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16 Sep 2011

Larry O'Dell, Associated Press

Va court sides with insurer in global warming case [USA]

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of an insurance company...in the nation's first legal test of whether insurers may be liable for claims arising from global warming. The justices unanimously ruled that environmental problems allegedly caused by power-producer AES...'s emission of greenhouse gases were not "occurrences" covered by a commercial liability policy issued by Steadfast Insurance...The case arose from a lawsuit filed in 2008 by the Native Village of Kivalina, located on the tip of a small barrier reef on the northwest coast of Alaska, about 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The native village claimed that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses by Virginia-based AES contributed to global warming, causing ice protecting the shoreline to melt and exposing the village to storm surges and erosion...Steadfast’s attorney...Leah W. Sears...referred questions to the insurer’s parent company, Zurich Financial Services. “We welcome the chance to bring this matter to a close and believe the court’s ruling speaks for itself,” the company said in a written statement.