FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 13, 2014

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Risky Business Co-Chairs Announce Members of U.S. Climate Risk Committee

Leaders from across American political, business spectrum to assess economic risks of climate change, share findings with peers – www.riskybusiness.org

[NOTE FOR REPORTERS: Full statements from Risk Committee members can be found on the Risky Business website at http://www.riskybusiness.org/media/risk-committee-statements]

San Francisco, CA – The co-chairs of the national Risky Business initiative today announced the members of a Risk Committee who will oversee an analysis of the economic risks of climate change in the United States. Risk Committee members will join Risky Business co-chairs Michael Bloomberg, Hank Paulson, and Tom Steyer, who also sit on the Risk Committee and are the founding partners of the initiative.

"The United States faces unprecedented risks from climate change, and quantifying those risks is a critical first step to mitigating them," said co-chair Michael Bloomberg. "These new members of our Risk Committee have deep expertise across different sectors of the American economy, and they will be instrumental in helping us develop the rigorous metrics we need to battle climate change effectively."

"When we launched Risky Business, we knew it was critical to make sure the risk assessment ends up in the hands of the leaders who are best-positioned to take action," said co-chair Hank Paulson. "With the addition of these new Risk Committee members, we’ll be able to reach deeper into those areas of the American economy that face the greatest risk."

"The messenger matters," said co-chair Tom Steyer. “The new Risk Committee members provide the expertise needed to expand our reach, and effectively engage health care professionals, farmers, and others on the risks they face from climate change."

Risk Committee members span a broad range of the American political and business spectrum. Their responsibilities include reviewing the initiative’s independent climate risk assessment and sharing its findings with the industries, regions, and market segments that face the greatest risks from unmitigated climate change.

Members of the Risk Committee include:

  • Henry Cisneros, Founder & Chairman, CityView Capital; former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); former Mayor of San Antonio, TX
  • Gregory Page, former CEO and current Chair of the Board of Cargill, Inc.
  • Robert Rubin, Co-chairman, Council on Foreign Relations; former US Secretary of the Treasury
  • George Shultz, Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution; former US Secretary of State; former US Secretary of the Treasury; former US Secretary of Labor; former Director, Office of Management & Budget; former President, Bechtel Group
  • Donna Shalala, President, University of Miami; former US Secretary of Health and Human Services; former Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Olympia Snowe, former US Senator representing Maine
  • Al Sommer, Dean Emeritus, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University

[NOTE TO REPORTERS: Full statements from each of the Risk Committee members can be found on the Risky Business website at http://www.riskybusiness.org/media/risk-committee-statements]

"Energy and climate are inherently regional issues, and most regions of the U.S. lack a good quantitative analysis of the risks they face from catastrophic climate change,” said Kate Gordon, executive director of Risky Business and Vice President of the Energy and Climate program at Next Generation. “Our Risk Committee members bring an enormously valuable perspective to this challenge –they’re familiar with the proper role of risk assessment in decision making from their own illustrious careers, and they represent a diversity of American industries and geographies." 

Risk Committee co-chairs and members will work with an academic Expert Review Panel to review the methodology behind the economic analysis, to ensure the findings are sound, and to deliver strong and effective messages about climate risk to influential audiences across the country. The analysis will focus on quantifying the economic cost of the potential climate futures the U.S. faces, from changes in agricultural production due to heat waves and droughts to damage to coastal property and infrastructure from sea level rise and storm surge.

Launched in October, 2013, Risky Business (www.riskybusiness.org) is a year-long effort to quantify and publicize the economic risks the United States faces from the impacts of a changing climate.

The Risky Business initiative includes two core components:

An independent assessment of the economic risk of climate change in the United States, drawing on the best available scientific information, econometric research and modeling efforts. The results, to be released in the summer of 2014, will  detail risks by region of the country and sector of the economy.

An engagement effort will target the communities most at risk from a changing climate, and begin the process of helping leaders from these communities prepare a measured response to the risks they face. The engagement will be led by a risk committee composed of top national and regional leaders from across the American economic and political spectrum.

Risky Business is a joint initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Office of Hank Paulson, and Next Generation. All three organizations are providing staff input to the project, and are supporting an independent economic analysis that will quantify the range of likely costs of climate-driven impacts and weather disasters. Additional support for Risky Business was provided by the Skoll Global Threats Fund. Next Generation’s VP of Energy and Climate, Kate Gordon, serves as the Executive Director of the initiative.

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About Next Generation

Next Generation promotes solutions to two of the biggest challenges confronting the next generation of Americans:  The risk of dangerous climate change, and the threat of diminished prospects for children and families. Through the use of non-partisan research, policy development, and strategic communications, we identify strategies that help deploy clean, advanced energy technologies; we also work to ensure a level playing field from which today’s kids can build a brighter future.

Learn more at www.thenextgeneration.org , www.facebook.com/thenextgeneration.org and on Twitter @nextgen_USA.

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