While Washington continues to fiddle, the planet continues to warm. However, Hank Paulson, Bush Treasury Secretary, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and hedge fund manager Tom Steyer have begun an effort to better understand exactly what we are in for.
As businessmen and public servants, we are intimately familiar with the systems used to manage risk. They are central to informed decision-making. But today, the world faces one of the greatest humanitarian and economic challenges of our time: the threat of global climate change. And in this arena, our risk-assessment systems have broken down. This ignorance cannot be allowed to continue.
Government officials, economists, financiers and everyone else in the business community need to ask: How much economic risk do we face from unmitigated climate change? Answering this question would go a long way toward helping us all prepare for the extreme weather and related economic effects that are most likely coming our way.
That’s why the three of us have joined together to lead a new effort designed to do just that. Our Risky Business initiative (www.riskybusiness.org) will look across the U.S. economy and assess the potential impacts of climate change by region and by sector. Our analysis, when complete, will arm decision-makers with the information they need to determine how much climate risk they are comfortable taking on.
While we must focus efforts on slowing climate change, we also need to understand how to adapt to it. Good for these three for moving us a step forward on this.