US business and political leaders to debate economic cost of climate change



A new project has brought together leading US politicians and businessmen to independently assess the potential economic impacts of climate change in the country.

The Risky Business initiative, founded and co-chaired by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, former treasury secretary Hank Paulson and environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer, announced the members of its committee on Monday.

These members include Henry Cisneros, founder and chairman of CityView Capital and former mayor of San Antonio; economist and former treasury secretary Robert Rubin; former CEO of Cargill Gregory Page; and Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former US secretary of health and human services. 

“These new members of our risk committee have deep expertise across different sectors of the American economy, and they will be instrumental in helping us develop the rigorous metrics we need to battle climate change effectively,” said Bloomberg.

The group are charged with reviewing the initiative’s assessment, which will divide the US into eight regions and use models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Climate Assessment to establish the threat climate change presents to each.

The committee will then take responsibility for raising awareness of the assessment’s findings among the sectors that are most at risk, when the results are published in the summer.

“The messenger matters,” said Steyer, a billionaire asset manager and philanthropist.  

“The new risk committee members provide the expertise needed to expand our reach, and effectively engage health care professionals, farmers, and others on the risks they face from climate change.”

Risky Business’s founders and committee members hope that providing greater detail on precisely which regions and industries face what risks will ultimately help rally policy-makers. 

“Climate change is the overriding issue of our day,” added Rubin.

“Increasingly powerful impacts are on track to profoundly affect us all. The question is when, not if. By developing a scientific and economic analysis of our exposure to climate risk, we seek to provide public and private sector decision-makers with the tools they need to respond to the threat of climate change.” 

Further reading:

Coastal flooding could cost vulnerable cities more than $1tn

UN: economic losses from natural disasters total $2.5tn this century

‘Stern 2.0’ review to look at costs and benefits of tackling climate change

Defra: climate change abroad will impact UK economy

Stark warning from experts on the consequences of climate change


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