Conservatives have been reluctant to talk about or acknowledge the actual cause of climate change, because they fear that doing so will lead to action that will cost money. But despite their efforts to cast doubt on the reality of the issue, awareness is steadilyÂ growing that not only is climate change real, but that over time, the cost of not taking action will far exceed the cost of actions being proposed.
Red state politicians and talk radio hosts continue to press the denial agenda, but among the more respected leaders in traditionally conservative areas such as big business and the military, the tone has shifted considerably.
According to the Climate Disclosure Project (CDP), 60 major American companies from Google to Gap, have reported significant impacts to their business as the result of climate change. Business leaders are making strategic investments now, to reduce future risk. Says CDP President Tom Carnac, âDealing with climate change is now a cost of doing business.â
Large companies with large supply chains are particularly vulnerable. In a new report entitled, âMajor Public Companies Describe Climate-related Risks and Costs,â impacts are described confronting ten business sectors ranging from Consumer Discretionary, to Energy, to Industrial, to Health Care.
Over the three year period since the first report was issued, the average likelihood of physical risks, according to the companies responding, grew from 34% to 50%. And the fraction expecting to see impacts within the next 1-5 years also grew from 26% to 45%. Four of the top five assessed physical risk drivers remained the same over the three years. These were:
- Changes in precipitation extremes and droughts
- Major storms (hurricanes, cyclones,etc.)
- Induced changes in natural resources
- Uncertainty of physical risks
Sea level rise emerged as a top risk driver this year. The top 3 impacts also remained the same. These were:
- Increased operational cost
- Reduction/disruption in production capacity
- Inability to do business
Other impacts included reduced demand for products and services, and increased capital cost.
Some specific examples include soft drink companies like PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group stating concerns over changing temperatures, unreliable crops, uncertain water availability and surging energy costs disrupting business and putting US$2.5 billion of their sales costs at risk.
Data centers are becoming more expensive to cool as temperatures rise.