Advancing sustainable growth in the United States and China

The Risky Business Project

The Risky Business Project focuses on quantifying and publicizing the economic risks in the United States from the impacts of a changing climate.

Risky Business Project co-chairs Michael R. Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer tasked the Rhodium Group, an economic research firm that specializes in analyzing disruptive global trends, with an independent assessment of the economic risks posed by a changing climate in the U.S.

The project has published four reports—a National Report, a Midwest Report, a Southeast Report and a California Report.

Key findings from the National Report include:

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  • By the middle of this century, the average American will likely see 27 to 50 days over 95°F each year—two to more than three times the average annual number of 95°F days we’ve seen over the past 30 years. By the end of this century, this number will likely reach 45 to 96 days over 95°F each year on average.
  • As extreme heat spreads across the middle of the country by the end of the century, some states in the Southeast, lower Great Plains, and Midwest risk up to a 50% to 70% loss in average annual crop yields (corn, soy, cotton, and wheat), absent agricultural adaptation.

Key findings from the Midwest Report include:

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  • Summer average temperatures in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio are expected to be hotter by century’s end than average summer temperatures in Washington, D.C., today.
  • Over the next 5-25 years, without significant adaptation by farmers, some counties in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana will likely see average commodity crop losses up to 18 to 24% due extreme heat each year.
  • Electricity demand will grow as households and businesses increase their use of air conditioning in response to temperature increases throughout the region. The Midwest in particular will see large energy cost increases due to expenditures associated with switching from heating demand to cooling demand. For instance, the most southern Midwest state of Missouri will likely see a 4% to 16% jump in energy costs by mid-century, with a 1-in-20 chance this jump will be more than 20% by mid-century.

Key findings from the Southeast Report include:

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  • If we continue on our current path, between $48.2 billion and $68.7 billion worth of existing coastal property will likely be below sea level by 2050.
  • By the end of this century, the average number of days above 95F in the Southeast will likely increase to up to 124 days per year.
  • Rising electricity demand related solely to climate change is likely to increase energy expenditures in Florida by up to 19% by 2040-2059, translating to $4.3 billion higher expenditures each year.

Key findings from the California Report include:

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  • A dramatic increase in extreme heat across the state, especially in the San Joaquin Valley and Inland South regions. By the end of this century, summers in California will likely be hotter than summers in Texas and Louisiana today, and the average number of extremely hot days each year—with temperatures above 95°F—will likely double or even triple.
  • Widespread losses of coastal property and infrastructure due to sea-level rise along the California coast. If we continue on our current path, between $8 billion and $10 billion of existing property in California will likely be underwater by 2050, with an additional $6 billion to $10 billion at risk during high tide.
  • Increasing electricity demand combined with reduced system capacity, leading to higher energy costs. Rising temperatures will likely increase electricity use for residential and commercial cooling, driving up demand across the state.