Reducing the risk that is posed by anthropogenic climate change is both economically and technically viable, according to a new report published by nonpartisan research project Risky Business.
The new report, From Risk to Return: Investing in a Clean Energy Economy, concludes that not only is addressing the risks posed by climate change both economically and technically viable, but it also would create significant new opportunities for American business.
However, to address the risks requires building a clean energy economy in America, based on three pillars — widespread electrification, including of cars and homes, electricity generation from zero- or low-carbon sources, and energy efficiency upgrades. All of which requires a “clear and consistent policy framework” which can unlock the investments needed — an average of $320 billion annually in private sector investment through 2050. This isn’t so out of this world, however, considering that recent major investments by American business to the tune of $350 billion a year were made for computers and software.
“Companies and governments across the globe need to reduce their vulnerability to climate change and work to curb carbon emissions,” said Risky Business Project Co-Chair Henry M. Paulson. “Transforming the U.S. economy to rely on low-carbon, clean energy would be a massive undertaking, but this report shows we can achieve this vision with existing technologies.”
Further, investments into clean energy could yield on average up to $366 billion in savings per year from reductions in spending on fossil fuels, and the country would gain over 1 million new jobs by 2030 (while losing only 270,000 jobs in coal mining, oil, and gas related jobs).
“Coal is dying because cheaper and cleaner forms of energy are replacing it,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, Co-Chair of the Risky Business Project. “This transition is both saving lives and saving us money, and the faster we can accelerate it, the better off our country will be.”
The report calls on business leaders to prioritize actionable plans for incorporating climate risk into their company’s decision-making.
“The stakes for our planet are higher than they have ever been and the cost of inaction is one our economy simply cannot afford,” concluded Risky Business Project Co-Chair Thomas F. Steyer. “Moving to clean energy will help mitigate the worst negative impacts of climate change and create enormous opportunity for American businesses. Now, more than ever, business must lead this transition for the sake of our climate, our country, and our economic security.”
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