10.09.13

Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change Applauds Announcement of Climate Change Risk Assessment Project

WASHINGTON, DC— Today the co-chairs of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rep. Bobby L. Rush, Sen. Ben Cardin, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, and Sen. Edward J. Markey, sent a letter to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, and Tom Steyer to commend their Risky Business initiative, which will assess the potential impacts of climate change on each region and sector of the U.S. economy and provide information about how to calculate climate change risk.  The initiative’s three leaders announced their plans in a recent op-ed in the Washington Post

The initiative is timely because the Administration’s use of the “social cost of carbon” to quantify the true costs and benefits of regulatory decisions is under attack by some in Congress.

The Bicameral Task Force co-chairs plan to send the op-ed to every member of Congress to inform them of the initiative and then intend to use the findings to educate Congress about the future costs of carbon pollution.

The full text of the letter is available below and online here.  

October 9, 2013

The Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg

Mayor, New York City

Founder, Bloomberg Philanthropies

Co-Chair, Risky Business

The Honorable Henry M. Paulson, Jr.

Chairman, The Paulson Institute

Co-Chair, Risky Business

Mr. Thomas F. Steyer

Co-Founder, Next Generation

Co-Chair, Risky Business

Dear Mayor Bloomberg, Secretary Paulson, and Mr. Steyer:

            We are writing to commend you on your recently announced Risky Business initiative and the op-ed you wrote in the Washington Post.[1]  You collectively have vast business and government experience, so your views and efforts carry special weight.  As co-chairs of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, we ask you to share your expertise and the findings of your work with Congress. 

            The Risky Business initiative could not be more timely.  Early this year, the Administration updated its “social cost of carbon” estimate in an effort to quantify the costs of carbon pollution that causes climate change.  This sensible effort immediately provoked a backlash by the denial caucus in Congress.  In fact, the House of Representatives voted in August to block the Administration from using any social cost of carbon in assessing the costs and benefits of federal regulation.  There are U.S. Senators who are advocating a similar reality-denying policy.

            We plan to send your op-ed to every member of Congress so they are informed of your work.  Your message is that climate change is “one of the greatest humanitarian and economic challenges of our time” and that “if the United States were run like a business, its board of directors would fire” those who ignore “the significant and material risks associated with unmitigated climate change.”  This is a message that members – especially those who would vote to deny the social costs of carbon – need to hear. 

As business and government leaders skilled in risk management, you are asking exactly the right questions:  what are the economic risks to the United States of climate change and what are the prudent steps we need to be taking now to manage this risk?  We salute you for undertaking this effort and look forward to using the initiative’s findings to inform Congress about the costs of carbon pollution.

Thank you for your good work.

                                                Sincerely,

Representative Henry A. Waxman

Co-Chair

Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Co-Chair

Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change

Representative Bobby L. Rush

Co-Chair

Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change

Senator Ben Cardin

Co-Chair

Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change

Representative Earl Blumenauer

Co-Chair

Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change

Senator Edward J. Markey

Co-Chair

Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change