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Ocean Risk Summit Will Be Hosted in Bermuda Next Month

Globe in Water-SF
April 05, 2018

High-level representatives of governments, the finance sector, the re/insurance industry, and other sectors will consider specific risks posed by changes in the world's oceans caused by climate change and other man-made impacts at a first-of-its-kind conference to be hosted in Bermuda in May 2018.

The Ocean Risk Summit will focus on how governments and the business sector should respond to the risks of existing and projected changes in the ocean, which until recently have been poorly understood.

The planned summit comes in the midst of rising concern from global governments and businesses about the threats related to changes in the oceans. Last June saw the first-ever United Nations Ocean Conference in New York to discuss the implementation of an ocean-specific sustainable development goal.

The summit will showcase the latest research on the complex and often interrelated changes taking place in the oceans and their potential impacts. For example, ocean temperature increases caused by climate change are leading to rising sea levels and an increase in the intensity of tropical cyclones, thus escalating the impacts of storm surges, coastal flooding, inundation, and erosion. One recent estimate suggests that the expected cost of hurricane damage to Miami alone is set to increase from $255 billion in 2020 to $3.5 trillion in 2050.1

Other ocean-related risks to be considered include the geopolitical and economic impacts of Arctic sea ice loss and threats to regional food security from overfishing and pollution, as well as the human cost of the spread of tropical diseases from waterborne viruses. The summit will provide expert data and analysis to help businesses and governments identify their potential exposure to these and other ocean risks.

XL Catlin CEO Mike McGavick said, "The insurance industry should be at the forefront of helping economies prepare for the consequences of climate change. Ocean risk means looking at all the ocean-driven implications—not just the societal and environmental but the geopolitical, legal, economic, and regulatory perspectives too. We have a responsibility as an industry to drive understanding of how to increase resilience but also to help those communities that are severely underinsured and less able to adapt to ocean-specific risks."

Carl Gustaf Lundin, director of the International Union  for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Global Marine and Polar Program, welcomed the planned summit as timely. He said, "As IUCN's analysis makes clear, ocean warming is possibly the greatest hidden challenge of our generation. Whilst coastal and marine communities bear the brunt of ocean warming, overfishing, and marine pollution, the consequences go well beyond that and can only be expected to worsen. It is crucial that we use the latest science and work with industry and governments to help increase our resilience in the face of these looming changes."


  1. Repetto, Robert. "Economic and Environmental Impacts of Climate Change in Florida." Demos, New York (2012): 10.
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