The Stream, May 25: Fossil Fuel Investments Put Insurance Companies At Risk

The Global Rundown

When assessing the risks of climate change, U.S. insurance companies must take into account not only how extreme droughts and floods could create more policy claims, but also the financial risks of their own investments in fossil fuels, according to a new report. Thousands of people in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka need clean water and other aid supplies in the aftermath of Cyclone Roanu. Cambodia is trucking in water to more than a dozen drought-hit provinces, while the government of Myanmar said water management is one of its top priorities. A bill pending in the U.S. Congress could restrict oversight of ballast water discharges under the federal Clean Water Act.

“The Clean Water Act is the nation’s only comprehensive law that can combat an environmental plague of aquatic invasive species that costs the U.S. economy billions of dollars and touches every single state in the union with its destructive powers.” –Nina Bell, executive director of Northwest Environmental Advocates in Portland, Oregon, responding to a provision in the national defense bill that would prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating ballast water discharges under the federal Clean Water Act. Ballast water released from ships has in the past transported invasive species into the Great Lakes and other U.S. waterways. (Associated Press)

By The Numbers

755,000 people Number affected in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka by Cyclone Roanu, which caused heavy rains and flooding over the weekend. Aid agencies are calling for urgent support to provide clean water, food, and medicine to tens of thousands of families. Reuters

18 provinces Number in Cambodia where the government is trucking in water supplies. Overall, 2.5 million people in the country are affected by the worst drought in 50 years. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Insurance companies in the United States hold $459 billion in fossil fuel investments, posing a serious risk to their financial health, according to a report released by Boston-based sustainability group Ceres. While more insurers are beginning to take into account the risks associated with climate change, such as more extreme floods and droughts, they have been slow to transfer that thinking to their own investments. Guardian

On The Radar

Improving water management is a top priority for the government of Myanmar, where authorities say failing to do so could put its fast growing economy at risk. At a high-level roundtable on water security this month, officials pointed to the need for better data and stronger trust between communities and the government. Inter Press Service

A news correspondent for Circle of Blue based out of Hawaii. She writes The Stream, Circle of Blue’s daily digest of international water news trends. Her interests include food security, ecology and the Great Lakes.
Contact Codi Kozacek