STATEMENT: Risky Business Report a Wake-Up Call to Economic Costs of Climate Change

A new report released today by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and climate advocate Tom Steyer examines existing data on the current and potential impacts of climate change.

June 24, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC (June 24, 2014) – A new report released today by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and climate advocate Tom Steyer examines existing data on the current and potential impacts of climate change and identifies the economic risks of failing to act. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas:

“The Risky Business report findings are absolutely sobering and a reminder to us all that climate change requires immediate and thoughtful solutions or there will continue to be enormous economic and environmental consequences to bear for our generation and for future generations to come. America’s risk assessment experts have issued a stark warning we can’t afford to ignore. The report’s findings show that average annual losses to coastal infrastructure will increase by $7.3 billion, crop yields are likely to drop significantly, and energy infrastructure will be overburdened even further and raise rates for consumers. These are only the short-term effects.

“As former Bush administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson underscored in a New York Times editorial this week, the time to act is now. Putting a national price on carbon is one step to addressing the growing and serious problem of climate change. Any price on carbon must include a strong, robust mechanism to ensure compliance by international trading partners. This includes creating a border adjustment tax mechanism. This mechanism would help ensure U.S. industries are competing on a level playing field with the international community, and it would serve as a strong incentive for industries overseas to comply.

“Revenues generated by a carbon tax in combination with a border adjustment tariff should be used to re-invest in high-impacted industries to ensure competitiveness, spur investment in our renewable energy sector, and provide significant investment in our infrastructure—whether it’s replacing old, leaky pipelines, a significant source of methane emissions, or rebuilding our highways and rails.

“It’s time for a price on carbon dioxide emissions. Until we do what’s needed to address climate change, we’re gambling with our economic prosperity for generations to come.”