Cisneros Discusses Climate Risk at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies

Washington, DC – Chairman and Founder of City View Capital and Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros delivered an address to the CEO Policy Advisory Board of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies today on the economic risks a changing climate poses to the real estate industry and housing professionals.

“I believe the real estate industry has to better understand the increased economic risk that climate change will entail,” said Cisneros. He offered an example: “Low-lying coastal communities are already experiencing problems from storm surge, and the resulting loss of insurance and declining property values, problems that will only be exacerbated by income inequality.”

Secretary Cisneros is a Risk Committee member with Next Generation’s Risky Business project, an initiative of top business leaders, including former Treasury Secretaries Hank Paulson, Bob Rubin and George Schultz, seeking to quantify the economic risks associated with climate change.  The group will release a report in the summer of 2014 detailing the range of economic risks to key sectors, including real estate, agriculture, financial services and health care.

Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies seeks to inform policy and advance understanding of housing issues – with a special focus on poverty – through research, education, and public outreach.

Cisneros is also a co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission, which works to elevate housing to the top of the national policy agenda. Mr. Cisneros has a strong record of engaging vulnerable communities on a multitude of issues, as well as speaking on how housing policy can address financial stability and lifestyle choice – issues he raised in his remarks.

Launched in October, 2013, Risky Business ( 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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