COP25? A COP OUT in 2019!


The annual get-together for policy makers, civil society and businesses to announce systems to mitigate the current climate crisis ended at the Madrid COP25 with no self-congratulatory proclamation. Leaders from almost 200 countries met for two weeks at the United Nations Climate Change Conference with the sole purpose of strengthening and developing upon the 2015 Paris Agreement, where governments committed to decreasing pollution, with the intention of enabling the global carbon market once worth more than $138 billion.

In a re-run of last year, nations with the highest historic emissions did not want to be responsible; nations with growing emissions did not want to be responsible; nations with few emissions did not want to be responsible. Nations argued over who would foot the bill as the climate crisis becomes endemic.

Who cares? The U.N. reported that over the past 20 years the U.S. – including Puerto Rico – lost more than a trillion dollars from climate-related disaster. The United States experienced more climate-related economic losses than any other country during that 20-year span.

That is a total loss of 0.4% of U.S. GDP between 1998 and 2017 or a staggering $1,017,000,000,000.

During the same period, the total U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s budget was only 16% of this total economic loss.

In other words, the U.S. Government spent only $1 in risk mitigation for every $6 in economic loss from climate crisis for the last 20 years.

In fact, while enjoying high asset values, the U.S. experienced the highest losses of any economy on Earth over the past 20 years, reflecting frequent climactic events.

Yet the only presidential candidate to attend and address COP in Madrid was the former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg who understands the climate crisis first-hand as New York City’s economic loss from Hurricane Sandy reached $19 billion with 53 people dying and 250,000 cars and thousands of homes destroyed.

Just this past Monday 16 December, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all hit all-time intraday highest values ever – up 0.36%, 0.7% and 0.9% respectively.

U.S. equity markets are at their highest ever. And the U.S. has the highest economic losses of any economy globally from the climate crisis. One could suggest that “the higher the price, the greater the risk, the harder the potential fall”.

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Planet Tracker is a non-profit financial think tank aligning capital markets with planetary boundaries. It was created in 2018 to investigate the risk of market failure related to environmental limits, focusing on oceans, food & land use and materials such as textiles and plastics.

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