“Much as we would like to do something about climate change”, the economists tell us, “the damage this would do to energy companies and to the wider economy is simply too great. We are just going to have to put up with a 4 to 6 degree global temperature rise because it costs too much to take action.”
This argument turns out to be wrong because it fails to account for the damage caused by our inaction according to a new analysis in Nature Climate Change. According to Simon Dietz and colleagues at the London School of Economics, the cost of business as usual is likely to be in the region of $25tn. More importantly, the cost of business as usual is actually greater than the cost of taking action to limit global warming to two degrees. Taking action on climate change would lead to a 0.2 percent increase in the value of global assets.
Although Dietz’ paper is likely to have its critics, major investors are taking the impact of climate change seriously. And as corporate concern about the potential damage to capital grows, governments will come under increasing pressure to deliver more than rhetoric over climate change.