By: Anne Coglianese
Climate change poses global threats to the environment, but do you know how it will affect the quality of life where you live and work? If you own a business, do you know how climate change will affect your bottom line? A recent report called Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change to the United States helps businesses identify and prepare for the specific, local risks that climate change poses.
To the average citizen, climate change may feel abstract, and many people believe that only coastal communities will be affected. However, the Risky Business report draws attention to effects far beyond sea level rise, including mortality, storm surge, crop yields, and energy, to name just a few. For the first time, individuals can narrow in on their region to learn which issues are most relevant in their state, discovering how closely climate change will affect all of us.
The report was released by the Risky Business Project, started in the fall of 2013 when the nongovernmental organization Next Generation paired up with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Paulson Institute to research climate change’s economic threats. The report stresses “this is not a problem for another day. The investments we make today—this week, this month, this year—will determine our economic future.”
The Risky Business Project’s website makes the group’s report highly interactive and more informative. Due to the many videos, images, and charts found on the website, visitors can easily digest information on climate change risks. For example, the website contains a video designed to help individuals understand the progression and threat of extreme weather changes.
What makes the report truly unique is the focused analysis provided. By breaking the US into regions and states, Risky Business targets the climate concerns in specific parts of the country as well as nation-wide. The website then allows individuals to scroll through date on their prospective locations.
The report focuses on climate risk education in order to provide businesses with the information necessary to begin taking action to sidestep catastrophe. It highlights three areas to reduce risk: business adaptation, investor adaptation, and public sector response. Throughout various sections of the report, one thing becomes clear: a shift towards sustainable business and investment needs immediate action.
Former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, a co-chair of the Risk Business Project, and a key player in the development of this report, recently stated in an interview:
Damages from storms, flooding, and heat waves are already costing local economies billions of dollars—we saw that firsthand in New York City with Hurricane Sandy. With the oceans rising and the climate changing, the Risky Business report details the costs of inaction in ways that are easy to understand in dollars and cents—and impossible to ignore.
To learn more about climate change and find your business’ next move, visit the Risky Business Project website.