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Climate change events increasing claims paid in Australia – Reinsurance News


Climate change-induced natural catastrophe events have resulted in an increase in claims paid by Australian property insurers and consequently pushed their loss ratio up from 66.1% in 2019 to 84.6% in 2021, according to a new report from GlobalData.

australia-flag-mapThe loss ratio is expected to remain above the 80% levels over the next five years, impacting the profit margins of the insurers. 

The report, ‘Australia General Insurance: Key Trends and Opportunities to 2026’, estimates the paid claims of Australia’s property insurance segment to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 4.0% from AUD6.0 billion ($4.5 billion) in 2021 to AUD7.3 billion ($5.5 billion) in 2026. 

Ashish Raj, Insurance Analyst at GlobalData, said: “Due to various geographical reasons, Australia is prone to natural catastrophes, and the frequency of such events has increased recently. In the last two years, the country has suffered wildfires, floods, cyclones, and earthquakes which have resulted in a significant increase in property insurance claims.” 

“High Nat-Cat led losses along with the slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled property insurers to increase premium significantly in the last couple of years. In fact, some buyers have been billed a renewal price increase of more than 300%.” 

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The floods that occurred in February 2022 heavily impacted New South Wales and Southeast Queensland, resulting in 118,000 property damage claims amounting to AUD1.8 billion ($1.3 billion), as of 10 March 2022. The floods in the two states in March 2021 led to 107,844 claims of worth AUD1 billion ($748.7million). 

The premium rate is expected to rise further over the next few years which can make property insurance more expensive for many policyholders. 

The expected increase is likely to have a negative impact on the property insurance segment, leading to underinsurance and even non-renewal of policies in the long-run. According to the Climate Council of Australia, 4% of properties will become uninsurable by 2030. 

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The future of global catastrophic risk events from climate change » Yale Climate Connections

The future of global catastrophic risk events from climate change » Yale Climate Connections

Four times since 1900, human civilization has suffered global catastrophes with extreme impacts: World War I (40 million killed), the 1918-19 influenza pandemic (40-50 million killed), World War II (40-50 million killed), and the COVID-19 pandemic (an economic impact in the trillions, and a 2020-21 death toll of 14.9 million, according to the World Health Organization).

These are the only events since the beginning of the 20th century that meet the United Nations’s definition of global catastrophic risk (GCR): a catastrophe global in impact that kills over 10 million people or causes over $10 trillion (2022 USD) in damage.

But human activity is “creating greater and more dangerous risk” and increasing the odds of global catastrophic risk events, by increasingly pushing humans beyond nine “planetary boundaries” of environmental limits within which humanity can safely operate, warns a recent United Nations report, “Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction – Our World at Risk: Transforming Governance for a Resilient Future” (GAR2022) and its companion paper, “Global catastrophic risk and planetary boundaries: The relationship to global targets and disaster risk reduction” (see July post, “Recklessness defined: breaking 6 of 9 planetary boundaries of safety“).

These reports, endorsed by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, make the case that the combined effects of disasters, economic vulnerabilities, and overtaxing of ecosystems are creating “a dangerous tendency for the world to tend toward the Global Collapse scenario. This scenario presents a world where planetary boundaries have been extensively crossed, and if GCR events have not already occurred or are in the process of occurring, then their likelihood of doing so in the future is extreme … and total societal collapse is a possibility.”

Figure 1. The nine planetary boundaries beyond which there is a risk of destabilization of the Earth system, which would threaten human societal development, April 2022 version. (Image credit: Stockholm Resilience Institute; plot annotated for clarification)
Figure 2. Types of global catastrophic risk (GCR) events. (Image credit: Thomas Cernev, 2022, Global catastrophic risk and planetary boundaries: The relationship to global targets and disaster risk reduction, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction)

Global catastrophic risk (GCR) events

Human civilization has evolved during the Holocene Era, the stability of which is now threatened by human-caused climate change. As a result, global catastrophic risk events from climate change are growing increasingly likely, the U.N. May 2022 reports conclude. There are many other potential global catastrophic risk events, both natural and human-caused (Figure 2), posing serious risks and warranting humanity’s careful consideration. But the report cautions of “large uncertainty both for the likelihood of such events occurring and for their wider impact.” (Note that there is at least one other type of Global Catastrophic Risk event the report omits: an intense geomagnetic storm. A repeat of the massive 1859 Carrington Event geomagentic storm, which might crash the electrical grid for 130 million people in the U.S. for multiple years, could well be a global catastrophic risk event.)

Five types of GCR events with increasing likelihood in a warmer climate

1) Drought
The most serious immediate global catastrophic risk event associated with climate change might well be a food-system shock caused by extreme droughts and floods hitting multiple major global grain-producing “breadbaskets” simultaneously. Such an event could lead to significant food prices spikes and result in mass starvation, war, and a severe global economic recession. This prospect exists in 2022-23, exacerbated by war and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The odds of such a food crisis will steadily increase as the climate warms. The author of this post presented one such scenario in an op-ed published in The Hill last year, and insurance giant Lloyds of London detailed another such scenario in a “food system shock” report issued in 2015. Lloyds gave uncomfortably high odds of such an event’s occurring—well over 0.5% per year, or more than a 14% chance over a 30-year period.

2) War
In his frightening book Food or War, published in October 2019, science writer Julian Cribb documents 25 food conflicts that have led to famine, war, and the deaths of more than a million people – mostly caused by drought. For example, China’s drought and famine of 1630-31 led to a revolt that resulted in the collapse of the Ming Dynasty. Another drought in China in the mid-nineteenth century led to the Taiping rebellion, which claimed 20-30 million lives.

Since 1960, Cribb says, 40-60% of armed conflicts have been linked to resource scarcity, and 80% of major armed conflicts occurred in vulnerable dry ecosystems. Hungry people are not peaceful people, Cribb argues, and ranks South Asia – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka – as being at the most risk of future food/water availability conflicts. In particular, nuclear powers India and Pakistan have a long history of conflict, so climate change can be expected to increase the risk of nuclear war between them. A “limited” nuclear war between India and Pakistan, 100 bombs dropped on cities. would be capable of triggering a global “nuclear winter” with a death toll up to two billion, Helfand (2013) estimated. 

3) Sea-level rise, combined with land subsidence
During the coming decades, it will be very difficult to avoid a global catastrophic risk event from sea-level rise, when combined with coastal subsidence from groundwater pumping, loss of river sedimentation from flood-control structures, and other human-caused effects: A moderate global warming scenario (RCP 4.5) will put $7.9-12.7 trillion dollars of global coastal assets at risk of flooding by 2100, according to a 2020 study by Kirezci et al., “Projections of global-scale extreme sea levels and resulting episodic coastal flooding over the 21st Century.” While this study did not take into account assets that inevitably will be protected by new coastal defenses to be erected, neither did it consider the indirect costs of sea-level rise from increased storm surge damage, mass migration away from the coast, salinification of fresh water supplies, and many other factors. A 2019 report by the Global Commission on Adaptation estimated that sea level rise will lead to damages of more than $1 trillion per year by 2050.

Furthermore, sea-level rise, combined with other stressors, might bring about megacity collapse – a frightening possibility with infrastructure destruction, salinification of fresh water resources, and a real estate collapse potentially combining to create a mass exodus of people, reducing the tax base of the city to the point that it can no longer provide basic services. The collapse of even one megacity might have severe impacts on the global economy, creating increased chances of a cascade of global catastrophic risk events. One megacity potentially at risk of this fate is the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, with a population of 10 million). Land subsidence (up to two inches per year) and sea-level rise (about 1/8 inch per year) are so high in Jakarta that Indonesia currently is constructing a new capital city in Borneo. Plans call for moving 8,000 civil servants there in 2024, and eventually move 1.5 million workers from Jakarta to the new capital by 2045.

4) Pandemics
As Earth’s climate warms, wild animals will be forced to relocate their habitats and increasingly enter regions with large human populations. This development will dramatically increase the risk of a jump of viruses from animals to humans that could lead to a pandemic, according to a 2022 paper by Carlson et al. in Nature, “Climate change increases cross-species viral transmission risk.” Bats are the type of animal of most concern.

Note that in the case of the 1918-19 influenza GCR event, a separate GCR event helped trigger it: WWI, because of the mass movement of troops that spread the disease. The U.N. reports emphasize that one GCR event can trigger other GCR events, with climate change acting as a threat multiplier.

Figure 3. Predicted change in surface temperature 51-100 years after a failure of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Catastrophic cooling is predicted to affect Northern Europe, the edge of arctic sea ice  reach northern France, and temperatures in the U.S. fall 1-2 degrees Celsius (1.8-3.6°F). Sea ice edges are shown in bright blue; the sea ice edge would remain virtually unchanged in the Southern Hemisphere, but advance significantly equatorward in the Northern Hemisphere, reaching northern France. (Image credit: modified from Orihuela-Pinto et al., 2022, Interbasin and interhemispheric impacts of a collapsed Atlantic Overturning Circulation, Nature Climate Change,

5) Ocean current changes
Increased precipitation and glacial meltwater from global warming could flood the North Atlantic with enough fresh water to slow down or even halt the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), the ocean current system that transports warm, salty water from the tropics to the North Atlantic and sends cold water to the south along the ocean floor. If the AMOC were to shut down, the Gulf Stream would no longer pump warm, tropical water to the North Atlantic. Average temperatures would cool in Europe by three degrees Celsius (5.4°F) or more in just a few years – not enough to trigger a full-fledged ice age, but enough cooling to bring snows in June and killing frosts in July and August, as occurred in the famed 1816 “year without a summer” caused by the eruption of Mt. Tambora. In addition, shifts in the jet stream pattern might bring about a more La Niña-like climate, causing an increase in drought to much of the Northern Hemisphere, greatly straining global food and water supplies.

study published in August 2021 looked at eight independent measures of the AMOC, and found that all eight showed early warning signs that the ocean current system may be nearing collapse. “The AMOC may have evolved from relatively stable conditions to a point close to a critical transition,” the authors wrote.

Figure 4. A pteropod shell is shown dissolving over time in seawater with a lower pH. When carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean from the atmosphere, the chemistry of the seawater is changed. (image credit: NOAA)

6) Ocean acidification
The increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is partially absorbed by the oceans, making them more acidic. Since pre-industrial times, the pH of surface ocean waters has fallen by 0.1 pH units, to 8.1 – approximately a 30 percent increase in acidity. Increased acidity is harmful to a wide variety of marine life, and acidic oceans have been linked to several of Earth’s five major extinction events through geologic time.

Under a business-as-usual emission scenario, continued emissions of carbon dioxide could make ocean pH around 7.8 by 2100. The last time the ocean pH was this low was during the middle Miocene, 14-17 million years ago. The Earth was several degrees warmer and a major extinction event was occurring.

7) A punishing surprise
In 2004, Harvard climate scientists Paul Epstein and James McCarthy conclude in a paper titled “Assessing Climate Stability” that: “We are already observing signs of instability within the climate system. There is no assurance that the rate of greenhouse gas buildup will not force the system to oscillate erratically and yield significant and punishing surprises.” Hurricane Sandy of 2012 was an example of such a punishing surprise, and climate change will increasingly bring low-probability, high impact weather events – “black swan” events – that no one anticipated. As the late climate scientist Wally Broecker once said, “Climate is an angry beast, and we are poking at it with sticks.”

Figure 5. An 18 km-high volcanic plume from one of a series of explosive eruptions of Mount Pinatubo on June 12, 1991, viewed from Clark Air Base. Three days later, the main eruption produced a plume that rose nearly 40 km, penetrating well into the stratosphere. Pinatubo’s sulfur emissions cooled the Earth by about 0.5 degree Celsius (0.9°F) for 1-2 years. (Photograph by David H. Harlow, USGS.)

Volcanic eruptions: A decreasing likelihood in a warming climate

Climate change can also be expected to reduce the likelihood of one type of global catastrophic risk event: the impacts of a massive volcanic eruption. A magnitude-seven “super-colossal” eruption with a Volcanic Explosivity Index of seven (VEI 7) occurred in 1815, when the Indonesian volcano Tambora erupted. (The Volcanic Explosivity Index is a logarithmic scale like the Richter scale used to rate earthquakes, so a magnitude 7 eruption would eject ten times more material than a magnitude 6 eruptions like that of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991.)

The sulfur pumped by Tambora’s eruption into the stratosphere dimmed sunlight so extensively that Northern Hemisphere temperatures fell by about 0.4-0.7 degree Celsius (0.7-1.0°F) for 1-2 years afterward. The result: the famed Year Without a Summer in 1816. Killing frosts and snow storms in May and June 1816 in Eastern Canada and New England caused widespread crop failures, and lake and river ice were observed as far south as Pennsylvania in July and August. Famine and food shortages rocked the world.

Verosub (2011) estimated that future eruptions capable of causing “volcanic winter” effects severe enough to depress global temperatures and trigger widespread crop failures for one to two years afterwards should occur about once every 200-300 years, which translates to a 10-14% chance over a 30-year period. An eruption today like the Tambora event of 1815 would challenge global food supplies already stretched thin by rising population, decreased water availability, and conversion of cropland to grow biofuels.

However, society’s vulnerability to major volcanic eruptions is less than it was, since the globe has warmed significantly in the past 200 years. The famines from the eruption of 1815 occurred during the Little Ice Age, when global temperatures were about 0.9 degree Celsius (1.6°F) cooler than today, so crop failures from a Tambora-scale eruption would be less widespread than is the case with current global temperatures. Fifty years from now, when global temperatures may be another 0.5 degree Celsius warmer, a magnitude seven eruption should be able to cool the climate only to 1980s levels. However, severe impacts to food supplies still would result, since major volcanic eruptions cause significant drought. (To illustrate, in the wake of the 1991 climate-cooling VEI 6 eruption of the Philippines’ Mt. Pinatubo, land areas of the globe in 1992 experienced their highest levels of drought for any year of the 1950-2000 period.)

Unfortunately, the future risk of a volcanic global catastrophic risk event may be increasing from causes unrelated to climate change, because of the increasing amount of critical infrastructure being located next to seven known volcanic hot spots, argued Mani et al. in a 2021 paper, “Global catastrophic risk from lower magnitude volcanic eruptions.” For example, a future VEI 6 eruption of Washington’s Mount Rainier could cost more than $7 trillion over a 5-year period because of air traffic disruptions; similarly, a VEI 6 eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Merapi could cost more than $2.5 trillion.


Complex systems like human cultures are resilient, but are also chaotic and unstable, and vulnerable to sudden collapse when multiple shocks occur. Jared Diamond’s provocative 2005 book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, described flourishing civilizations or cultures that eventually collapsed, like the Greenland Norse, Maya, Anasazi, and Easter Islanders. Environmental problems like deforestation, soil problems, and water availability were shown to be a key factor in many of these collapses.

“One of the main lessons to be learned from the collapses of the Maya, Anasazi, Easter Islanders, and those other past societies,” Diamond wrote, “is that a society’s steep decline may begin only a decade or two after the society reaches its peak numbers, wealth, and power. … The reason is simple: maximum population, wealth, resource consumption, and waste production mean maximum environmental impact, approaching the limit where impact outstrips resources.”

Some of Diamond’s conclusions, however, have been challenged by anthropologists. For example, the 2010 book, Questioning Collapse: Human Resilience, Ecological Vulnerability, and the Aftermath of Empire, argued that societies are resilient and have a long history of adapting to, and recovering from, climate change-induced collapses. But a 2021 paper by Beard et al., “Assessing Climate Change’s Contribution to Global Catastrophic Risk,” argued, pointed to “reasons to be skeptical that such resilience can be easily extrapolated into the future. First, the relatively stable context of the Holocene, with well-functioning, resilient ecosystems, has greatly assisted recovery, while anthropogenic climate change is more rapid, pervasive, global, and severe.”

To paraphrase, one can think of the nine planetary boundaries as credit cards, six of those nine credit cards charged to the hilt to develop civilization as it now exists. But Mother Nature is an unforgiving lender, and there is precious little credit available to help avoid a cascade of interconnected global catastrophic risk events that might send human society into total collapse, if society unwisely continues its business-as-usual approach.

Avoiding climate change-induced global catastrophic risk events is of urgent importance, and the UN report is filled with promising approaches that can help. For example, it explains how systemic risk in food systems from rainfall variability in the Middle East can be reduced using traditional and indigenous dryland management practices involving rotational grazing and access to reserves in the dry season. More generally, the encouraging clean energy revolution now under way globally needs to be accelerated. And humanity must do its utmost to pay back the loans taken from the Bank of Gaia, stop burning fossil fuels and polluting the environment, and restoring degraded ecosystems. If we do not, the planet that sustains us will no longer be able to.

Bob Henson contributed to this post.

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Climate change driving catastrophic weather events – NIWA

Climate change driving catastrophic weather events - NIWA

Increasingly chaotic weather around the world can be attributed to climate change, a top NIWA scientist says.

Dr Sam Dean, NIWA’s principal climate scientist, told Q + A’s Jack Tame on Sunday that extreme weather events have been intensified by the changing climate.

“The risk is double what it would’ve been without climate change and the intensity is about 10% more.”

In recent weeks, parts of Europe and North Africa have seen record-breaking heatwaves, which have caused devastating wildfires and even melted airport runways in London.

Dr Dean says some of the heatwaves were “very unlikely, if not impossible” to have occurred if it hadn’t been for climate change.

Back in New Zealand, there are concerns that rising temperatures will create fire conditions similar to those in Australia, where bushfires caused widespread damage.

2021 was the hottest year in New Zealand on record, according to NIWA.

“I think for all of us, fire is a scary thing that can be truly destructive and terrifying,” Dr Dean said.

He says areas on the east of the South Island and Central Otago are particularly vulnerable.

“The risk of the kind of fire in places that we live is going to increase if we don’t mitigate.”

Dr Dean says the cost of the impacts from climate change far outweigh the costs of implementing mitigation strategies.

“We’re looking at how those costs are going to increase in the future.

“That provides motivation for spending money now to mitigate against potential damages… social and financial costs.”

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Should grand prix circuits change their rules to allow flares at Formula 1 events? · RaceFans

Should grand prix circuits change their rules to allow flares at Formula 1 events? · RaceFans

Formula 1 grands prix are routinely among the biggest live sporting events in the world by the sheer volume of fans who attend.

At the bigger venues like Silverstone or Circuit of the Americas, race day attendance easily reaches over 100,000 fans, with those numbers growing in recent years as F1’s popularity continues to pick up.

With so many people watching races, the passionate and vibrant fan culture witnessed at some of the more popular grands prix has always been one of the best qualities of the sport. And flares have become a major means for fans to express their love for their heroes.

Charles Leclerc will never forget the scene in front of him on the podium at the 2019 Italian Grand Prix after delivering victory for the Tifosi with red flares being set off by fans watching from the track below. The sight of Max Verstappen rounding the Hans Ernst Bocht for the final time in 2021 to take a home victory at the Dutch Grand Prix while bathed in a thick orange haze will always be one of the most iconic images of his championship winning season.

Circuit atmosphere, Red Bull Ring, 2022
The Red Bull Ring was bathed in orange smoke

However, this smokey symbol of celebration is not without its problems. For as common as flares have become in the grandstands of grand prix events, they technically are not even allowed to be brought into venues to start with.

Flares are explicitly banned by name from the Australian Grand Prix as well as from Imola, host of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. But many other circuits – such as Silverstone and Circuit of the Americas – prohibit ticket holders from bringing “smoke canisters” and “incendiary devices” to their events. Even at many tracks where flares are most common, they often are not explicitly allowed by terms and conditions of entry. Imola, as mentioned, forbids flares, yet many Tifosi were pictured setting off scarlet red smoke in spectator areas, while Spa-Francorchamps only lists “firearms, bladed weapons and any other type of dangerous item” as a category of forbidden items that flares may arguably fall under.

The use of flares by fans reached a flashpoint in last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix with plumes of orange smoke drifting over the track during the start of Sunday’s race, with some drivers later commenting that it had very slightly affected their visibility into turn seven on the opening lap. So thick was the smoke, one fan captured video of how the view of the track was completely obstructed at the start of the race from the centre grandstands between turns six and seven.


Didn’t even see the start 😭😭 #fyp #formula1 #austriangp #maxverstappen #redbull #checo #foryoupage #orangearmy #smoke #charlesleclerc #ferrari #f1 #austria #grandprix #fypシ

♬ original sound – Ranvision Official

But despite being technically prohibited from grand prix venues, should fans with flares be clamped down on, or should Formula 1 embrace this colourful form of expression and encourage circuits to allow them at their venues?


As already mentioned, flare smoke has become a key element of the fan culture at some European races – especially those that attract strong support for Ferrari or for world champion Max Verstappen. With Formula 1 having raced at so many circuits over the years with visibly empty grandstands, it should be a joy to see fans rich in both number and spirit expressing their love of the sport, their favourite driver or team during races.

The orange flares often seen at Zandvoort, the Red Bull Ring and even Spa-Francorchamps are becoming just as much an icon of modern F1 fan culture as the red flares used by the Tifosi at Imola and Monza are. Formula 1 certainly does not seem to mind sharing lingering wide shots of orange smoke covering grandstands on its world feed coverage.

There’s also the argument that even if bringing flares to circuits is discouraged or outright forbidden, the rules could be opened up to allow fans who want to show their support in this colourful way can do so, but with very strict rules about what is permitted – maybe even only allowing approved devices to be purchased at the circuit itself.


The main reason flares are prohibited from racing circuits is easy to figure out: safety. Not only is anything that combusts a potential fire risk, there’s also the health impact that smoke can have on other spectators around them who likely have not consented to their being filled by coloured smoke.

Inhaling potentially toxic fumes and chemicals from flare smoke is enough of a reason to argue flares have no place in grandstands and spectator areas. There’s also the environmental concern, as releasing those into the atmosphere is not ideal for the local ecosystem and potentially human residents who happen to live close to the confines of the circuit.

Finally, as demonstrated so visually in the Austrian Grand Prix, there’s the matter of flares impeding visibility during races. Not just for the drivers who have every expectation for their visibility not to be impeded by artificial factors, but for the other spectators who also should expect to be able to at least see the race that they have paid considerable money to watch.

I say

As Formula 1 enjoys a boom period, attracting legions of new fans across the world, the last thing the sport wants to do is to risk alienating some of those who pay good money to watch their heroes racing live and in person. The scenes of proud Dutch fans honouring their first grand prix winner and world champion by lighting the grandstands in orange is a spectacle in itself, while the Tifosi have long been rightly celebrated for being the most vivid, impassioned and devoted fanbase of any team or driver in motorsport.

Such visual support isn’t only impressive to witness, it also adds a true sense of home support to Formula 1 that is commonplace in most other sports like soccer, American football, hockey or basketball. The Dutch Grand Prix truly feels like Verstappen’s home race, while the Italian Grand Prix is unambiguously Ferrari territory due to the sea of red seen in the stands. The colour that flares can add to the atmosphere can very much help to make each round feel like its own event, rather than races held at soulless circuits with empty seats and little energy.

However, flares are prohibited from F1 races for good reasons. But while the frequency in which we see flares at races might cause some concerns about security at grand prix events, it would seem a shame if they were to disappear completely from the grandstands.

What fans should exercise – and what the sport should expect from its fans – is common sense. When the level of smoke at the start of the Austrian Grand Prix becomes a talking point for drivers after the race and some fans miss the on track action as a result, it’s clear that is going too far. But if fans can show some reasonable constraint, flares can hopefully continue to add to the fan atmosphere during Formula 1 races into the future.

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Celebration to Panic: Mass Shootings Change How Some View Crowded Events

Celebration to Panic: Mass Shootings Change How Some View Crowded Events

Some are thinking twice about attending large gatherings in the wake of the mass shootings at Fourth of July celebrations in Illinois and Philadelphia.

D.C.-area resident Juan Carlos Orejarena told News4 he tries to keep watch of his surroundings.

“Always, always in the back of your head. It’s a reality and we can’t ignore it,” Orejarena said.

He and his family opted to celebrate Independence Day at home. His son, Rodrigo, says he’s grown up in an era where gun violence is top of mind.

“It’s really saddening because I’ve been practicing shooting drills since I was in school, since I was a little kid. It’s something that makes me sad that I have to think about,” Rodrigo said.

Dr. GiShawn Mance-Early, an associate professor of Psychology at Howard University, says it’s OK to have doubts about attending crowded events.

“It is a sense of loss, that we’re all kind of having this collective trauma together. The loss of our ability to just kind of be,” Manc-Early said.

She said that while some might feel comfortable in crowded situations, it’s important to remember that others might not.

“I want to normalize the response of ‘Hey, I’m anxious. I don’t know if I want to be in this large setting,'” Manc-Early said.

A tourist from Europe who came to D.C. to see the Fourth of July fireworks told News4 he wasn’t scared and doesn’t want to live in fear.

“We all cope in different ways. For some, they need to have the sense of — ‘I need to have the sense of freedom. I need to feel like I can live,'” Manc-Early said.

FBI crime statistics show active shooter incidents have increased in recent years from 31 in 2017 to 61 in 2021.

But Mance-Early said it’s important to keep things in perspective.

“It feels as though it’s happening quite often. And the numbers are increasing,” she said. “However, in the grand scheme of natural disasters, different types of traumas that are happening, the numbers are smaller.”

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Ubisoft wants to spread climate change awareness with these in-game events

Ubisoft wants to spread climate change awareness with these in-game events

Ubisoft has detailed how two of its games hope to spread awareness about the impact of climate change. 

The details come as part of the 2022 Green Game Jam (opens in new tab), which judged games on the three-fold theme of Food, Forests, and our Future. 

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Ubisoft to Feature In-Game Climate Change Events for Green Game Jam 2022

Ubisoft to Feature In-Game Climate Change Events for Green Game Jam 2022

As part of Green Game Jam 2022, Ubisoft is set to be one of several studios spearheading efforts to promote the fight against climate change with special in-game events.

Green Game Jam was started in 2020 by Playing for the Planet, a UN-led initiative that strives to “inspire young people to learn and act in support of the environment” by collaborating with the gaming industry.

In addition to the sales of a tree-themed in-game charity item for the Brawlhalla World Tree Initiative and an exclusive Charity Pack within Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, two other Ubisoft titles will soon debut some dramatic “activations” to players.

Riders Republic, Ubisoft’s arcade-y extreme sports sandbox released this past October, will invite players to join forces to prevent Sequoia National Park from burning down in-game unannounced.

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Riders Republic and Skull and Bones will have in-game events aimed at tackling climate change

Riders Republic and Skull and Bones will have in-game events aimed at tackling climate change

Riders Republic and Skull and Bones will have in-game events aimed at tackling climate change. 

Ubisoft is using two of its virtual offerings to highlight some very real issues. In collaboration with Playing for the Planet (opens in new tab), the company will host in-game events in Riders Republic and the long-awaited Skull and Bones designed to raise awareness about the impact that climate change is having on our world.

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Climate change role clear in many extreme events but social factors also key, study finds

Climate change is to blame for the majority of the heatwaves being recorded around the planet but the relation to other extreme events impacts on society is less clear, according to a study.

“I think on the one hand we overestimate climate change because it’s now quite common that every time an extreme event happens, there is a big assumption that climate change is playing a big role, which is not always the case,” said Friederike Otto, a climate change and environment professor at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, who was one of the lead authors of the research.

“But on the other hand, we really underestimate those events where climate change does play a role in what the costs are, especially the non-economic costs of extreme weather events to our societies.”

In the study published in the journal IOP Publishing, Otto’s team used “attribution science” to pore over available international data, literature and climate models – as well as the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports – and calculate how human-induced climate change is affecting the impact of five types of extreme weather events: heatwaves, heavy rainfall, drought, wildfires and tropical cyclones.

They say that in the case of heatwaves, the role of climate change is unequivocal, and that the average and extreme heat levels in every continent across the globe are increasing specifically because of human-caused climate change.

A heatwave with a one in 50 chance of happening in pre-industrial times is now almost five times more likely to happen and will be 1.2C hotter, according to an IPCC report. In the past 20 years there have been 157,000 deaths from 34 heatwaves, according to data from the EMDAT disaster database. Yet the impact of human-induced climate change on heatwaves and the repercussions are still largely underestimated.

“One big reason why we underestimate heatwaves so dramatically is because no one’s dropping dead on the street during a heatwave, or at least very few people do,” Otto said.

Most people died from pre-existing conditions suddenly becoming acute, Otto said, and this often did not show up in data. Wildfires were also one of the big climate impacts not talked about enough, Otto said.

For other events such as droughts, floods and tropical cyclones, there is a more nuanced link to climate change. For example, there are some regions of the world where droughts are becoming worse because of human-caused climate change, such as southern Africa, Otto notes, while in other droughts the climate change signal is either not there or very small.

“By focusing too much on climate change, it really takes the responsibility, but also the agency, away to address these local drivers of disasters such as high poverty rates, missing infrastructure, investment, missing healthcare system … all these aspects of exposure and vulnerability that make every drought a catastrophe,” Otto said.

“That will not go away even if we stop burning fossil fuels today. I think that that is why the overestimation of climate change – by basically blaming this all on climate change – is not very helpful for actually dealing [with] and for actually improving resilience to these threats.”

Much of the problem in figuring out exactly to what extent climate change was responsible for the impact of extreme weather events, Otto said, lay in the lack of reliable data around the globe.

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There is not enough information coming from lower- and middle-income countries, although these are the places more likely to be at risk of the repercussions of human-induced climate change.

Already there’s been substantial scientific progress in the last few years in attributing extreme events and their consequences to human-made climate change, said Frances Moore, a professor of environmental economics at the University of California, Davis, who was not involved in the study.

“But an important caveat is that the consequences of climate change do not only operate through extremes,” said Moore. Changes in “average conditions” can also have large consequences for mortality, agriculture, worker productivity and safety. “It may well be that the aggregate consequences of these changing, ‘non-extreme’ conditions constitute a large fraction of total climate change impacts.”

Otto called for a broader definition of what was considered as “risk” in climate change modelling, rather than simply sticking to hazards and impact. Other factors such as the effects that extreme weather has on individuals, labour productivity, infrastructure, agricultural systems and property should be taken into account, he said.

“We started at ‘no one was ever talking about climate change’ and now we’ve sort of moved over to ‘blaming a lot of things on climate change’,” Otto said. “[This is] a plea towards realising that reality is somewhat messy, in the middle, and that we need to disentangle these drivers better in order to actually prioritise our adaptation and resilience building to really address climate change properly.”

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SB56 UN Climate Change Conference Side event: Update on COP26 Health and Climate Programme

In November 2021, World Health Organization (WHO), together with the UK Government and other partners, established the COP26 Health Programme – a flagship initiative to bring a stronger health focus and ambition to the UN climate negotiations.

As part of the COP26 Health Programme, over 50 countries have already committed to build climate resilient and low carbon health systems. Countries agreed to take concrete steps towards creating health systems that are resilient to growing climate impacts, while many countries also committed to transform their health systems to be more environmentally sustainable and low carbon. Fourteen countries have also set a target date to reach net zero carbon emissions in their health system before 2050.

These country commitments will at the same time promote health, address climate change and guide countries towards a healthy and green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO and its partners will be supporting these countries in achieving their commitments in the months and years ahead.

Side event “Update on COP26 Health and Climate Programme”

WHO, UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA) and Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) will co-organize this side event at the margin of SB 56 UN Climate Change Conference, with the aim of:

  • Presenting the COP26 Health Programme and country commitments on building climate resilient and environmentally sustainable low carbon health systems;
  • Informing on the WHO technical support package to support the implementation of the COP26 health commitments on building climate resilient and low carbon health systems;
  • Inviting new countries to make commitments on climate resilient and environmentally sustainable low carbon health systems;
  • Endorsing the Health Community Recommendations submitted to SB56;
  • Promoting the open letter to universities and education stakeholders “A call for strengthening climate change education for all health professionals”.

Speakers will include representatives from UN organizations, civil society, vulnerable communities, policy makers, and youth leaders from both developed and developing countries:

  • Dr Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, Head of Climate Change Unit, WHOElena Villalobos Prats, Technical officer, Climate Change Unit, WHO
  • Chris Carter, Deputy Director – Head of Human Development Department, FCDO
  • Dr Jeni Miller, Executive Director, GCHA
  • Mohamed Eissa, Liaison Officer for Public Health Issues, International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA)
  • Anna Fuhrmann, Climate Officer, Health Care Without Harm Europe
  • Moderator: James Creswick, Technical officer, WHO EURO




Logistical information

SB 56 UN Climate Change Conference will take place on 6-16 June 2022 in the World Convention Center, Bonn, Germany.

The side event “Update on COP26 Health and Climate Programme” will be primarily in-person and will be live-streamed on the official UNFCCC YouTube channel: