Munich Re VP at U.S. Senate Commerce Hearing–’89 of 91 Natural Catastrophes in 2016 Had Climate Connection’

Apr 13, 2017


At a field hearing on April 10, 2017 in a location described as “Ground Zero for climate change impacts” just four miles across the waterway from President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate in Palm Beach County, Florida, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson led a discussion on the economic impacts of extreme weather, sea level rise and coastal flooding to communities, as well as future risks and efforts to address the problems.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, which held the hearing, noted that, since 2006, sea level rise in southeast Florida has tripled, averaging about nine millimeters a year.  The resulting impacts of coastal flooding, saltwater intrusion, storm surge, and land erosion on Florida’s coastal communities have prompted local governments to act.  

With scrolling pictures of local flooding as a backdrop, Munich Reinsurance Corporation of America’s Senior Vice President of Risk Accumulation Carl Hedde was among the witnesses who spoke at the event, providing startling data on 2016 natural catastrophe events–89 of which he described as having a “climate connection.”

To view his testimony and presentation, click here.

Broward County Chief Resilience Officer and Director Dr. Jennifer Jurado was also on hand to testify.  She explained that South Florida’s circumstances are unique, given the impacts of sea level rise on the region’s drainage, flood control and water supply.  In recent years, tidal flooding is rapidly causing interior flood management infrastructure to lose capacity by restricting discharges, while groundwater elevation is increasing in direct response to sea level rise seeping through Florida’s porous geology.

To access Dr. Jurado’s materials, click here.

Also testifying were:

  • Dr. Ben Kirtman, PhD, Director of the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences; and Director of the Center for Computational Science, Climate, and Environmental Hazards at the University of Miami 
  • Dr. Leonard “Len” Berry, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Geosciences at Florida Atlantic University; and Vice President of Government Programs at Coastal Risk Consulting, LLC

To access their testimony and materials, along with a statement from Senator Nelson, click here.

Hyperlinks to news and editorial coverage of the hearing are below:

Senate Commerce Committee Comes To West Palm Beach For Climate Change Hearing – Kind Of

“We’re scared”: Sea-level rise issue prompts Senate hearing in West Palm

Rising sea level grows as threat to South Florida, US senators told

Senator Bill Nelson, scientists discuss climate change

Florida lawmakers united in wanting Trump to talk climate with Xi

Senate hearing spotlights “political censorship” of science

Nelson, near Trump’s Palm Beach resort, calls for end to attacks on climate science

Editorial:  Impact from rising seas needs to be met head-on, now

Florida makes case for climate research at Mar-a-Lago’s doorstep

Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Florida estate could be submerged by rising sea levels due to climate change

Trump denies climate change, but could one day be its victim





Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Colodny Fass.



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