Synergisms between climate change mitigation and adaptation: an insurance perspective

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11027-007-9101-x

Cite this article as:
Mills, E. Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change (2007) 12: 809. doi:10.1007/s11027-007-9101-x


As the world’s largest industry, the insurance sector is both an aggregator of the impacts of climate change and a market actor able to play a material role in decreasing the vulnerability of human and natural systems. This article reviews the implications of climate change for insurers and provides specific examples of insurance-relevant synergisms between adaptation and mitigation in the buildings and energy sectors, agriculture, forestry, and land use. Although insurance is far from a “silver bullet” in addressing climate change, it offers significant capacity and ability to understand, manage, and spread risks associated with weather-related events, more so today in industrialized countries but increasingly so in developing countries and economies in transition. Certain measures that integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation also bolster insurers’ solvency and profitability, thereby increasing their appeal. Promising strategies involve innovative products and systems for delivering insurance and the use of new technologies and practices that both reduce vulnerability to disaster-related losses and support sustainable development. However, climate change promises to erode the insurability of many risks, and insurance responses can be more reactive than proactive, resulting in compromised insurance affordability and/or availability. Public–private partnerships involving insurers and entities such as the international relief community offer considerable potential, but have not been adequately explored.


Energy efficiency Climate change Insurance Risk management Economic development 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryBerkeleyUSA

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