This 56-page report, "Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States", is sponsored by the Risky Business Project, co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P.; Henry M Paulson Jr., former US Secretary of the Treasury and Thomas F. Steyer, founder (retired) Farallon Capital Management, LLC. Members include Robert E. Rubin, former US Treasury Secretary; George P. Shultz, former US Secretary of State; Henry Cisneros, chair, CityView Capital, former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Gregory Page, executive chair of Cargill, Inc.; Dr. Alfred Sommer, dean emeritus of Bloomberg School of Public Health, John Hopkins University, and two women: Donna Shalala, president, University of Miami, former US Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Olympia Snowe, former US Senator representing Maine.
This elite group commissioned the Rodium Group, an economics and risk assessment firm, to analyze the investment risks and those to land, coastlines, real estate, infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, employment and health in the USA from climate change - using conventional risk models: "likely" = outcomes with at least a 67% chance of occurring, to "tail risks" = between 5%- 1% chance of occurring.
The report summarizes most of the recent scientific assessments, as well as outcomes and financial costs already incurred and those projected by insurance firms and of "materiality" to investors in financial accounting. The US SEC has already cited climate change risks as material to investors; however, its requirements for disclosure are still ignored by 40% of companies listed on the Standard and Poor's 500 Index. The report also assumes a continuation of fossil-fueled and nuclear electricity from legacy central power plants and the existing grid - which are now being rapidly bypassed by distributed solar, wind generation and micro-grids. The report would have been more useful if it had included such alternative scenarios of cheaper, clean, low-carbon technologies and efficiency. Instead, it focuses on adaptation and mitigation of existing infrastructure and systems. This is a useful wake-up call, but not a positive guide to the sustainable future such as I and others describe, e.g., "Mapping the global transition to the solar age".
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