Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Your chosen quote from the American Met Society paper

Therefore it can be concluded that anthropogenic climate change so far has not had a significant impact on losses from natural disasters.

... is a little bit truncated. It continues :

Considerable uncertainties remain in some of these studies, as exposure and vulnerability that influence risk can only be roughly accounted for over 15 time. In particular the potential effects of past risk reduction efforts on the loss increase are often ignored, because data that can be used to correct for these effects is not available.

To translate : This study (and the others quoted) show quite clearly that the major driver in the well-documented increase in weather-related insurance payouts is socio-economic change :  for example, new construction in flood plains and on steep hillsides is vulnerable to flooding and landslides. This phenomenon is well-explored in this study, and the others quoted in the diary. HOWEVER, the opposite phenomenon -- risk reduction -- is entirely unexamined in this study.

For example, I would be very surprised if protection against extreme climate events had not been greatly improved in western Europe over the past 20 years. This would, all else being equal, result in a lessening of insured damage... and the data shows no such lessening. Perhaps this trend counteracts completely, or partially, a climate-change signal.

But we don't know, based on the scientific studies presented here.

However, I would be very surprised indeed if Munich Re were not interested in this phenomenon, unexamined by the scientists. They have a huge database, much of it probably proprietary and therefore unavailable for scientific research, and a lower standard of proof than the scientists.

So when you say

Unfortunately, Munich Re seems to frequently suffer from cognitive dissonance between their PR department and their own considerably qualified science group

... I  find it quite likely that there is, in fact, no contradiction. They may well know things, as insurers, that are not publishable science, but are actionable knowledge.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 18th, 2010 at 04:44:47 PM EST
eurogreen:
For example, I would be very surprised if protection against extreme climate events had not been greatly improved in western Europe over the past 20 years.

Perhaps you should tell this to the Brits who got caught in the 2007 UK floods, because about half of all the British houses built after World War II were built, knowingly, in river floodplains, and housing construction continued unabated even after the 1947 flood.

Or consider, although not related to climate, the extensive urbanisation around the Vesuvius.

I've a sketch of a muse on disasters in modern Europe that simply have not been anticipated yet, either because of the habit of humans to forget about disasters after a generation, or simply because they haven't occurred through recent history.

eurogreen:

They may well know things, as insurers, that are not publishable science, but are actionable knowledge.

See above my argumentation why that is unacceptable to release such knowledge without evidence.

by Nomad on Thu Nov 18th, 2010 at 08:39:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've a sketch of a muse on disasters in modern Europe that simply have not been anticipated yet

I'd like to see that!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 19th, 2010 at 02:47:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always have my work cut out for me... :)

Will see if I can make it fly.

by Nomad on Fri Nov 19th, 2010 at 05:36:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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