July 3, 2014 at 1:00 am


Ignoring climate change is risky

Last week, three of America’s most successful business executives published “Risky Business,” the most rigorous and comprehensive analysis to date of what climate change could do to America’s economy.

In his June 27 column, “Climate alarmists won’t save economy,” WJR’s Frank Beckmann mocked the report as a conspiracy produced by “snake oil salesmen” bent on destroying the oil, gas and coal companies that compete with their “green” investments.

If climate change were less serious, Beckmann’s piece would have been funny. After all, it’s hard not to smile at cracks about “the wizards of smart in the church of environmental religion.”

It’s easy to see why so many people are frustrated by the climate change debate. Partisans on both sides take themselves so seriously they end up talking past one another.

To Beckmann, environmentalists are “climate opportunists. To environmentalists, Beckmann’s a “climate denier.”

Let’s look at the facts. Farm yields are falling. Storms are disrupting supply chains and slowing factory production. Resorts, concert promoters and sports teams are losing more revenue to heavy rains and high temperatures. Great Lakes shippers are leaving thousands of tons of cargo on the docks because lake levels are so low.

The impact, for now, is small. But most CEOs tell us they manage their business assuming these severe trends will continue. They are preparing now, because it is good business.

When several of America’s best CEOs get together with the companies that insure your home, the analysts who rate your company’s bonds, and the investors who help manage your 401(k), it pays to listen.

Jim Doyle, president, Business Forward