The Business of Climate Change

John Tierney, Kim Knowlton, Danielle Baussan, and Les Knight discuss the money behind climate change—what it will take to fix it, and what's being spent to make sure it stays a debate.

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We know climate change
has an effect on the planet,

but what effect can it have
on your personal savings?

Without action on climate change,

a 2015 college graduate will lose
$126,000 in lifetime income

and $187,000 in wealth.

A child born in 2015

is projected to lose
3.5 times that much in income

and more than 4 times
that much in wealth.

And, as a generation,
millennials are projected to lose

nearly $8.8. trillion
in lifetime income.

Let’s turn to our audience,
what do you think about this?

I often hear about
these worst case scenarios

and I’ve always thought that,

with the earth heating and cooling,
which we’ve been debating,

it’s just something natural.

So at the end of the day, aren’t we
just talking about a few degrees

and is that something
that’s actually,

I’m going to see
before my lifespan is up?

That is a great question because
just a few degree sounds like,

what could it matter?

But 2 to 3 to 4 degrees of
changes in the average temperature

can mean 10 to 15 degrees hotter
on the hottest days of the year.

It’s going to be hot enough
for people to, sadly die,

get sick from the heat,
and it does translate into dollars.

We have a global economy
and as these climate events

get more and more
disruptive to those supply chains,

things are going to
get more expensive,

jobs are going to be at risk.

And then of course you’re going to
start seeing changes in agriculture,

food gets more expensive.

That does trigger
a series of events

that will wind up impacting
our paycheck one way or another.

You know, I’m kind of
surprised that none of you

have once mentioned
vegetarianism as an option, right?

I’ve been vegetarian
for twelve years,

doesn’t that have a big
impact on climate change?

It does. It does.

But it’s never really discussed
as an option for people,

as well as recycling, right?

I think a lot of people
are talking about vegetarianism

and the need to rely more
on plants as food sources

because agriculture and
livestock based agriculture

contributes a lot
to greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s really complicated that there
was this study, I think, recently

that the best diet
was a part vegan

with maybe a little bit
of dairy or milk in it,

I mean, calculating
all these things

are really difficult
for anyone to do.

Let’s try and get some
questions from the audience.

Yeah, we have one over here.

I just wanted to ask
about eco friendly appliances

because they’re big nowadays.

Do they really make a difference

and, you know, usually they cost
more than the average appliance,

is it really worth it?

I think that the certification
programs that say,

“This a more
energy efficient appliance,”

are a good guide about
ways to make selections

because it does have
an effect on your utility bill

and it also has an effect on the
electricity demand at the source

and ultimately on
the carbon pollution

and the other
air pollution that’s produced.

So, I think it’s a good guide.

It might have a positive
effect on your utility bill,

but aren’t those appliances

often a little bit more
expensive for people?

They may be a little
bit more expensive

but I think that that changing cost

is offset by your long term
energy savings and not to mention

the environmental and
the health benefits.

We know climate change
has an effect on the planet,

but what effect can it have
on your personal savings?

Without action on climate change,

a 2015 college graduate will lose
$126,000 in lifetime income

and $187,000 in wealth.

A child born in 2015

is projected to lose
3.5 times that much in income

and more than 4 times
that much in wealth.

And, as a generation,
millennials are projected to lose

nearly $8.8. trillion
in lifetime income.

Let’s turn to our audience,
what do you think about this?

I often hear about
these worst case scenarios

and I’ve always thought that,

with the earth heating and cooling,
which we’ve been debating,

it’s just something natural.

So at the end of the day, aren’t we
just talking about a few degrees

and is that something
that’s actually,

I’m going to see
before my lifespan is up?

That is a great question because
just a few degree sounds like,

what could it matter?

But 2 to 3 to 4 degrees of
changes in the average temperature

can mean 10 to 15 degrees hotter
on the hottest days of the year.

It’s going to be hot enough
for people to, sadly die,

get sick from the heat,
and it does translate into dollars.

We have a global economy
and as these climate events

get more and more
disruptive to those supply chains,

things are going to
get more expensive,

jobs are going to be at risk.

And then of course you’re going to
start seeing changes in agriculture,

food gets more expensive.

That does trigger
a series of events

that will wind up impacting
our paycheck one way or another.