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"Climate change is nature's way of charging us compound interest for doing the wrong thing," Steyer said in a statement. "The 'Risky Business' report confirms what many of us have long suspected: The longer we wait to address the growing risks of climate change, the more it will cost us all. From a business perspective, given the many benefits of early action, it would be silly to allow these risks to accumulate to the point where we can no longer manage them."
Rubin, a former Goldman Sachs and Citigroup executive, emphasized the imperative to invest now.
"The federal government could ultimately bear enormous fiscal costs from climate change—when natural disasters strike, or when agricultural or health crises occur, the government provides large-scale emergency aid that is not presently accounted for in budget forecasts," Rubin said. "Moreover, ongoing adaptive measures, such as the hardening and relocating of critical infrastructure, will be increasingly needed to cope with the effects of climate change. In addition, in my view, companies should disclose both their potential exposure to climate risk, and the potential costs they may someday be required to absorb to address carbon emissions."
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—By CNBC's Lawrence Delevingne