Newsflash:
Lesli Messinger Stop Global Warming The Chairman of the Largest Private Company in America Just Told the 1 Percent to Worry About Climate Change
Friday, 27 June 2014 00:38

The Chairman of the Largest Private Company in America Just Told the 1 Percent to Worry About Climate Change

Written by  Robert S. Eshelman | The Nation
Gregory Page, Executive Chairman and former CEO of Cargill Gregory Page, Executive Chairman and former CEO of Cargill REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

But will Greg Page’s call to arms influence business leaders? Or the Republicans his firm donates to?The US economy could suffer damages running into the hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century due to climate change, according to a study released yesterday. The report, titled “Risky Business,” is the first comprehensive assessment of the economic risks of climate change to the United States. It was commissioned by a panel of influential business leaders and former government officials, including hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Bush administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

“I have had a fair amount of experience over my career in attempting to understand and manage risk,” said Paulson, alluding to the 2008 financial collapse. “In many ways the climate bubble is actually more cruel and more perverse.”

Among the study’s conclusions:

• By 2050, between $66 billion and $106 billion worth of coastal property will likely be below sea level, rising to $238 billion to $507 billion by 2100.

• Extreme storms and hurricanes will likely cause damages exceeding $42 billion annually along the eastern seaboard and Gulf Coast.

• Labor productivity, of outdoor workers, such as in construction, utility maintenance, landscaping and agriculture, particularly in the Southeast, could shrink by as much as 3 percent due to the projected number of days with temperatures topping 95 degrees.

• Agricultural yields could plummet by as much as 70 percent due to extreme heat waves.

The general outlines of the impacts of climate change on the United States have been detailed in series of reports released this year by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Sciences.

The novelty of the “Risky Business” report, however, is in its detailed assessment of the consequences of climate change on specific economic sectors and by region.

If there is a simple takeway offered by co-chairs Paulson, Bloomberg and Steyer, it’s that the cost of inaction over the long term greatly exceeds the cost of curbing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change in the short term.

“If we act quickly we can avoid the very worst outcomes,” said Paulson during a New York City press conference.

It’s a message that has begun to gain traction among corporate elites, like Greg Page, executive chairman and former CEO of Cargill, Inc., who participated in the high-level “Risk Committee” that developed the scope of the report and approved its findings.

Cargill is the largest privately held company in the United States, and its political contributions skew heavily—about 4 to 1—in favor of Republican members of Congress, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Page’s participation in the “Risky Business” report stands in stark contrast to the executives of the nation’s second-largest privately held corporation—Koch Industries. While the political largess of the billionaire Koch brothers dwarfs that of Cargill, Page’s call for action on climate change could have ripple effects across US political and business communities.

“I think already the pendulum is swinging in favor of those who take climate change very seriously,” says Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute, which researches the impacts of climate change on food and water supplies. “For Cargill to get their shoulder behind the wheel, so to speak, gives the movement even more momentum.”

Cargill is primarily an agricultural commodities company with significant economic exposure to the impacts of climate change. They’ve already been hit by commodity price volatility and in 2012, closed a meatpacking plant in Plainview, Texas, citing the prolonged drought that devastated the state’s cattle herd.

In a 2012 interview with Bloomberg News, Page hinted at his growing concern about the impact of changing climate patterns on the agricultural sector. A native of North Dakota, he said in the 1960s, “You could grow wheat—or wheat. That was it.”

“You go to that very same place today—they can grow soybeans, they can grow canola, they can grow corn, they can grow field peas and export them to India,” he continued. “A lot of that has been to do with the fact that they have six, eight days more of frost-free weather.”

Page is describing the northward movement of the American agricultural belt. As average temperatures have risen over the past decades, the growing season in the northern plains has grown, while heat waves further south have baked America’s traditional agriculture producing states like Iowa, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas.

But the “Risky Business” report projects that those near-term agricultural gains will be wiped out as temperatures in the northern plains are by 2100 likely to become more akin to those currently felt in the Southwest.

Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, Page credited American farmers with helping to boost agricultural output over the past half-century, but expressed fears that their gains could be reversed by rising temperatures and more extreme droughts. “If we face an accelerated period of climate change, the question will become whether the food system we rely upon can adapt quickly enough,” he said.

Yet Page’s concern about the potentially catastrophic consequences of climate change on US food production has been rejected by the members of Congress who most benefit from Cargill’s political contributions. Among the leading recipients of Cargill campaign cash are House Committee on Agricultural Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK), Vice Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), all of who seek to strip the US Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Cargill did not respond to a request for comment on how Page’s call for action on climate change conflicts with the views of those the company supports financially.

Link to original article from The Nation

Read 5842 times

Latest News from the Messinger Campaign

  • Savannah's Lesli Messinger gives Democrats best chance to beat Jack Kingston
    Savannah's Lesli Messinger gives Democrats best chance to beat Jack Kingston

    On Saturday, October 20, First Congressional District candidate Lesli Messinger visited Pin Point, Georgia and talked with locals about her candidacy and to listen to what issues those citizens believe are important.

    Messinger has traveled through her congressional district for months since her qualifying back in late May and has touted a strong progressive message and has been able to build grassroots coalitions.

    Written on Sunday, 21 October 2012 16:18 Read more...
  • Messinger Wins Race to Face Kingston
    Messinger Wins Race to Face Kingston

    Progressive Democrats say Congrats to U.S. Congressional GA District 1 Primary Winner Lesli Messinger. Lesli Messinger has claimed the Democratic nomination for Georgia’s 1st Congressional District Tuesday beating Nathan Russo in the Democratic Primary.  Unofficial results showed Messinger with 54 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Russo with 97 percent of the precincts reporting.

    Written on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 15:55 Read more...
  • Georgia’s Only Democratic Woman Candidate for Congress
    Georgia’s Only Democratic Woman Candidate for Congress

    Democrat Lesli Messinger seeks to end 20 years of Republican domination in coastal Georgia.  It’s a particularly difficult challenge to unseat an incumbent, and harder still for a Democrat in a Congressional District that’s been Republican-ruled for 20 years.

    Written on Friday, 27 July 2012 02:52 Read more...
  • Mickey Stephens backs Lesli Messinger for Congress
    Mickey Stephens backs Lesli Messinger for Congress

    State Rep. Mickey Stephens, D-Savannah, has endorsed Lesli Messinger for the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District.

    Messinger, a Savannah businesswoman, is running against Nathan Russo, a retired St. Simons businessman, in Tuesday’s primary.

    The winner will face Republican incumbent Jack Kingston, who is seeking a 10th term.  Last year’s boundary changes left the district with a GOP tilt, but less pronounced than in the past.

    The endorsement apparently is intended to buttress Messinger’s claim to be a stauncher Democrat than Russo and a loyal supporter of  President Barack Obama.

    Russo has argued that, to beat Kingston in the district, a Democrat must make a strong appeal to many independents and at least some Republicans.

    Stephens prefaces his statement by saying he’s “a lifelong member of the Democratic Party for over 30 years.”  

    “Not only does Mrs. Messinger have fresh new ideas that I feel truly represent the people of our district, and the state of Georgia,” he said. “She is a proud supporter of President Obama’s policies. I know Messinger will stand with President Obama in Congress, on a true Democratic front with other members of Congress.”

    Written on Thursday, 26 July 2012 00:00
  • U.S. House District 1: Lesli Messinger says she speaks for middle class
    U.S. House District 1: Lesli Messinger says she speaks for middle class

    Lesli Messinger moved to Skidaway Island four years ago, she says, to escape the “dark and dreary” environs of New Jersey. But Messinger says she found darkness and dreariness near the tranquil community where she and her husband, Nathan, relocated. She says she met women who couldn’t afford cookies for their grandchildren and people whose jobless benefits were expiring.

    Written on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 00:00 Read more...

ERA Legislation in your State

Unratified states Gold - Ratified States Purple

Sign the ERA Petition

ERADemandButton

On Friday, September 12th more than 150 activists will go to DC and Demand that their Senators and Representatives support removing the ratification deadline from the ERA (SJ Res 15 and HJ Res 113)

Button-SignERAPetition

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

Like Lesli Messinger

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of