Changing Perceptions Of Costs

During the mid 1990s, many businesses started to make these connections and the line peddled by the old guard increasingly seemed less persuasive. The question of costs remained central to the calculations of these companies, but they increasingly came to different conclusions about what the costs of acting on climate change were. At the same time, a shift in the more general landscape of climate politics was discernible. Amid a strengthening scientific consensus as well as growing public concern fuelled by a series of 'natural' catastrophes like hurricanes Andrew or Mitch, moves were afoot to negotiate legally binding commitments in the form of a protocol based on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. For some companies, this started to change the calculations they made. Many were rethinking how climate change could be integrated into their business strategies and that the costs of responding might not be too bad. And they also started to judge (less quickly in the USA than elsewhere) that outright opposition to emissions reductions would be counter-productive and might undermine the credibility of their broader efforts to present themselves in a green light. Instead, it would make more sense to adapt to and shape the policies that governments would implement as a result.

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