June 7-9: Brand-Led Culture Change Virtual Event

Behavior Change
Doing Nothing to Cut GHGs Is ‘Risky Business’

It’s not too late for businesses to avoid the most severe risks from climate change through early investments in resilience and immediate action to reduce the pollution that causes global warming, according to a report by the Risky Business Project.

The report, Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change to the United States uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the US — as well as for selected sectors of the economy — if we continue on our current path. The research 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.

According to the report, the two main impacts of climate change — extreme heat and sea level rise — will disproportionately affect certain regions of the US, and pose highly variable risks across the country. For instance, in the U.S. Gulf Coast, Northeast and Southeast, sea level rise and increased damage from storm surge could lead to an additional $2-3.5 billion in property losses each year by 2030, with increasing costs in future decades. In interior states in the Midwest and Southwest, extreme heat will threaten human health, reduce labor productivity and strain electricity grids.

However, in northern latitudes such as North Dakota and Montana, winter temperatures will likely rise, reducing frost events and cold-related deaths, and lengthening the growing season for some crops.

Making Sustainability Go Viral

Hear more from Jonah Berger as he explores what sustainability and marketing professionals can learn from sociology and psychology to encourage consumers to adopt sustainable behaviors — June 8 at Brand-Led Culture Change.

The Risky Business Project is a joint, non-partisan initiative of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, billionaire Tom Steyer and George W. Bush-era Treasury secretary Henry Paulson. The research combines peer-reviewed climate science projections through the year 2100 with estimates of the impact of projected changes in temperature, precipitation, sea levels, and storm activity on the U.S. economy. The analysis includes those outcomes most likely to occur, but also lower-probability, high-cost climate futures.

In related climate change news, a February report by Ceres claimed that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has not adequately addressed the climate disclosure deficiencies of publicly traded corporations, despite four-year-old formal guidance requiring companies to disclose material climate change risks.

Taking steps to curb climate change is not just good for the planet, but for the bottom line. Some 53 Fortune 100 companies reporting on climate and energy targets have collectively saved $1.1 billion annually and decreased their annual carbon emissions by approximately 58.3 million metric tons — the equivalent of retiring 15 coal-fired power plants.


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