Risk Committee Official Statements

Members of the Risky Business Project Risk Committee today released the following statements about the new report:

  • Michael R. Bloomberg: “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,” said Michael R. Bloomberg. “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.” Watch Michael R. Bloomberg’s video statement.
  • Hank Paulson: “The Risky Business report shows us that our economy is vulnerable to an overwhelming number of risks from climate change,” said Hank Paulson. “These risks include the potential for significant federal budget liabilities, since many businesses and property owners turn to the federal government as the insurer of last resort. But if we act immediately, we can still avoid most of the worst impacts of climate change and significantly reduce the odds of catastrophic outcomes – but the investments we’re making today will determine our economic future.” Watch Hank Paulson’s video statement.
  • Tom Steyer: “Climate change is nature’s way of charging us compound interest for doing the wrong thing,” said Tom Steyer. “The Risky Business report confirms what many of us have long suspected: The longer we wait to address the growing risks of climate change, the more it will cost us all. From a business perspective, given the many benefits of early action, it would be silly to allow these risks to accumulate to the point where we can no longer manage them.” Watch Tom Steyer’s video statement.
  • Henry Cisneros: “Developers, builders and community leaders must be cognizant of the implications of climate change. We’re all going to have to confront the risks we face from sea level rise, storm surge, and extreme heat. Many properties may become uninsurable due to rising ocean levels and the risk of inundation; many more will face tough choices about whether to rebuild or relocate. And many industries that rely on outdoor labor will need to think hard about how to minimize the risk that extreme heat poses to their workers. Risky Business provides us with a framework that helps us take the first step.” Watch Henry Cisneros’s video statement.
  • Gregory Page: “The real value of the Risky Business conversation, even in the presence of all kinds of uncertainty, is that it encourages us to think long-term about what actions we can take today that put us in the best position to be prepared for the future,” said Page. “We need to invest in innovative technologies and practices today so that we’re in the best position to be prepared for the future.”Watch Gregory Page’s video statement.
  • Robert Rubin: “Climate change is the existential issue of our age – it is cumulative and irreversible, and its impacts are potentially catastrophic and pose enormous threats to our country’s economic and fiscal health,” said Robert E. Rubin. “The federal government could ultimately bear enormous fiscal costs from climate change – when natural disasters strike, or when agricultural or health crises occur, the government provides large-scale emergency aid that is not presently accounted for in budget forecasts. Moreover, ongoing adaptive measures, such as the hardening and relocating of critical infrastructure, will be increasingly needed to cope with the effects of climate change. In addition, in my view, companies should disclose both their potential exposure to climate risk, and the potential costs they may someday be required to absorb to address carbon emissions.” Watch Robert Rubin’s video statement.
  • Donna Shalala: “In many ways, Florida is a testing ground for how the United States will manage the risks of climate change,” said Shalala. “Will we sit by and watch as many of our coastal cities face an ever-rising sea, and as severe heat strains our electric grids and hobbles our workers? Or will we act now to help reduce the risk that these impacts will spiral out of control in the future? It’s time for us all to step up.” Watch Donna Shalala’s video statement.
  • George Shultz: “The risks we take if the climate changes need to be identified carefully. We have done that here, in the spirit of creating an insurance policy. I support steps in that spirit, such as sustained support for and investments in innovation and resilience that put us in the best position to be prepared for all possible outcomes.”
  • Olympia Snowe: “What Risky Business shows us is that climate change poses measurable risks to our economy, and that some of these risks are quite severe,” Snowe said. “Our coastal communities are especially vulnerable to sea level rise and storm surge. But the risks get even worse if we don’t act to make our coastal infrastructure more resilient, and begin to mitigate the risks through reducing emissions. If we were told – in any sphere – that we had at least a 90% chance of averting a disaster through changes we ourselves could make, wouldn’t we take action?”
  • Al Sommer: “It’s an old joke that it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. Actually, it’s both: Over the next twenty to thirty years, there are many regions of the country where we’ll have higher levels of heat and humidity than we’ve ever seen. We’ll see more cases of heat stroke and mortality. And, if we stay on the ‘business as usual’ path, things only get worse from there – we shouldn’t take that risk.” Watch Al Sommer’s video statement.

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