Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are sponsoring a study of how climate change will affect the United States and what that disruption will cost.
The true price of deadly storms, prolonged drought and other extreme weather that most scientists believe is climate change brought about by human actions is unknown. That knowledge could aid business and government leaders trying to respond to the changes, the men said in a video statement announcing the study.
"I believe the ... study will be a catalyst for action," Paulson said, referring to the examination of climate impacts around the country. Paulson and Bloomberg are lending their names and financial support to the roughly $1.2 million analysis due to be released in June that will tally costs from around the country.
Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses from smokestacks, tailpipes and factories are among the pollutants that should be curtailed to mitigate climate change, according to a report from the United Nations last month.
The impacts of a warming planet will vary over geography and worsen over generations so it is important that officials try to anticipate those risks now, Paulson said.
"As a former banker and Treasury Secretary, I've learned that you can't always see the extent of a looming crisis before it hits with full force," said Paulson, who helped lead the United States during the onset of the global financial shock in 2008.
Tom Steyer, a billionaire former hedge fund investor and Democratic fundraiser who backs a campaign to reject the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, will also support the study.
Superstorm Sandy that blasted the East Coast last year and wildfires that have recently devastated the West are among the phenomenon that might have a climate change component and policymakers need to understand the costs of future risks as they brace for the worst impacts, said officials behind the report.