Scientists are telling us that the ocean is changing faster than at any time in the last 65 million years.
It has absorbed 93 per cent of the Earth’s extra heat since 1955, it’s lost 90 per cent of its large predatory fish population, and it’s being subjected to more than eight million tons of plastic every year.
For far too long we’ve taken advantage of the ocean’s bounty and its capacity to absorb our waste. The result is a whole new category of risk – ‘ocean risk’ – which poses a major threat to societies and economies around the world.
Ocean risk has implications for the safety of vulnerable coastal communities, for human health and livelihoods, for food security, global weather and for the climate. It’s a highly unpredictable addition to the risk landscape that demands far more research and attention, including by the insurance industry.
That’s why XL Catlin is proud to be hosting the first-ever Ocean Risk Summit, taking place in Bermuda. The Summit is bringing together leaders from the political, economic, environmental, technology, finance and risk management sectors. Their joint knowledge will help to deepen our understanding of ocean changes and to begin to build innovative, collaborative solutions.
Because one thing is certain: ocean risk is too big, diverse and complex for any one industry to tackle alone. We need a multi-sectoral approach.
The World Meteorological Organization calculates that 2017 was the most expensive year in history in terms of losses from weather and climate-related disasters, costing the global economy an estimated USD320 billion. This was largely due to a particularly severe Atlantic hurricane season, fueled by high ocean temperatures, which destroyed lives and property across the Caribbean and US.
Hurricanes are becoming more intense and storm surges more severe, but there are other, less visible but still dramatic, ocean risks that we mustn’t allow to remain under the radar. Rising ocean temperature and acidity is wreaking havoc on marine life in ways that we are only just beginning to understand. At the Summit we will be addressing many of these issues.
cover image © Jayne Jenkins