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Wall Street Warns About Cost Of Doing Nothing On Climate Change

As President Obama heads to the Arctic to discuss climate change, just mere weeks after approving Shell Oil’s bid to drill for oil in the treacherous Chukchi Sea, a very different group is sounding the alarm over the dangers of a warming climate. That group, surprisingly, is Wall Street bankers.

Citibank has released a new report showing that taking action now against the growing threat of climate change would save an astonishing $1.8 trillion by the year 2040. Conversely, the report says that if no action is taken, the economy will lose as much as $44 trillion during that same time period.

As Think Progress points out, the Citibank report takes into account the potential lost revenue from leaving resources in the ground — including 80% of coal reserves, half of the world’s gas reserves, and a third of global oil reserves — and still concludes that the global economy would see a net gain.

This report offers a very stark contrast to the typical talking point that we hear as to why we can’t take action on climate change — that action would simply cost too much. 

But this is not the first time that financial leaders have warned about the financial dangers of climate change.

Earlier this summer, a group of current and former Wall Street executives and former U.S. Treasury Secretaries warned that a 2 degrees Celsius increase in global temperatures could result in property losses in the state of Florida totaling $23 billion by the middle of this century. On top of the economic losses from property being underwater, the Southeast would also begin to see an alarming rise in yearly deaths due to extreme heat, with some estimates putting the yearly death toll as high as 35,000 people a year.  Agricultural losses could be as high as 20% of current yield.

If Wall Street understands the threat of climate change, even if only in terms of dollars, then this begs the question as to why they continue to fund climate change denying politicians.

Since 2014, Wall Street banks, real estate firms, and insurance companies — all industries that have expressed enormous concern over the financial threat of climate change — have poured an astonishing $507 million into political campaigns and lobbying activities.  62% of this money went to Republicans.

The reason that Party split is significant is because we have more climate change-denying members of the House and Senate then at any other point in time, and nearly every single one of them are members of the Republican Party.  According to an analysis by Think Progress, 53% of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives deny that climate change is real, and 70% of Republicans in the Senate refuse to admit that climate change is real.

If they want to be taken seriously, and if they want their financial concerns addressed by politicians, then Wall Street bankers need to immediately stop the flow of corporate campaign cash that is going to climate change deniers. As long as those people hold seats of power in Washington, D.C., then we will continue to see action stalled year after year.

 

Image source – Huffington Post UK.

Like a kid in a candy store
When those boxes of heavily redacted documents start to pile in, reporters at The Narwhal waste no time in looking for kernels of news that matter the most. Just ask our Prairies reporter Drew Anderson, who gleefully scanned through freedom of information files like a kid in a candy store, leading to pretty damning revelations in Alberta this spring. Long story short: the government wasn’t being forthright when it claimed its pause on new renewable energy projects wasn’t political. Just like that, our small team was again leading the charge on a pretty big story

In an oil-rich province like Alberta, that kind of reporting is crucial. But look at our investigative work on the Coastal GasLink pipeline to the west, or our Greenbelt reporting out in Ontario. They all highlight one thing: those with power over our shared natural world don’t want you to know how — or why — they call the shots. And we try to disrupt that.

Our journalism is powered by people just like you. We never take corporate ad dollars, or put this public-interest information behind a paywall. Here’s the thing: we need 300 new members to join this month to meet our budget. Will you join the pod of Narwhals that make a difference by helping us uncover some of the most important stories of our time?
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When those boxes of heavily redacted documents start to pile in, reporters at The Narwhal waste no time in looking for kernels of news that matter the most. Just ask our Prairies reporter Drew Anderson, who gleefully scanned through freedom of information files like a kid in a candy store, leading to pretty damning revelations in Alberta this spring. Long story short: the government wasn’t being forthright when it claimed its pause on new renewable energy projects wasn’t political. Just like that, our small team was again leading the charge on a pretty big story

In an oil-rich province like Alberta, that kind of reporting is crucial. But look at our investigative work on the Coastal GasLink pipeline to the west, or our Greenbelt reporting out in Ontario. They all highlight one thing: those with power over our shared natural world don’t want you to know how — or why — they call the shots. And we try to disrupt that.

Our journalism is powered by people just like you. We never take corporate ad dollars, or put this public-interest information behind a paywall. Here’s the thing: we need 300 new members to join this month to meet our budget. Will you join the pod of Narwhals that make a difference by helping us uncover some of the most important stories of our time?

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The Narwhal’s reporters uncover energy stories that send shockwaves throughout Canada. But they can’t do it alone — we need to add 300 new members this month to meet our budget. Will you support crucial climate reporting that makes an impact?