Managing risks begins with subjective perception. Ideally, this happens well before an event takes place, enabling us to prepare adequately. That's why Swiss Re decided to canvass over 20,000 people in 19 countries for their personal views on risk.
Widespread concern about climate change
In all countries polled, the vast majority recognize a connection between climate change and natural catastrophes. Eight out of ten people feel threatened by the risk climate change poses to their local community and think it's possible that their home or neighborhood could be affected by a natural catastrophe (nat cat) as a result. Six out of ten people think that climate change will have a huge impact on nat cats.
This shows that many see the challenge of combating climate change and global warming as a key measure to reducing risks. The concern about the local implications of climate change is particularly felt in high growth markets. In Indonesia 96% said that climate change poses a risk to their neighborhood; 48% even felt "to a great extent". In Mexico (92%/38%), India (86%/38%) and China (92%/21%), a great majority also link nat cat risks with climate change. Interestingly, in the USA – which is often regarded as the country with the most climate skeptics – 75% of people surveyed agreed that climate change exposes their community to an increased risk of nat cats. One in five people even answered "to a great extent".
Increase in major natural catastrophes expected
In the years ahead 68% of respondents expect more major nat cats and 50% expect the risk of large losses to increase for their own house and neighborhood. Although they recognize that reducing global warming is the key to managing risk, they expect to experience more extreme weather and nat cats over a long period of time.
Nat cat planning not seen as sufficient overall
People in Asia and Latin America are less optimistic about the disaster prevention measures in their country and feel less safe that those surveyed in Europe and North America. While 35% in Asia and Latin America think that the government's measures are "bad or very bad", only 21% of residents in Europe and North America share this view (Italy is the exception: 43%). This is a call for governments to boost their disaster prevention measures.
Category: Climate/natural disasters, Sustainable energy