ECONOMICS

ECONOMICS


The vast economic implications of climate change are explored here as we acknowledge  the interrelationships of economic and financial risk that are associated and often amplify one another --for example, weather-related property destruction can lead to bank losses, leading to less lending, leading to reduced investment, etc. We are watching, in these pages, the federal reserve closely as they monitor these connections – along with the actions of international organizations, governments, businesses as we search to develop an understanding of the implications of climate change for the financial sector and the financial stability of ourselves, our families, and our world.

We are also looking to gain information which can, in turn,  wield influence and encourage action by individuals, communities, financial organizations (such as pension funds), insurance companies, corporations and governments. Each member of the economy can influence change within their area of influence if they realize the extent of their power and wish to exercise it.

The section is organized in the following way:

CORONAVIRUS: As a result of the pandemic, global emission dropped in 2020 but the decline wasn’t nearly enough to halt the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This page also appears in the HEALTH section of the website.

COSTS: Extreme weather events cost U.S. taxpayers $99 billion in 2020 and things are only getting worse, and that is not taking into consideration the health impacts, and other side effects of climate change. Economic experts and climate insurers have warned that if climate change continues unmitigated, the world economy (particularly in developing countries) will lose growth opportunities in the trillions of dollars.

JOBS: Our future economic health will be heavily impacted by the jobs a clean energy future can deliver. It focuses on where the green jobs are growing.

INVESTMENTS AND DIVESTMENTS: As individual shareholders, we can take advantage of ESG (Energy, Sustainability, and Governance) investing and deliver our dollars to organizations, corporations and ideologies that are fighting against climate change. We can also divest from those organizations as can university, government and union pension funds.

INSURANCE: Insurance companies are in the business of predicting future loss, and so must ensure that they reserve for such events. What happens when history is no longer a reliable guide for predicting the future? Going forward, insurance companies may have a heavier hand in shaping human behavior. It’s unlikely that homebuyers would purchase (or be able to purchase) a house in uninsurable areas, for example.

HOUSING: Extreme weather has caused the burning and flooding of thousands of homes. It has destroyed power in both the 2019/20 Texas winter freeze and the 2021 summer hurricanes. It has disproportionately harmed the poor who have fewer resources to move. We have numerous mitigation and adaptation measures to explore.

THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY: Eliminating waste and pollution, this is instead a closed-loop system emphasizing reuse, recycling, sharing, and repair. Ideally, waste and pollution are cut out of the equation in the design phase, and products and materials are kept in use. One of the tools in our tool box.

CARBON PRICING: Burning fossil fuels is by far the greatest source of the greenhouse gases causing climate change. However, the full cost of fossil fuel energy is not included in the price of the fuel. We pay for that later when we deal with the consequences of global warming. Using a car to illustrate this point, “We pay for the gas, we pay for the car, and we pay for the insurance, but we don’t pay for the pollution that comes out of the tail pipe.” This page explores different carbon pricing solutions and appears again in our POLITICS section.

Click on any circle to learn about one of the billion-dollar weather events, or any state to learn about billion-dollar droughts, between January 2000 and January 2022. Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center. The Top 10 costliest events are listed at the bottom of this page, along with a description of major U.S. droughts since 2000.

CREDIT: C2ES

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

Track public money for energy in recovery packages

08/02/22
As governments across the world continue to invest hundreds of billions in the energy system to reboot their economies, our analysis is expanding to cover more countries and provide a more comprehensive global picture. Countries…

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures

04/18/22
Financial markets need clear, comprehensive, high-quality information on the impacts of climate change. This includes the risks and opportunities presented by rising temperatures, climate-related policy, and emerging technologies in our changing world.

Origin of the Network for Greening the Financial System

11/30/21
At the Paris “One Planet Summit” in December 2017, eight central banks and supervisors established the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS). Since then, the membership of the Network…

Tracking climate mitigation efforts in 30 major emitters

11/02/21
This report by NewClimate Institute, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and FTSE Russell tracks climate mitigation efforts in 30 countries and regions. Our analysis shows that emissions trends remain far from the goals…

Gauging Economic Consensus on Climate Change – Issue Brief

04/14/21
We conducted a large-sample global survey on climate economics, which we sent to all economists who have published climate-related research in the field’s highest-ranked academic journals; 738 responded. To our knowledge, this is the largest-ever…

Climate Roadmap for U.S. Financial Regulation

04/08/21
The Biden Administration has taken office with an urgent climate mandate to act on climate and announced a “whole-of-government” approach in response.1 Because climate change threatens our financial system and, indeed, entire economy, the United…

Addressing Climate as a Systemic Risk: A call to action for U.S. financial regulators

10/01/20
This Ceres report outlines how and why U.S. financial regulators, who are responsible for protecting the stability and competitiveness of the U.S. economy, need to recognize and act on climate change as a systemic risk.

Moving To A Finite Earth Economy – Crew Manual

04/25/20
Moving To A Finite Earth Economy By 2030 Addresses Two Critical Human Issues: The Existential Threat Of Climate Change, And The Fact That Growth Economies Are The Root Cause.

Resources as a Constraint on Growth By William D. Nordhaus

12/18/19
Things which have traditionally been treated as free goods-air, water, quiet, natural beauty-must now be treated with the same care as other scarce goods.

MORE NEWS

It costs nothing to leave our trees as they are

By Carole King  Photo: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket   08/25/22  
My career as a songwriter began in Manhattan, not far from where I was born. When I moved to Los Angeles in 1968, I became part of the singer-songwriter community that coalesced around Laurel Canyon.…

20 million US homes are behind on energy bills

By Mark Chediak  Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg   08/23/22  
Adrienne Nice woke up early on the morning of July 25 to news she’d been dreading. The power company, Xcel Energy Inc., had shut off the electricity to the small Minneapolis apartment she shares with…

Chart: America’s surge of spending on clean energy

By Ben Geman  Photo: Axios Visuals   08/23/22  
A new report from the think tank RMI has a banger of a graphic that puts new and recent energy laws into historical context.

Trillions at risk because central banks’ climate models not up to scratch

By Peter Hannam  Photo: Darren Pateman/EPA   08/10/22  
Climate research finds modelling used cannot predict localised extreme weather, leading to poor estimations of risk.

Fighting inflation with climate action

By Manuela Andreoni  Photo: Guglielmo Mangiapane, Reuters   08/09/22  
Democrats this weekend muscled through what would be the biggest expenditure ever by the United States to slow global warming, but you wouldn’t necessarily know from the name of the measure that it had anything…

Trillions of dollars at risk because central banks’ climate models not up to scratch

By Peter Hannam  Photo: Darren Pateman, EPA   08/09/22  
Trillions of dollars may be misallocated to deal with the wrong climate threats around the world because the models used by central banks and regulators aren’t fit for purpose, a leading Australian climate researcher says.…

How a four-day workweek could be better for the climate

By Allyson Chiu   08/08/22  
Reducing the workweek to four days could have a climate benefit, advocates say. In addition to improving the well-being of workers, they say slashing working hours may reduce carbon emissions. It’s what you might call…

The bean counters who may get superpowers

By Andrew Ross Sorkin  Photo: David Ryder, Getty Images   08/04/22  
The Senate could vote as soon as this week on a climate and tax bill that, if passed, would hand a good deal of power to an obscure group of accountants in Norwalk, Conn. Yesterday…

‘They are not slowing down’: The rise of billion-dollar disasters

Brady Dennis  Photo: Jesse Barber   08/04/22  
One battered N.C. community illustrates how summer, fueled in part by climate change, is proving an especially perilous and costly season.

Amazon emissions increased 18% last year as Covid drove online shopping surge

By Annie Palmer  Photo: Paul Hennessy, Getty Images   08/01/22  
Amazon’s carbon emissions jumped 18% last year, as the company reckoned with a pandemic-driven surge in e-commerce and grew its business to meet that extra demand. In its annual sustainability report issued Monday, Amazon said…

Spotting green business opportunities in a surging net-zero world

By Hauke Engel and Others   08/01/22  
This interactive timeline presents a hypothetical scenario and is not meant to serve as a projection or prediction. It explores the uneven changes in spending, output, and job creation that could potentially occur in the…

Manchin’s Climate Bill Includes $27 Billion for a Green Bank. Here’s Why That’s a Big Deal

By Kristoffer Tigue  Photo: Anna Moneymaker, Getty Images   07/29/22  
For 13 years, Reed Hundt has chased the idea of a national green bank, but to no avail. As CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital, a global incubator for green banks, Hundt has long…

Food waste costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars a year

By Chloe Sorvino  Photo: Philip Smith for Forbes   07/14/22  
Every year, $400 billion ends up in dumpsters, and because it cuts into corporate profits, companies can treat it as tax deductible.

Inside Clean Energy: Some EVs Now Pay for Themselves in a Year

By James Pothen  Photo: John Walton , Getty Images   07/14/22  
Pavel Molchanov did the math so you don’t have to. He’s been analyzing numbers for nearly 20 years at Raymond James, the financial services firm. His job is to give clear-eyed advice to investors, free…

June 2022: U.S. dominated by remarkable heat, dryness

Photo: NOAA National Weather Service-Cleveland/Neil Fischer   07/11/22  
June kicked off a very warm and dry start to meteorological summer for the U.S., according to experts from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

Clean energy investment lags as oil and gas prices soar.

By Patricia Cohen  Photo: Yves Herman/Reuters   06/22/22  
The head of the International Energy Agency said high prices for fossil fuels would probably persist for years.

The US Can Halve Its Emissions by 2030—if It Wants To

By Matt Simon  Photo: David Paul Morris/Getty Images   06/15/22  
You can’t see them or hear them, but there are huge, hidden forces propelling the United States into the energy future. Last year, the Biden administration committed to eliminating half the country’s greenhouse gas emissions…

Why an energy crisis and $5 gas aren’t spurring a green revolution

By Evan Halper  Photo: George Rose/Getty Images   06/14/22  
As high prices move consumers to rethink their attachment to oil and gas, America is struggling to meet the moment.

Wall Street firms face W.Va. boycott over alleged fossil fuel bias

By Jordan Wolman  Photo: Michael Virtanen , AP   06/14/22  
BlackRock Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., JP Morgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and U.S. Bancorp are due to be placed on West Virginia’s Restricted Financial Institution List in 45…

Accelerating toward net zero: The green business building opportunity

By Rob Bland and Others   06/14/22  
Getting to net zero will require tremendous, rapid change and large-scale technology deployment across industries. The transition will create massive opportunities to build entirely new businesses. A recent McKinsey report found that reaching net zero…

Why gas prices are so high

By Ella Koeze and Clifford Krauss  Graph: Energy Information Administration   06/14/22  
Gas prices in the United States are at record highs. And even when adjusting for inflation, they are on average at levels rarely seen in the last 50 years, including during the energy crisis of…

Driving with electricity is much cheaper than with gasoline

By Karin Kirk   06/02/22  
The rising cost of gasoline and diesel is both a frequent headline and an ongoing financial drain for many, let alone a major issue in the upcoming November midterm elections. But unlike previous gas crunches,…

Europe’s Russian Oil Ban Could Overhaul Global Energy Market

By Clifford Krauss  Photo: An Rong Xu , The New York Times   06/01/22  
The European Union’s embargo on most Russian oil imports could deliver a fresh jolt to the world economy, propelling a realignment of global energy trading that leaves Russia economically weaker, gives China and India bargaining…

Why a Global Price on Freshwater Might be Needed in the Climate Change Era

By Ciara Nugent  Photo: Natalie Behring , Getty Images   05/31/22  
Do you pay for the water you use? The answer may seem like an obvious “yes”—you probably get a water bill every month, charging you a cent or two for every gallon that comes out…

Big Fossil’s disaster capitalist response to Russia-Ukraine

By Amy Westervelt  Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images   05/25/22  
The industry moved quickly to capture the narrative, going from disinformation blitz to policy wins within a matter of weeks.

HSBC suspends head of responsible investing who called climate warnings ‘shrill’

By Kalyeena Makortoff  Photo: Joe Raedle , Getty Images   05/22/22  
HSBC has suspended a senior banker after he referred to climate crisis warnings as “unsubstantiated” and “shrill” during a conference speech that has since been denounced by the lender’s chief executive. Stuart Kirk, who has…

Could Google’s carbon emissions have effectively doubled overnight?

By Bill McKibben  Illustration: Alberto Miranda   05/20/22  
A new report suggests the money that Big Tech companies keep in the banking system can do more climate damage than the products they sell.

The true cost of the climate stalemate in Congress

By David Wallace-Wells  Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Getty Images   05/19/22  
How bad is the climate stalemate? In the United States, we have gotten used to legislative inaction, on climate as with much else. But even by those debased standards a failure to pass a major…

Climate Change Threatens $2 Trillion ‘Blue Economy’

Photo: Nasa , Mauri Estes   05/16/22  
Earth observations like those from NASA satellites are critical to understanding the threats of climate change to Earth’s ocean, according to a recent article in Oceanography led by the Ecological Forecasting program area. The article,…

Cutting air pollution from fossil fuels would save 50,000 lives a year, study says

By Steven Mufson  Photo: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post   05/16/22  
Eliminating air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels would prevent more than 50,000 premature deaths and provide more than $600 billion in health benefits in the United States every year, according to a new study…

Big Oil investors reject calls for stricter climate goals — so far

By Maxine Joselow  Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images   05/13/22  
Investors in three of the world's largest oil and gas companies this week rejected proposals for the firms to set stronger climate targets, as fossil fuel firms reap record profits following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Climate chaos certain if oil and gas mega-projects go ahead, warns IEA chief

By Fiona Harvey and Others   05/12/22  
The world’s leading energy economist has warned against investing in large new oil and gas developments, which would have little impact on the current energy crisis and soaring fuel prices but spell devastation to the…

SEC extends deadline for public to comment on climate risk proposal

By Rachel Frazin   05/09/22  
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) extended how long the public will have to weigh in on a proposal that would require companies to reveal their vulnerabilities and contributions to climate change.

Leader of Treasury’s Climate Hub touts ‘agitating’ role

By Avery Ellfeldt  Photo : Ben Hider , Getty Images   05/05/22  
John Morton was tapped last year to lead Treasury's first-ever "Climate Hub" as part of the administration's whole-of-government approach to climate change. A year later, the former Obama official and sustainable investing veteran says his…

Shareholder proposals to limit fossil-fuel financing fail to gain traction at 3 major banks

By Anna Hrushka   04/28/22  
Citi’s proposal, which would have limited the bank from lending and underwriting new oil and gas projects, garnered 12.8% of the vote. Similar proposals at Wells Fargo and Bank of America each received 11% of…

The GOP’s New War On Divestment

By Donald Shaw  Photo: Martin Meissner , AP Photo   04/28/22  
Republican state and federal lawmakers, their campaign coffers filled with fossil fuel donations, are quietly building a nationwide effort to pass anti-divestment bills that would punish financial institutions that consider the climate crisis in their…
AP

EXPLAINER: Can climate change be solved by pricing carbon?

By Matthew Brown  Photo: Charlie Riedel, AP Photo   04/22/22  
As climate change bakes the planet, dozens of nations and many local governments are putting a price tag on greenhouse gas emissions that are increasing flooding, droughts and other costly catastrophes...

Forget gas prices. The billionaire club’s run on cobalt says everything about our battery-powered future

By Willem Marx  Photo: Richard Mosse   04/21/22  
As the bankers from J.P. Morgan’s London offices stepped off the two-hour private flight from Johannesburg onto the hot runway, soldiers sporting sunglasses and semiautomatics watched them closely. The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s brutal…

Giant global asset managers have $82 billion in coal projects, $468 billion in oil and gas

By Catherine Clifford  Photo: Erin Scott/Reuters   04/20/22  
Reclaim Finance found that collectively 30 asset managers have $82 billion in companies developing new coal projects and $468 billion in 12 major oil and gas companies. In a ranking of the asset managers, six…

The Asset Managers Fueling Climate Chaos

By Lara Cuvelier   04/20/22  
We surveyed 30 major asset managers, mostly headquartered in Europe (25) and in the US (5) and among the biggest institutions worldwide in terms of assets under management. We analyzed their investment practices regarding climate…

What the 1970s teaches about today’s energy crisis

By Heather Richards  Photo: Ashley Landis , AP Photo   04/12/22  
The Biden administration faces an oil crisis the likes of which haven’t been seen since the price shocks of the 1970s. That troubled decade is burned on the American imagination with its Nixonian price controls…

Communicating the financial risk of climate change

04/08/22  
On April 1st, 2022, we explored what can be learned from finance professionals working to communicate the risks to peoples’ pocketbooks associated with climate change. Ivan Frishberg, Senior Vice President and Chief Accountability Officer of…

Climate change could cost U.S. budget $2 trln a year by end century

By Timothy Gardner  Photo: REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo   04/04/22  
Flood, fire, and drought fueled by climate change could take a massive bite out of the U.S. federal budget per year by the end of the century, the White House said in its first ever…

Renewables Are Key to Cutting Emissions Over Next Decade, U.N. Panel Says

By Nidhi Subbaraman  Photo: Theo Stroomer   04/04/22  
Countries must make major, rapid shifts away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy to meet the goals in the 2015 Paris agreement, climate experts tapped by the United Nations said in a report...

Revolutionary changes in transportation could slow global warming

By Alan Jenn  Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images   04/04/22  
Around the world, revolutionary changes are under way in transportation. More electric vehicles are on the road, people are taking advantage of sharing mobility services such as Uber and Lyft, and the rise in telework…

The new IPCC report was delayed as scientists debated carbon capture

By Ciara Nugent  Photo: Getty Images—Abstract Aerial Art   04/04/22  
Cutting greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the worst of climate change would be relatively cheap and technologically feasible, but governments and financial bodies are failing to do so as they continue to prop up the…

You’ve heard Bitcoin fuels the climate crisis,but did you know a software code change could clean it up?

04/01/22  
And it’s quickly surpassing more countries, according to the University of Cambridge. Unless its price is decoupled from its energy use, Bitcoin will drive devastating climate impacts.

Ben McKenzie Would Like a Word With the Crypto Bros

By David Yaffe-Bellany  Photo: Eli Durst , The New York Times   03/31/22  
Ben McKenzie was driving his father’s silver Subaru through Texas farmland, talking in breathless bursts about money: who has it, who needs it, what makes it real or fake. He detailed the perils of cryptocurrency…

US Taxpayers Are Spending Billions to Keep Farms on Flooded, Unproductive Land

By Georgina Gustin   03/31/22  
The vast Mississippi River watershed contains famously fertile soil, making the cropland of the American Midwest some of the most valuable and productive in the world. The watershed is also projected to flood more frequently…

EV Shift Would Spur Trillions in Health Benefits, Report Says

By Jennifer Hijazi   03/30/22  
Widespread transition to zero-emission vehicles would yield more than $1 trillion in public health benefits, according to research from the American Lung Association. A nationwide switch to electric cars and other vehicles would save 110,000…