Scientist: Climate Change Plus 3rd Straight La Niña ‘Not a Good Thing’

September 22, 2022 by

Climate change combined with a third consecutive La Niña is “not a good thing,” a scientist is warning.

Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist, professor and dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, wrote this week in an opinion piece for The Hill that 2022 has so far “been unusually disastrous,” with extreme climate and weather wreaking havoc in Australia, Pakistan, China, Europe, the U.S., and Africa.

“One of the reasons for all the climate and weather mayhem is obviously climate change,” he writes. “Without climate change, this year’s climate extremes would have been less severe, and the extreme heatwaves less frequent.”

While “climate change has supercharged extremes,” a major pattern of climate variability behind these extremes is the tropical phenomenon La Niña, according to Overpeck.

Based on current conditions and models, it appears the world is set for a rare third straight La Niña year that will probably last through the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, increasing the odds of continued heat waves and drought in numerous spots around the globe. This includes odds that favor more hot, dry weather in already parched California across the southern tier of the U.S. to Southeast, the professor asserts.

“In other words, the climate disasters that struck each of these places in 2022 could worsen into 2023,” he writes. “And, when it does rain, climate change increases the chances that the rainfall could be extremely intense.”

Aon Collab

A “first-of-its-kind database” to tracking the world’s fossil fuel production, reserves and emissions launched this week.

The launch coincides with climate talks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The Global Registry of Fossil Fuels, which is available for public use, includes data from more than 50,000 oil, gas and coal fields in 89 countries, covering 75% of global reserves, production and emissions, Associated Press Science Writer Drew Costley reported in a recent article.

Carbon Tracker, a nonprofit energy transition think tank, and Global Energy Monitor, developed the database.

High-resolution local or national information that can be accessed includes coal, oil and gas reserves, as well as carbon dioxide emissions they would generate if burned.

“It is a first-ever full transparency, open source, available-to-all kind of tool,” Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, said in a press briefing about the registry. “And as you build it out, we from UNEP will be mining it for every bit we can find, so that we, too, can use it.”

American Family

American Family Insurance announced this week it is the first U.S.-based insurer to sign The Climate Pledge.

The company joins 375 other national and global companies in 24 countries and encompassing some 53 industries in a large-scale commitment to take climate action, according to an article on Insurance Journal.

The Climate Pledge was co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism in 2019. It is a commitment to reach net-zero carbon by 2040, as well as meeting The Paris Agreement 10 years early.

It was about two years ago that American Family committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing on-site renewable energy production and renewable energy purchased, and diverting waste from landfills, among other actions.

Its 2020 move included joining “We Are Still In,” a joint declaration of support for climate action, signed by more than 3,900 CEOs, mayors, governors, college presidents, and others, in support of the goals of the Paris Climate Accord

According to American Family, joining The Climate Pledge extends its commitment and action across the American Family Insurance group of companies nationally.

“As one of the nation’s largest insurers, we know that mitigating and preventing the impacts of increased weather volatility and natural catastrophes are essential to our business,” Bill Westrate, CEO and president of the American Family Insurance group of companies, said in a statement. “We are committed to achieving our sustainability goals not only because it’s good for the environment but because it’s good for our customers and our business.”


Zurich recently put out a blog, “Adapting to change – building resilience to extreme weather,” noting that open-source data, climate-risk models can help society adapt to floods, drought and wildfires from global warming that are taking an increasing toll.

The blog points to an important meeting in Egypt, which is host the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP27).

“With wildfires near the Chinese city of Chongqing, heatwaves across Europe, floods in Pakistan and tornadoes in the US, adaptation to extreme-weather events will be a priority issue at November’s COP 27 climate meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh,” the blog states.

It notes that extreme-weather events last year cost the global economy $329 billion, so the insurance industry must play a “defining role” in climate adaptation, and must help to quantify the impact of climate risk accordingly.

One way to make that happen is to an open-source database of standardized, publicly available hazard data through greater collaboration with policymakers towards.

“Information on physical risks – everything from hazard intensity and frequency, risk-location exposure and the vulnerability of specific assets – can contribute to a more accurate picture of risk, so that assets can continue to be insured. Yet, much of that valuable data today is either not readily available, unstandardized, or both,” the blog states.

It also calls for developing better climate-risk models.

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