(USATODAY) Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurance firm, sees climate change driving the increase and predicts those influences will continue in years ahead. Per a new report supported by Munich Re, the number of natural disasters per year has been rising dramatically on all continents since 1980, but the trend is steepest for North America where countries have been battered by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, searing heat and drought.
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Munich re reports on its website about the impact of climatic change: economic losses amounting to some US$380 billion have made 2011 the most expensive natural disaster year to date.Munich Re lays out its overview in a 62 page report available as a PDF document.
(AP) – Rachel Zoll is covering a new study that shows that for the first time in its history, the United States does not have a Protestant majority. One reason: The number of Americans with no religious affiliation is on the rise. The percentage of Protestant adults in the U.S. has reached a low of 48 percent, the first time that Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has reported with certainty that the number has fallen below 50 percent. The drop has long been anticipated and comes at a time when no Protestants are on the U.S. Supreme Court and the Republicans have their first presidential ticket with no Protestant nominees.
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The AP article is based upon a report recently released by the Pew Institute entitled One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation – Pew Institute
Pew Institute notes in its precis of the report:
“The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.”
“In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%).”
Read the complete Pew Institute Report (PDF)