Business Trends

The Economic Risks of Climate Change, Risky Business Project

File Type: Free Content, Article
Release Date: July 2014
Average Rating:       (0 Ratings)
bull dozer digging land for new construction

Climate change is an economic threat that could cost U.S. businesses billions of dollars in coming decades, according to a report released June 24 by the Risky Business Project, a 10-member bipartisan group led by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and hedge fund manager Thomas Steyer. 

“American Climate Prospectus: Economic Risks in the United States” uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S., as well as for selected sectors of the economy, “if we continue on our current path.” The peer-reviewed report, written by the Rhodium Group and Risk Management Solutions, focuses on the clearest and most economically significant of these risks:

“Damage to coastal property and infrastructure from rising sea levels and increased storm surge, climate-driven changes in agricultural production and energy demand, and the impact of higher temperatures on labor productivity and public health."

The report notes that by the end of this century, more than $701 billion worth of coastal property will be below mean sea levels, with more than $730 billion of additional property at risk during high tide. It calls for new policies “to reduce the odds of catastrophic outcomes” from climate change and suggests that the most severe risks could be avoided by early investments, if businesses “rise to the challenge and lead the way in helping reduce climate risks.”