It would meet most of the power needs of those regions and supply at least 15 per cent of Europe’s electricity by 2050, backed by an enormous high-voltage DC grid. The cost? A cool 400 billion Euros.

The money has to come from somewhere, and the DESERTEC project, initiated by the environmental think tank, the Club of Rome, is backed by a consortium of some of the world’s most powerful blue chip companies, led by reinsurance giant Munich Re.

It may come as a surprise to see an insurance company at the head of list, given how notoriously tight-fisted the insurance industry is. But what’s even more surprising is that Munich Re is not alone in sinking staggering amounts of money into a vision of a sustainable future. All around the world, including Australia, the insurance industry is doing what few other industries, and even fewer governments are prepared to do – putting their money where their environmental mouth is. Read more.

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