The chairman of the largest private company in America just told the 1 percent to worry about climate change

Gregory Page, Executive Chairman and former CEO of Cargill. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)
Gregory Page, Executive Chairman and former CEO of Cargill. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)
Robert S. Eshelman | The Nation | June 25, 2014

The US economy could suffer damages running into the hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century due to climate change, according to a study released yesterday. The report, titled "Risky Business," is the first comprehensive assessment of the economic risks of climate change to the United States. It was commissioned by a panel of influential business leaders and former government officials, including hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Bush administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

 

"I have had a fair amount of experience over my career in attempting to understand and manage risk," said Paulson, alluding to the 2008 financial collapse. "In many ways the climate bubble is actually more cruel and more perverse."Among the study's conclusions:

  • By 2050, between $66 billion and $106 billion worth of coastal property will likely be below sea level, rising to $238 billion to $507 billion by 2100.
  • Extreme storms and hurricanes will likely cause damages exceeding $42 billion annually along the eastern seaboard and Gulf Coast.
  • Labor productivity, of outdoor workers, such as in construction, utility maintenance, landscaping and agriculture, particularly in the Southeast, could shrink by as much as 3 percent due to the projected number of days with temperatures topping 95 degrees.
  • Agricultural yields could plummet by as much as 70 percent due to extreme heat waves.