“There is a 29% chance Tokyo could experience a $1trn cat loss in the next 30 years,” said Professor Bill McGuire at this year's Rendez-Vous in Monte Carlo. The director of the Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre, who was citing a report produced by USGS and Swiss Re, spoke to Global Reinsurance about his outlook for the global climate in anticipation of the annual Hazard & Risk Science Review which is published tomorrow. McGuire pointed out that the world is clearly seeing the effects of climate change with only a 0.6 degree rise in sea surface temperatures (SST) and with further, much larger rises predicted, he was pessimistic about the future. “The question is what will happen when SST rise one or two whole degrees as predicted in coming decades? The simple fact is we cannot now avoid the 2 degree rise predicted.”

Professor McGuire also spoke about the very real possibility of a one degree fall in average temperatures in Europe, with a return to a little ice age in as little as ten years. “Northern Europe and Northern America could see much colder winters, with temperatures falling as low as -20 degrees,” said McGuire. “We have certainly now past the tipping point and things are only going to get worse before they get better.” He also outlined the warmer, wetter future predicted for Europe, with increased flood probability in the north and flash floods especially prevalent in the summer months.