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As the astronomical costs of unabated Global Warming is becoming clear to leaders of business, and government, a bipartisan group of leaders from government and business came together to study what we as a nation stand to lose if we continue along our current dirty energy fueled trajectory versus taking varying levels of action to ameliorate Global Warming. Their report titled Risky Business is well worth reading with regional breakdowns for the future effects we're facing in the near future.  

Bipartisan Report Tallies High Toll on Economy From Global Warming

By JUSTIN GILLIS

More than a million homes and businesses along the nation’s coasts could flood repeatedly before ultimately being destroyed. Entire states in the Southeast and the Corn Belt may lose much of their agriculture as farming shifts northward in a warming world. Heat and humidity will probably grow so intense that spending time outside will become physically dangerous, throwing industries like construction and tourism into turmoil.

That is a picture of what may happen to the United States economy in a world of unchecked global warming, according to a major new report released Tuesday by a coalition of senior political and economic figures from the left, right and center, including three Treasury secretaries stretching back to the Nixon administration.

At a time when the issue of climate change has divided the American political landscape, pitting Republicans against Democrats and even fellow party members against one another, the unusual bipartisan alliance of political veterans said that the country — and business leaders in particular — must wake up to the enormous scale of the economic risk.

“I actually do believe that we’re at a tipping point with the planet,” Mr. Paulson said in an interview at his home in Chicago. “A lot of things are going to happen that none of us are going to like to see.”
A future where just going outside will become much riskier in much of the country due to the increased heat and humidity, while other areas of our coasts will be under water should be enough to get the attention of leaders across a variety of fields.  

   
                                                 South Florida

Here's just a sample from the Risky Business report:

Risky Business pdf

Our key findings underscore the reality that if we stay on our current emissions path, our climate risks will multiply and accumulate as the decades tick by. These risks include:

• Large-scale losses of coastal property and infrastructure

If we continue on our current path, by 2050 between $66 billion and $106 billion worth of existing coastal property will likely be below sea level nationwide, with $238 billion to $507 billion worth of property below sea level by 2100.

The purported cost savings of doing nothing are illusory. The more aggressive the actions we take now the smaller the economic costs we'll have to face in a few short decades. Taking the long view adopting more vigorous measures now is the most prudent course of action.  

This shouldn't be a partisan issue.

Originally posted to Lefty Coaster on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 12:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots, Climate Hawks, and Climate Change SOS.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My neighborhood would be heavily impacted by 2100 (21+ / 0-)

    by sea level rise if we continue down the "Business as Usual" path.  

    "The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations." ~ Thomas Jefferson

    by Lefty Coaster on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 12:55:08 PM PDT

  •  Well said, Lefty. (12+ / 0-)

    Business as usual is totally unacceptable. Your last paragraph says it beautifully.

    The purported cost savings of doing nothing are illusory. The more aggressive the actions we take now the smaller the economic costs we'll have to face in a few short decades. Taking the long view adopting more vigorous measures now is the most prudent course of action.  
  •  The cost of insurance will skyrocket.. (9+ / 0-)

    ..as time goes on; not just for flood zones

    That poses substantial risks to taxpayers, who subsidize the National Flood Insurance Program, which has already been put more than $20 billion in the red by storms of recent years.
    So even people who do not live where immediate flooding could take their home, or even those who may view global warming as.. meh, will be hurt. This is a powerful motivator for those - imo

    Thx for this report Lefty Coaster

  •  Non-crazy Republicans in the panel (6+ / 0-)

    That might be a fig leaf for non-crazy House GOP members to hold on to, if the district they are in is a safe seat.  Not counting on it.

  •  my neighborhood (5+ / 0-)

    will be high and dry, maybe too dry and too hot to support the agriculture and tourism that has made this a nice place to live and work the last several decades.

    Not much about getting old has felt all that good, aches and pains, falling asleep when I get quiet, can't remember where the keys are,  etc.   But dying soon enough to miss the worst of climate change, finally some good news about old age.

  •  Much faster cost due to loss of coastal property (7+ / 0-)

    As it becomes obvious that every piece of property along the east Coast not much above mean high tide will be flooded due to sea level rise and increased intensity storms, real estate values will plummet. These properties will lose all of their market value as insurance companies refuse coverage. Add to this the built-in continued rise of sea level and we are in for an awakening of what this means to coastal communities. The upper bound is something like 80 meters sea level rise as all of the land ice melts and the oceans warm up. We are just beginnning to enter that graph. We need a believable scenario where human changes cause us to exit that curve. Any realistic projection will have to include tipping points already passed. My guess is that we will see a good part of that 80m rise over time, regardless.

    But back to my point. By 2050 the secondary effects of an awakening will cause a loss of an order of magnitude greater than predicted. Add to that the cost of trying to protect low lying communities and the eventual cost of moving our coastal infrastructures upland and you have a staggering cost number in the order of multiples of our GDP.

  •  The Operative Term is "Write-Off." Like New Orlns. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Wells, TJ, JVolvo

    Think of the wealth of the 99% in 2008; think of the portion of the 2010's and 2020's economy that would have been supported by 20-somethings who instead are locked out of major purchases due to education debt.

    A lot of wealth and value just gets abandoned, goes away. That's America of the 21st century.

    High value assets like top end vacation areas etc. will have government underwritten insurance as oligarchy expands and evolves.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 02:10:36 PM PDT

  •  After the 2007 financial crash (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan

    I read a fair amount about the bankers and traders involved.  They all knew the securities they were trading were shit and would crash up sooner or later; but there was so much money to be made.  Their motto was IBGYBG (I'll be gone,you'll be gone).  Gigantic losses in 2050 won't be our elites' problem.  Too far away, and they're sure they'd be immune anyway.  

    You could also look at Jared Diamonds' Collapse, about how societies like Easter Island knew they were heading for collapse but cut down all the trees anyway.

    As Gaius Publicus at Americablog has written,  we are not going to convince these guys with numbers.  They're going to have to be forced to change.

  •  Report seemed a bit soft on some impacts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    They seemed to stress the financial impact of coastal changes, but downplayed other impacts.  For example, they noted that agriculture in some areas would be impacted, but seemed to think food production could simply move to more northern states.   But other climate related changes like the polar vortex could prevent moving crop production farther to the north.  And the recent drought in California, if it continues or re-occurs on a regular basis, could seriously impact food production & availability in the western U.S.

    Having a bipartisan group behind the report is definitely a positive step.  But the conclusions don't seem to provide a strong enough warning given the current situation.  A good step, but we need more.

    It is beginning to feel like we're so far along (too late to expect to change the 30-50 year short term future) that we should be working on two fronts now:
    1. Stop making it worse (e.g. shift to clean energy ASAP)
    2. Start work on solutions to help restructure our population needs to align with the inevitable changes.

    Still trying to figure it all out

    by CindyV on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 04:44:12 PM PDT

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