Another new report, “Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States” (http://riskybusiness.org/) takes a look at the range of consequences that could result from climate change. The differences between this report and the two publications we have reviewed in the past 5 weeks (http://tinyurl.com/nm9sr4y), columns 722-726, include its exclusive focus on the US, and the level of climate modeling undertaken by the study which allow it to examine regional and county-level impacts of climate change.
Funding for the report was provided by Michael R. Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City; Henry M. Paulsen, former Secretary of the Treasury under George W. Bush; and Thomas F. Steyer, retired founder, Farallon Capital Management LLC. The Risk Committee for the report included Republicans and Democrats, as well as academics and business executives.
Another difference between “Risky Business” and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ publication “Advancing Global Food Security in the Face of a Changing Climate” is that it is descriptive while the latter is both descriptive and prescriptive. Readers will not find a list of recommendations in “Risky Business.”
The brief ‘Conclusion’ to “Risky Business” sums up its perspective: “When Risk Committee member George Shultz was serving as President Reagan’s Secretary of State in 1987, he urged the President to take action on that decade’s hotly-contested scientific issue: the ozone layer. As Shultz later said in an interview with Scientific American, ‘Rather than go and confront the people who were doubting it and have a big argument with them, we’d say to them: Look, there must be, in the back of your mind, at least a little doubt. You might be wrong, so let’s all get together on an insurance policy.’ That insurance policy became the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, an international treaty still in effect to this day.
“Our goal with the Risky Business Project is not to confront the doubters. Rather, it is to bring American business and government [with no mention of civil society and individuals]—doubters and believers alike—together to look squarely at the potential risks posed by climate change, and to consider whether it’s time to take out an insurance policy of our own.”