The cost of climate change will affect businesses across Montana, and the entire country, according to the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research. 

Bureau Director Patrick Barkey said he and his staff have had conversations about the potential costs of climate change with Nobel Prize winner Dr. Steve Running, also at the University of Montana.

"Trends in climate change will take several years to show up, but if those trends continue, we've thought about how warmer summers, different precipitation and different events could impact Montana's important industries," Barkey said. "Steve Running's contribution was his insight into the various models people are using to try to predict how climate will change, and those models are pretty complicated."

Barkey said even though there are different factions and worldviews regarding climate change and whether or not it might be man-made, it is still important for wise business leaders to at least begin thinking about the issue, and how climate change might affect their bottom line.

"If climate change is coming, at least as a contingency, businesses should be thinking about how they will operate, how they will adapt to some of the predictable changes that would happen," he said. "We're talking about everything from sea levels to climate patterns that would come about over the decades as those trends unfold."

A report released this week by a group caled the Risky Business Project, chaired by three wealthy individuals who have been very active in the climate change debate. They are former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and former hedge fund manager Thomas Steyer.

Among their predictions, between $66 billion and $106 billion in coastal property will likely be below sea level by the year 2050.

Director of the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Patrick Barkey

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