Clearly we’ve got to do something about this climate change business. For a new report tells us that the horror, the terror, of using fossil fuels could cost large companies as much as 1% of their turnover. Which I think we’d all agree, would be a horror and a terror. For we all are aware that the only aim and purpose of our entire society is to enrich the plutocrats. Thus it’s back to the mud huts and shivering over the pease pudding bowl for we could not possibly live with the immoral action of reducing the return to shareholders, could we?
No, really, the proof is here in The Independent:
Many of the world’s biggest companies, from Silicon Valley tech firms to large European banks, are bracing for the prospect that climate change could substantially affect their bottom lines within the next five years, according to a new analysis of corporate disclosures. Under pressure from shareholders and regulators, companies are increasingly disclosing the specific financial effects they could face as the planet warms, such as extreme weather that could disrupt their supply chains or stricter climate regulations that could hurt the value of coal, oil and gas investments. Early estimates suggest that trillions of pounds may ultimately be at stake.
OK, fair enough:
In 2018, more than 7,000 companies submitted such reports to CDP and, for the first time, CDP explicitly asked firms to try to calculate how a warming planet might affect them financially. After analysing submissions from 215 of the world’s 500 biggest corporations, CDP found that these companies potentially faced roughly $1 trillion (£790 million) in costs related to climate change in the decades ahead unless they took proactive steps to prepare.
As you can see, a terrible problem that we really must solve. Abandon all civilisation now to save those profits, eh?
For $1 trillion among 215 companies is one number. We’ll assume that “decades” is 20 years. Anything less doesn’t really deserve the “s” there, anything more would be overegging the pudding on our side of the argument. That’s, close enough, $230 million per company per year.
Fortune has a list of the world’s 500 largest companies by turnover. The smallest, at number 500, is Ericsson, on a convenient $23 billion a year.
Climate change might cost companies 1% of their turnover. Shame, eh?
Note that we’ve constructed the numbers to be favourable to the argument being put forward. We’ve used the lowest turnover, not average. The lowest number of years consistent with decades. We’ve assumed that the $trillion refers only to the 215 reporting companies, not all 500. And yet still it’s all only 1% of turnover.
Or about the same impact of even today’s reduced inflation in any one year. Or a small multiple of the average CEO pay.
Actually, on the basis of this report climate change can go hang, can’t it? An entirely trivial preoccupation.