Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States

A high-level, bi-partisan group of leaders from business, finance, academia, and government released the Risky Business report today.  The group is co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg, Hank Paulson, and Tom Steyer, and the Risk Committee membership includes University of Miami President Donna Shalala, former US Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, Former US Senator Olympia Snowe, among others.

They are calling on American investors and business leaders to "get in the game" to minimize the risks climate change poses to our businesses, communities, the economy, and our way of life.

On Sunday, Henry Paulson published an opinion piece in the New York Times ahead of the report's launch, titled "The Coming Climate Crash: Lessons for Climate Change in the 2008 Recession."

In it he draws parallels between the 2008 financial crisis and the climate crisis currently unfolding.  He writes: "viewing climate change in terms of risk assessment and risk management makes clear to me that taking a cautiously conservative stance — that is, waiting for more information before acting — is actually taking a very radical risk. We’ll never know enough to resolve all of the uncertainties. But we know enough to recognize that we must act now."

He concludes, "We’ve seen and felt the costs of underestimating the financial bubble. Let’s not ignore the climate bubble."

This coalition of highly experienced and credible leaders highlighting climate risk and calling for action from the business and investment communities to support a price on carbon is another important signal of the importance of considering climate and other ESG criteria in the investment process.

A video of the press conference held this morning is available here: