by: Joel Makower
The relentless march of climate studies, research reports, and major initiatives that has come forth during this fledgling year has been breathtaking, to say the least. There's a new one this week. But first, consider that the following have been unleashed during 2007's first 50 days:
Climate change is a significant emerging global risk. Businesses- if they haven't already-must begin to account for it in their strategic and operational planning. Risks, which will vary by industry and geography, include the potential for physical damage due to changing weather patterns, fines and business constraints due to regulatory requirements, legal costs from possible litigation, investment risk from shareholder demands, changes in the competitive landscape as companies adapt to climate change, and possible brand damage if a company develops a reputation as a "climate change villain."
And now the latest. This week brings a new "global framework" from the Global Roundtable on Climate Change, signed by a host of big companies, calling on governments to set scientifically informed targets for greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide emissions and "to place a price on carbon emissions and to set forth policies aimed at addressing energy efficiency and de-carbonization in all sectors."
According to the statement -- endorsed by Allianz, Bayer, Citigroup, DuPont, General Electric, Volvo, and a range of others -- "Failing to act now would lead to far higher economic and environmental costs and greater risk of irreversible impacts."
Is there anybody outside the Bush Administration -- and maybe Exxon -- who doesn't understand that climate change represents one of the biggest risks ever to face the private sector? And that there are great financial benefits to reap from addressing it head-on with new, clean technologies?
If this is the case, why isn't every business-friendly politician working overtime to ensure that their constituents (and contributors) will survive and thrive?
And where is the anger against those business and political leaders who aren't at the front of this parade?