Letter to the Editor

Good news, bad news

San Luis ObispoMay 23, 2014 

I read that Farmers Insurance filed nine class action lawsuits last month against nearly 200 communities in the Chicago area. Their argument is that local governments should have known that climate change would lead to heavier rains, and that they should have made more of an effort to mitigate the risks from global warming and climate disruption. Governments should have fortified their stormwater drains and sewers to prepare for the severe, anticipated storms.

If Farmers Insurance wins these lawsuits, the claims for property damage will be paid by the communities, i.e. the taxpayers. If this happens, it will be both good and bad news. The bad news is that insurance companies will no longer be liable for property damage due to extreme weather events, and we will have to cover those costs. In addition, communities will be under more pressure to make expensive changes to infrastructure to help mitigate damage from extreme weather events.

The good news is that this could lead individuals and businesses to finally pressure their lawmakers into taking much-needed action, leading to increased political will to find solutions to the source of the problem — climate change.

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