Politicians or pundits can distort or cherry-pick climate science any way they want to try and gain temporary influence with the public. But any serious industrialist who's facing "climate exposure"as it's now called by money managerscannot afford to engage in that sort of self-delusion. Spend a couple of hours wandering through the websites of various industrial associationsaluminum manufacturers, real-estate agents, wineries, agribusinesses, take your pickand you'll find straightforward statements about the grim reality of climate change that wouldn't seem out of place coming from Greenpeace. Last year Wall Street analysts issued 214 reports assessing the potential risks and opportunities that will come out of a warming world. One by McKinsey & Co. argued that climate change will shake up industries with the same force that mobile phones reshaped communications.
Felix Salmon finds less evidence of forward thinking:
In the mainstream business world, climate change adaptation strategies are scant. The reasons for inaction are sometimes simple, but also counterintuitively complex.
Start with the superficial: Adaptation strategies have essentially zero PR value. They have nothing to do with saving the planet. Instead, they’re all about trying to thrive if and when the planet starts to fall apart. That’s not something any savvy company wants to trumpet to the world.
Then there is the mismatch of time horizons. Climate change takes place over decades, and corporate timescales generally max out in the five-to-seven-year range. Businesses typically won’t spend significant money planning beyond that period, especially because the effects on business models and future profitability are so difficult to predict.