Tallying Up The High Costs Of Extreme Weather

Winter storms, now costing the economy billions. Summer storms, too. And spring. And fall. And drought. We’ll look at the economics of extreme weather.

A plow clears snow from a city street Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, in Boston. A long duration winter storm that began Saturday night remains in effect for a large swath of southern New England until the early morning hours Tuesday. (AP)

A plow clears snow from a city street Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, in Boston. A long duration winter storm that began Saturday night remains in effect for a large swath of southern New England until the early morning hours Tuesday. (AP)

Epic snows in my backyard lately, in Boston.  Six feet-plus in a month, and it’s still coming.  The most ever recorded coming down that fast.  It’s been paralyzing.  And very costly.  Exposing all kinds of infrastructure problems you would never think of on a gentle day in May.  That’s what extreme weather does, whether it’s blizzard or drought or hurricane or deluge.  Paralyzes.  Costs a lot.  And can take apart an economy.  Now American business is paying attention.  To climate change.  This hour On Point:  extreme weather and its mounting consequences for the economic bottom line.

— Tom Ashbrook


Laurie Johnson, chief economist in the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council. (@laurietjohnson)

RJ Lehmann, senior fellow, editor-in-chief and co-founder of the R Street Institute. (@raylehmann)

Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America. (@franknutter)

From Tom’s Reading List

USA Today: Buried in Boston? Blame it on climate change — maybe — “Massachusetts has already removed enough snow to fill the Patriots’ Gillette Stadium 90 times, and Gov. Charlie Baker called the situation ‘pretty much unprecedented.’ What’s going on? Although no individual storm can be directly linked to climate change, Boston’s snowy winter could point to weather patterns affected by global warming.”

The Wall Street Journal: ‘Risky Business’ Report Aims to Frame Climate Change as Economic Issue — “Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson , ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, a hedge-fund billionaire and major Democratic donor, are linking arms Tuesday to release a report, Risky Business, that argues U.S. companies should treat climate change as any other business threat. The report, which says climate change could cost the country billions of dollars over the next two decades, is the product of a bipartisan group of former cabinet officers, lawmakers, corporate leaders and scientists.”

WBUR: Hourly Workers Bear The Brunt Of Snowstorm Closings — “A snow blower is an all too familiar sound these days — a sign of clogged streets and sidewalks and school closings. But for people paid by the hour, the relentless snowfall also signals extra stress and added worry, lost time and smaller paychecks. Kathy, who didn’t want to give her last name, had to walk to the Boston food store where she works on Tuesday because the MBTA had suspended rail service. She lost an hour of pay, but some of her co-workers were out a lot more.”

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