Climate Change Presents Risk to US BusinessBy: Brian Powell - June 24, 2014
In a nonpartisan study released by the Risky Business Project, leading economic and environmental figures have assessed the monetary threat that climate change proposes to business in the United States. The findings are not optimistic.
The study, led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and former hedge fund manager Thomas F. Steyer, used analysis and calculations conducted by the Rhodium Group, an economic research firm, and Risk Management Solutions, a company which uses catastrophe-modeling to predict risks to insurance companies and other corporations.
When one looks at the numbers published by the study, one can see why the report is being taken so seriously:
— Rises in the sea level will put somewhere between $66 billion and $106 billion worth of property along the eastern coast below sea level by 2050, with that number increasing to $507 billion by 2100
— Drastic increases in temperatures in the South will bring 27 to 50 extra days of 95+ degree temperatures, resulting in at least a three percent decrease in labor productivity of outside workers, along with a 19 percent decrease in crop yields from the Midwest
— The extra energy needed to power air conditioning due to the rise in temperatures will cost the United States $12 billion per year and would necessitate the construction of 95 gigawatts of generation capacity, the equivalent of 200 coal or natural gas power plants.
The sponsors of the report recently met with President Obama at the White House to discuss what can be done to incentivize US businesses to adopt greener environmental policies. Those backing the study believe that a carbon emissions tax is the way to force US businesses to invest in clean energy, something many Republicans have spoken out against in the past.
“Every year that goes by without a comprehensive public and private sector response to climate change is a year that locks in future climate events that will have a far more devastating effect on our local, regional, and national economies,” states the report.
Three weeks ago, President Obama and the EPA ordered power plants to reduce their carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, putting the levels at pre-2005 numbers.
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