• Atmospheric CO2 /Parts per Million /Annual Averages /Data Source: noaa.gov

  • 1980338.91ppm

  • 1981340.11ppm

  • 1982340.86ppm

  • 1983342.53ppm

  • 1984344.07ppm

  • 1985345.54ppm

  • 1986346.97ppm

  • 1987348.68ppm

  • 1988351.16ppm

  • 1989352.78ppm

  • 1990354.05ppm

  • 1991355.39ppm

  • 1992356.1ppm

  • 1993356.83ppm

  • 1994358.33ppm

  • 1995360.18ppm

  • 1996361.93ppm

  • 1997363.04ppm

  • 1998365.7ppm

  • 1999367.8ppm

  • 2000368.97ppm

  • 2001370.57ppm

  • 2002372.59ppm

  • 2003375.14ppm

  • 2004376.96ppm

  • 2005378.97ppm

  • 2006381.13ppm

  • 2007382.9ppm

  • 2008385.01ppm

  • 2009386.5ppm

  • 2010388.76ppm

  • 2011390.63ppm

  • 2012392.65ppm

  • 2013395.39ppm

  • 2014397.34ppm

  • 2015399.65ppm

  • 2016403.09ppm

  • 2017405.22ppm

  • 2018407.62ppm

  • 2019410.07ppm

  • 2020412.44ppm

  • 2021414.72ppm

  • 2022418.56ppm

  • 2023421.08ppm

Anne-Kathrin Lohbeck of NZAOA-member Swiss Re told Net Zero Investor that “more severe weather conditions add to the potential hazards associated with renewable energy projects."
News & Views

Exclusive: Risks are holding back clean energy investments, warns Swiss Re exec

While the renewable energy investment space is growing, Swiss Re's chief underwriting officer specialty warns such projects present major challenges for asset owners

Global renewable energy capacity is expected to jump by a third this year, a major step forward in the green transition.

This is largely driven by energy security concerns and higher fuel prices, as well as policy measures in some parts of the United States, UK, EU and India, where initiatives to cut energy-related emissions are receiving investor support.

While it is encouraging to see solar PV and wind power projects gaining momentum, there remains a lot of work to be done to meet net zero ambitions, according to Anne-Kathrin Lohbeck, chief underwriting officer specialty at Swiss Re, one of the world's largest reinsurers and a founding member of the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance (NZAOA).

“Most energy companies today still have many traditional hydrocarbon-based assets, and the re/insurance sector has a vital role to play in facilitating a shift to renewable energy sources."

Green financing gap

Zurich-based Lohbeck told Net Zero Investor in an exclusive interview that “at a broader level, it seems there is a green financing gap in the trillions of dollars, and this needs to be closed in order to make more meaningful progress.”

She argued that renewable projects present a number of challenges for investors.

“Not least a need for high up-front investment and uncertain returns which can take a long time to realise,” Lohbeck explained. “Novel technologies can also add to the risks and unknowns.”

She added that “while there are undoubtedly some elements in common, each project comes with a different set of risks uniquely influenced by factors such as location and technology.”


"Insurers play a role in managing the far-reaching systemic change to boost access to finance, helping manage risks and support climate innovation."

Anne Lohbeck, Swiss Re

On top of all of this looms the growing risks associated with climate change, Lohbeck continued.

“More severe weather conditions like floods, convective storms and hail events add to the potential hazards associated with renewables projects.”

All of this combined can deter investors and has contributed to the financing gap, she warned.

Lohbeck argued that, from risk mitigation through to helping identify climate-related exposures, there is a responsibility on insurers and other investors to review their existing strategies.

Firstly, an innovative approach to risk management and product development from the sector can unlock the necessary capital and give further momentum to the green transition.

“This includes underwriting risks during the construction phase, leaning on insights and data gathered from previous experience to help balance out uncertainties.”

She stressed that “this also involves facilitating output guarantees which ensure a base level of returns to investors and operators.”

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Financing net zero: asset owners’ challenge to scale climate investments

By leveraging data analytics and AI, the sector can develop innovative insurance solutions that address the unique risks faced by green energy projects.

“Part of this solution will come in the form of parametric offerings, which will pay out claims based on bespoke thresholds,” Lohbeck noted.

“Given the scale of the transition needed, and the speed at which it has to happen, the re/insurance industry needs to prioritise creating and exchanging data to inform risk insights and improve understanding across the sector.”


“More severe weather conditions like floods, convective storms and hail events add to the potential hazards associated with renewables projects.”

Anne Lohbeck, Swiss Re

The insurance industry also has a role to play in encouraging innovation and supporting the adoption of new technologies, according to Lohbeck.

With a unique perspective on the risks involved, it can share insights to inform new projects, helping address risks and volatility without sharing proprietary information.

“This is particularly relevant given the talent gap in the renewables sector in some markets,” she pointed out.

She singled out her own company, saying Swiss Re set up the Centre of Competence for Renewable Energy, which aims to help address the data and knowledge gaps in frontier markets, as well as draw on existing relationships and partnerships to support projects.

“By utilising insights unique to each region, incorporating data such as local weather conditions, insurers can obtain a ‘big picture’ view of their projects in their own language,” Lohbeck said.

Also read
With many investors keen to divest from fossil fuels, why is renewables’ momentum stalling?

Alongside this, insurers can use their own assets to invest in renewable projects.

For example, specialists such as Climeworks allow insurers to enter long-term purchase agreements for direct air capture and storage of carbon dioxide.

Finally, to Lohbeck, strategic partnerships underpin all of the work discussed above.

“Much of this activity – and our ability to mobilise sustainable finance – relies on goodwill and collaboration between insurers, governments and financial institutions,” she stressed.

A good example of this is the green bond market, which is less than 2% of the overall global bond market.

“Together we need to take stronger action to reduce barriers to investment in this way.”

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Number of banks and insurers committed to coal divestment doubles

Exclusive: Risks are holding back clean energy investments, warns Swiss Re exec

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