Mayor Bloomberg’s New Climate-Risk Initiative

The soon-to-be-former mayor of New York City has an op-ed in today’s Washington Post to announce a new project he’s starting that will “arm decision-makers with the information they need to determine how much climate risk they are comfortable taking on.” His opener:

If the United States were run like a business, its board of directors would fire its financial advisers for failing to disclose the significant and material risks associated with unmitigated climate change.

Actually, if the United States were run like a business, we’d be in banrkuptcy court right about now working out arrangements with our creditors. But, I guess the threat of climate change is of more important to the mayor than some $60-odd trillion of unfunded liabilites. Bloomberg continues:

Managing risk is necessary for individuals, investors, businesses and governments. As individuals, we buy insurance for our homes, vehicles and health because the future is unpredictable. Businesses take similar actions and save, when they can, for the next economic downturn. Investors diversify their portfolios and hedge their bets for the same reason. And for governments, managing risk can mean anything from maintaining a standing army (in case of war) to filling a strategic petroleum reserve (to protect against severe shocks in oil prices).

As businessmen and public servants, we are intimately familiar with the systems used to manage risk. They are central to informed decision-making. But today, the world faces one of the greatest humanitarian and economic challenges of our time: the threat of global climate change. And in this arena, our risk-assessment systems have broken down. This ignorance cannot be allowed to continue.

Bloomberg is partnering with Hank Paulson, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs and Treasury secretary for President Bush, and Tom Steyer, the founder of Farallon Capital Management, to fund the project.

You can read the rest here.