ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Beyond the Rhetoric on Climate Change

In the climate change debate, a number of industrialised governments and multilateral development organisations push for greater use of risk finance products and financial innovation in general. But, insurance is no solution to climate change because it is no solution to risks that are rising in time and correlation. It is merely a way of getting the victims of climate change to pay for it themselves and not the contributors.

Over its life cycle, a Category 5 tropical cyclone releases the energy of 10,000 nuclear bombs (Graham and Riebeek 2006). Climate change is war. Low-lying coasts or those countries on the warpath of cyclones are on the front line. One Category 5 cyclone in a season is unusual. Two in a span of two weeks is supposed to be an event that happens once in a few thousand years; but not any longer. In September 2017, Hurricane Maria quickly followed Irma in the Caribbean. After making landfall in Dominica at 9 pm on 18 September 2017, Maria destroyed 226% of Dominica’s gross domestic product (GDP) in a few hours. By losses as a percentage of a nation’s GDP, it was one of the greatest natural disasters in human history. During last year’s hurricane season, climate change crashed out of theoretical construct into lived reality, pulling the future into the present with a roar that echoed around the globe.

A few days after Maria hit, I was asked by the Prime Minister and the Government of Dominica to help lead and coordinate the economic recovery. I saw
first-hand the indomitable strength and resolve of the Dominican people. It makes me weep a little every time I am reminded of it. The Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, famously said in a live television interview, weeping the day after “Maria,” that Dominicans had lost everything money can buy. What we discovered is that what was left were the things of real value. You only know how strong you are when you have no choice.

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Updated On : 15th Dec, 2018

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