Money men trying to tally the real cost of climate change

New York - Climate change is likely to exact enormous costs on U.S. regional economies in the form of lost property, reduced industrial output and more deaths, according to a report backed by a trio of men with vast business experience.

The report, released Tuesday, is designed to convince businesses to factor in the cost in long-term decisions and to push for reductions in planet -heating emissions.

It was commissioned by the self-described "nonpartisan" Risky Business Project, chaired by former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, former Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Thomas F. Steyer, a former hedge fund manager.

"If we act immediately, we can still avoid most of the worst impacts of climate change and significantly reduce the odds of catastrophic outcomes," Paulson said.

Among the predictions: Between $66 billion and $106 billion in coastal property likely below sea level by 2050; labor productivity of outdoor workers reduced by 3 percent because extremely hot days will be more frequent; and demand for more power plants will cost electricity customers up to $12 billion per year.

"Every year that goes by without a comprehensive public and private sector response to climate change is a year that locks in future climate events that will have a far more devastating effect on our local, regional, and national economies," warn the report's authors.

The analysis in the report were performed by the Rhodium Group, an economic research firm, and Risk Management Solutions, a catastrophe-modeling company that works for insurance firms and other businesses. It was paid for by the philanthropic foundations of Bloomberg, Paulson and Steyer, among others.

The report analyzes impacts of climate change by region to better show how climate change affects the businesses and industries that drive each region's economy.

• The Northeast will likely be most affected by sea level rise, which will cost an additional $6 billion to $9 billion in property loss each year.

• The Southeast will likely be affected both by sea-level rise and extreme temperatures. The region, which has averaged eight days of temperatures over 95 degrees each year, will likely see an additional 17 to 52 of these days by midcentury and up to four months of them by the end of the century. This could lead to 11,000 to 36,000 additional deaths per year.

• Higher temperatures will reduce Midwest crop yields by 19 percent by midcentury and by 63 percent by the end of the century.

• The Southwest will see an extra month of temperatures above 95 degrees by 2050, which will lead to more frequent droughts and wildfires.

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