5 Ways Trump’s Climate Change Denial Affects U.S. Businesses

Climate change threatens not only America’s business interests but also the existence of life as we know it on our planet. Even though the present trajectory indicates that the change is incremental, the danger is no less real. In the short term, however, the effects on America’s businesses also cannot be discounted.

1. Investors with lots of money are urging the president to reconsider.

How much money do these investors wield? All told, the private individuals, companies, and countries involved control more than $15 trillion. That’s trillion … with a “T.” They told the president that making sure the U.S. works to combat climate change is essential in their minds to protecting their investments. The implication was, of course, that they might pull their investments if the president continues his ill-informed denial.

2. The denials might affect our alliances and other relations with other countries.

The political capital of the United States is largely based on how reliable the world thinks we are. As the one remaining superpower, we must present an image of steadiness and strength so that we remain in a respected position in the world. If we lose credibility, the rest of the world could attack us the same way as the wolf pack attacks the bear. Also, if other countries consider remaining our ally as detrimental to their fiscal bottom line, they’ll desert us in droves.

3. That lack of confidence stretches to businesses too.

When the president appointed a staunch climate-change denier, Scott Pruitt, to the post of head of the Environmental Protection Agency, he sent a clear message to the rest of the world: profits over good sense. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, condemned Pruitt and the administration for beliefs and behavior he called irresponsible and extreme. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development agrees.

In its 2009 study, it noted that, “… low consumer confidence in business has led to a reduced consumer tolerance for corporate reporting,overstated claims, celebrity endorsements and ‘greenwash.'” Greenwash is the practice of inflating claims of environmental consciousness. In short, people don’t like businesses that discount the environmental impacts of their practices.

4. Expanding climate-change denial might expand faster than we can combat it.

As “The Atlantic” astutely observed, the more that denial becomes accepted in all levels of the government, the more “on-the-fence” legislators and other government employees might fall onto the side of denial. Should this happen, the denial wave could grow to tsunami proportions. Restoring confidence in both the United States and its businesses would be a terrible undertaking at that point.

Because denial can adversely affect consumer confidence and the confidence of other nations, it will increasingly isolate the United States. CNN recently published an article showing all the ways that isolationism is BAD for business. Such isolationism could result in the loss of tourism dollars, the ability to recruit top talent from around the world, and even our position as leader of the world.

5. Negative publicity hurts.

In 2016, the first extinction of a species that was linked to climate change occurred when the Bramble Cay melomys disappeared. Businesses don’t like to be connected with things like species extinction. They also don’t want to be part of a $700 billion annual shortfall. As the cost of living rises, businesses seen as “part of the problem” will face consumer-driven backlash as society deteriorates.

These five things, along with most everything else, will matter not in 100 years if the changing climate causes another mass extinction. That’s really the No. 1 effect the president’s denial will have in the future: businesses that cease to exist because life ceases to exist.

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