We don’t know yet whether $85 billion dollars will be enough to save American International Group (AIG), the world’s biggest insurance firm (although some apparently insider commentators are not reassuring).
But could an architect have been responsible for starting the panic?
The Stern Review, when it was published two years ago, stated that failure to tackle climate change could cost the world – and by implication, its insurance companies, such as AIG – up to seven trillion dollars.
Many commentators at the time asked where this vast figure had come from. I think I know where from: The source is a slideshow that the architect Ed Mazria was showing at conferences around that time explaining what happens when climate change causes sea levels to rise.
While the rest of us were looking at Al Gore’s pictures of baby polar bears on melting lumps of ice, the money guys were staring at the Mazria’s maps: The red bits show where very very expensive sea-front real-estate is at risk of inundation.