Climate change poses a serious threat to U.S. businesses and economy, according to a recent report written by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer. Their report, Risky Business, argues that climate change should be treated like any other business threat and calls for immediate bipartisan action.
The report estimates between $66 billion and $106 billion in coastal property will likely be below sea level by 2050; labor productivity of outdoor workers could be reduced by 3 percent because extremely hot days will be far more frequent; and demand for electricity to power air conditioners will require the construction of more power plants that will cost electricity customers up to $12 billion per year.
In an op-ed piece to The New York Times, Henry Paulson outlines similarities between the economic crash of 2008 to the coming climate crash.
“We are building up excesses (debt in 2008, greenhouse gas emissions that are trapping heat now). Our government policies are flawed (incentivizing us to borrow too much to finance homes then, and encouraging the overuse of carbon-based fuels now). Our experts (financial experts then, climate scientists now) try to understand what they see and to model possible futures. And the outsize risks have the potential to be tremendously damaging (to a globalized economy then, and the global climate now).
“Back then, we narrowly avoided an economic catastrophe at the last minute by rescuing a collapsing financial system through government action. But climate change is a more intractable problem. The carbon dioxide we’re sending into the atmosphere remains there for centuries, heating up the planet. … There is virtually no debate among [climate scientists] that the planet is warming and that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible.”
The findings of the Risky Business report solidify the relationship of climate change to our economic and social well-being. Learn more by visiting riskybusiness.org and read Henry Paulson’s entire op-ed here.