From governments to investors, a consensus is emerging that our risk exposure to climate change-driven disasters could grow exponentially. Worldwide, natural catastrophes accounted for $190 billion in U.S. dollars in 2020, up 50 percent from 2019. Part of this rise is attributable to an uptick in hurricanes which, like wildfires and other natural disasters, are expected to happen with increased frequency due to climate change. Insurer Swiss Re estimates that climate change could be a $23 trillion blow to the global economy by 2050. Moreover, as the world continues to barrel toward greater global emissions, the risks tied to businesses will increase, despite a short-term corporate focus on the issue.
While we may think of the climate crisis as something governed primarily by state actors, major companies account for considerable emissions and have an outsized impact on policy, from voluntary disclosures to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) related pledges.