Last week, the New York Times reported that venerable Dow Jones Industrial Average component Coca-Cola Co. was awakening to the impact of climate change on its business.

The increase in unpredictable weather, droughts, floods and other climate-related events was disrupting the company’s product supply. Some of their “essential ingredients” are now under threat. Global warming, according to the article, is being seen “as a force that contributes to lower gross domestic products, higher food and commodity costs, broken supply chains and increased financial risk.”

This debate is no longer about whether global warming is real (it is) or whether humans are the most likely cause (you are), but rather, some very interesting and different questions that might be more professionally relevant to business: How is this going to affect business? What are the investing consequences? Who will be the financial winners and losers of climate change?

Continues here

Category: Investing, Science, UnScience

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

36 Responses to “Global Warming Battle Is Now About Market Share — Not Science”

  1. rd says:

    Katrina, Sandy, the southeast drought a couple of years ago, and the current southwest drought are Mother Nature’s shots across the bow.

    Slow but steady rising of the sea is going to make many coastal cities untenable over time without MAJOR infrastructure changes.

    Fresh clean water is going to be a major currency to attract business over the coming decades. Lower local taxes don’t really matter if your business can’t get the water it needs. It will be interesting to see how the west plays out on this as much of the water law is written around “first use” instead of a riparian ownership of a water resource like in the east. Don’t be surprised if many farmers get bought out in the west in the coming decades, their lands turned into permanent conservation easements and their water rights transferred to corporations or cities.

  2. SolomonClark says:

    If you want to fight pollution, you need to focus on the very real and statistically sound impact on human health and associated costs, see for example:

    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/study-air-pollution-causes-200000-early-deaths-each-year-in-the-us-0829.html

    Fighting climate change is a side benefit of the health care benefits and cost savings.

    As far as investment, there needs to be more investment in materials technology to develop more efficient solar cells and turbines for wind and hydro applications, as probably most importantly, high-temperature superconductors to distribute energy across regions more efficiently. It’s estimated that the system loses about 7% of electricity in transmission losses (http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=105&t=3), so a more efficient grid will help us get the most out of existing and new power sources.

    • constantnormal says:

      Cheaper to reduce the transmission losses by not transmitting, wherever possible. Generating power in a distributed manner (rooftop solar works in a large chunk of the nation) will make the grid more resilient and efficient.

  3. Concerned Neighbour says:

    I think you make an excellent point here regarding how it’s not inconsistent to both believe the science and carry on as normal absent incentives to do so. It amuses me to no end when environmentalists are criticized for flying to a lecture, or driving a car. Well, what are you expecting them to do? Live in a cardboard box down by the river?

    Most environmentalists I know aren’t calling for an end to civilization. Instead, they’re calling for a reorientation of incentives and investment in new cleaner technologies rather than massive half-a-century investments in 19th century fuels (tar sands, anyone?).

    This leads me to one of my other pet peeves, the frequently used ad hominem attack on “big green”. To accuse a non-profit or small-ball environmentalist of being in it for the money is irony writ large when you consider nine times out of ten a multinational energy megacorp is the one financing the message.

  4. evodevo says:

    Too bad they didn’t figure this out 30 years ago and push for solutions then.

  5. WickedGreen says:

    I’m shocked, shocked that the SS Demonization and Denial would run aground on Bottom Line Reef!

    Better does not necessarily equal more. It might have in the past, but not in a resource-constrained future.

    http://steadystate.org/

    Do producers really want more consumers, but with less purchasing power?

    Teeming masses of subscribers and eyeballs, but no actual influence?

    How’s that working out?

    • willid3 says:

      well they didnt think that far ahead. it was always how much money they could get in their pocket first, second, third, always.

  6. farmera1 says:

    Interesting comments in Bloomberg following your article. If the debate is over you forgot to tell these guys.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-27/global-warming-battle-is-over-market-share-not-science.html

    I have a college friend that is rather high up in NASA/JPL. He makes regular trips to DC for research funding. He was discussing his concern about global warming and what NASA could do to help with the issue. I pointed out that if he really wanted to do something useful he could come up with a hands on simple way of demonstrating how global warming works. How CO2 is a green house gas and what it does to the atmosphere and how it traps heat at the earths surface. Something that would work in a seventh grade science class (or at a REpublican convention). Of course he wasn’t impressed, his comment was that the science is settled and they had moved onto how to deal with the ramifications. I’d say roughly 50% of the population doesn’t believe the science, and are very vocal and well funded about the evils of big government, the ploy of global warming etc. These people will fight to the end and then blame it on someone else, as they always do.

    • willid3 says:

      are you expecting to much of some of us to be smarter than a 7th grader? to some, it matters not, since their livelihood is based on not believing.

    • I have ceased to be surprised by the intransigence of the denialist crowd. Instead, I’m rather fascinated by it now.

      The passion the debate incites is mind-boggling, especially given that most of the extreme denialists could never be affected by the paltry amounts of GDP that have been suggested to be spent to try to stop AGW. Issues at their local city council will affect far more of their lives, but they never show up there, of course. They just spend hours and hours and hours of their lives reading up on *all* the denialist literature and then spreading the misinformation through as many comments as they can.

      I certainly could never have the passion about the issue that the denialists do. Well, until we’re all about to die, of course.

      Anyway, back to the main point, how their brains justify the whole thing is similarly amazing. They will at one point say that the science is indeterminate, that *all science* is indeterminate, and in the very next paragraph they will say that it is *incontrovertible* that AGW is *not happening*. They are the wolf of denialism cloaked in the sheep’s skin of skepticism.

      Again, the fallacies, the passion, there’s something else going on. It’s not just money or the old Upton Sinclair line. It’s a religious fervor that builds up in their psyches until they can no longer control it. I just stand in awe of it, actually. It’s not going to stop, and you must at some point reconcile it with your opinion of humanity. Or else be a misanthrope, I guess.

  7. grimreaper says:

    Judging by the one-sided and deluded (denialist) remarks over at Bloomberg, I wonder, Barry, if you’re opening yourself up to more criticism than necessary. Thought B’berg’s readership was a tad more enlightened.

    Here’s the latest on what the real scientists are saying: http://www.businessinsider.com/majority-of-scientists-accept-human-caused-climate-change-2014-1

    Kudos for including this topic on your website. Only time will tell the tale….

  8. CD4P says:

    Damn polar vortex!

    I’ve tried to follow the link to read the rest of this on Bloomberg and its failed every time. Firefox, Explorer, makes no difference. Ugh!

  9. constantnormal says:

    What is this going to do to Warren Buffett’s policy of investing only in “safe, stable, predictable” companies? Like Insurers?

    I do think that the only thing that will be effective in altering the climate change situation is for those with a lot of money to see that they can make even more money by investing in schemes (green energy, direct greenhouse gas removal systems, etc) that have a long growth period (it will take centuries to turn around the impact of millennia of increased carbon into the ecosphere) and decent profits. Solar is just about at that tipping point, another 5-10 years and it will be there.

    • willid3 says:

      well insurance companies already have a built in ‘feature’ to address this. since their risk has gone up, they will either A) charge more (maybe a lot more), B) change the policy so that it doesnt cover x (thats what they do when they get large claims, they exclude that as being covered) or B) stop selling policies all together.

  10. constantnormal says:

    Electric utilities who do not change with the times and embrace a diversified power grid, exchanging their role as monopoly producers of electricity for one as producers and brokers of grid-produced power, will be losers.

    As soon as cost-effective ways of storing a week’s worth of household electric power are available, we will begin to see off-the-grid homes spring up, amortizing the cost into the mortgage, and enjoying stable electric power and no steadily-increasing electric bill.

    Granted, that’s probably a decade away at best, but savvy utilities who adopt programs like leasing customer rooftop space for panel placement, as well as offering programs where consumers can install utility-approved systems and earn money from them (with the utility taking a cut of the resale profits), will fare much better than the current rush of plans to put cutoff switches on customers’ AC units.

  11. WFTA says:

    Being of the “everything-affects-everything” persuasion, I’ve never seen any reason to doubt that human activities are capable of, and likely are changing the climate. Consequently I was fairly taken aback by the comments this article drew over at Bloomberg. It sounded like the Texas Legislature.

  12. noisefilter says:

    Yes – the Earth is warming – it has been for a long time.
    And yes, humans are most likely contributing to the acceleration.
    But it still doesn’t matter and isn’t worthy of the hysteria when you look at the temperature rises in perspective:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/alley2000/alley2000.html

    This entire topic has been hijacked by politicians and moneygrubbers. It is really a shame when one considers the amount of money, effort and resources being spent to perpetuate the hysteria instead of refocusing those resources on saving people’s lives – right now.

      • noisefilter says:

        Your posts are not hysterical….I’m referring to many others on the web.
        Apologies if you interpreted it as a finger pointing at you.

    • DeDude says:

      Actually the historic perspective back thousands of years is irrelevant. Back then humans lived in settlements that either could be moved with ease or did not represent much of an investment so they could be abandoned if climate changes made them untenable. I know you can find ocean fish skeletons in the colorado mountains, but that does not mean that it would be no big deal (or “natural”) to have the oceans reach up there.

  13. NoKidding says:

    Long time readers know this is a peeve of mine (See list of prior articles below). For newer readers, here is the reasoning behind my disdain.

    The first has to do with the idea of modeling the real word via assembled data. What you end up with is some form of artificial creation that bears only a passing resemblance to the complexity of the real world. That would not be such a problem, if only you humans remembered what the great professor George E. P. Box advised us: “Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.”

  14. hue says:

    why are people surprised about Bloomberg comments, Megan McArdle generates this many comments on all her posts, and they all are fellow travelers

  15. farmera1 says:

    Here’s my SWAG at why any article about the reality of Global Warming draws immediate and extensive extensive numbers of denialists. I would guess this happens in an organized way. There is an army of people willing to sell their soul to the highest bidder waiting in the wings for anyone that writes an article about the dangers of Global Warming. Especially in a reputable business magazine. I’ve seen the denial crowd show up in mass, almost instantaneously to cast as much doubt as possible as quickly as possible. By chance, I think not.

    • Almost 900 comments in 5 hours

      • DeDude says:

        Remember the strategy and purpose of these right wing swarms is to leave the impression that their views are legitimate because they are “dominant”. Even if it is just a half dozen dead-enders, writing from their parents basement – they can leave the impression that a large number of people think “this” so it must be a legitimate thing to think.

  16. Tezzer says:

    Oh, the comments on that article! I had no idea there was that much… “controversy”. The good public-informing scientist in me is trying so hard to remember that there is zero point in arguing with ideologues on the internet.

    • comousa says:

      I wish there were a “like” button so I could use it for Tezzer’s comments. If joe citizen could just keep in mind to get his information from peer reviewed science articles (for instance, Science or Nature– where you would be hard pressed to find evidence of “hysteria”) or from a site that is vetted by mathematicians, physicists, climate scientists (real climate, skeptical science) versus op ed pieces or even papers taken out of context of the large body of information (from 2000, in the case of noisefilter.) It is actually encouraging to me that non-oil Big Business is recognizing the problem.

  17. victor says:

    1) It is not Global Warming (dangerous misnomer per John Holdren), not even Climate Change, it is now Global Climate Disruption (explains everything)
    2) The earth hasn’t warmed for some 15 years now and counting, IPCC calls it a “pause”, the heat is going in the oceans…
    3) Doubt this comment will see publication, too blasphemous….shocked brother’s Noisefilter made it. Hysteria? No more White X-Mas in UK?

  18. Bernd says:

    The fact that no global warming has occurred for some 15 years is now accepted by mainstream science. I assume you don’t wish to argue that the journal Nature is a bastion of anti-science:
    http://www.nature.com/news/climate-change-the-case-of-the-missing-heat-1.14525
    Given this, don’t you all think that calling the people who predicted this “denialist”, “deluded”, or “anti-science” is a little over-the-top? Shouldn’t we have a rational discussion among both sides of the issue given that the planet so far hasn’t followed the predictions of orthodox climate science?

    Real science requires that a hypothesis can be falsified by measurements. The fact that global warming has paused is now no longer in dispute. For how much longer does this state of affairs have to continue before you’ll allow yourself to ask whether the theory is wrong?

    As a suggestion – read through Barry’s articles of lessons to learn from Gold’s rise and fall, and try to apply these lessons to global warming. There’s a simple narrative – CO2 is a greenhouse gas and will cause temperatures to rise, and people with certain political views are evil and wrong by default. This narrative is not confirmed by the data, however… if someone hyped up the “global temperatures” stock and said it would rise by .21C per decade, and instead we see a rise of (at best) 0.04C per decade for 15 years (and a declining trend for the last ten), at what point do you stop believing the narrative?

    • RW says:

      “Victor” has posted here before and is known to be a hopeless case but you appear to possess a modicum of respect for investigative process and good-faith argument, at least if one may so judge from your words, so by all means follow your own advice (AKA Barry’s) and then get back to us.

      16 [more] years of global warming

      Human greenhouse gas emissions have continued to warm the planet over the past 16 years. However, a persistent myth has emerged in the mainstream media challenging this. Denial of this fact may have been the favorite climate contrarian myth of 2012 …

      As a simple illustration of where the myth goes wrong, the following video clarifies how the interplay of natural and human factors have affected the short-term temperature trends, and demonstrates that underneath the short-term noise, the long-term human-caused global warming trend remains as strong as ever.

    • This is a fantastic example of how sophisticated the ‘denialist’ is becoming.

      It seems respectful. It even seems open-minded. But it’s not. It’s coming from someone so steeped in his own confirmation bias that nothing seems like reality anymore.

      I’m not even talking about focusing on the one pseudo-in-his-favor meme about the “pause”, which has been debunked at length elsewhere. Even with it being debunked, I’m still skeptical of the climate change science. I think it is good to be skeptical of science, but focusing only on the contrary science is not skepticism; it’s denialism. It irks me especially because I have great respect for skeptics and skepticism in general, and people falsely claiming to be skeptics ‘ruins it for everyone.’

      What I really want to talk about in his comment is the language and rhetoric technique. Examine the world ‘evil’ and the context in which it is used. Who brought up “evil”? I don’t remember Barry using that or seeing it much at all in the literature. I truly believe it’s not implied either. I certainly don’t think denialists are evil. I wrote as much earlier in this very comment section (sorry for the double, Barry). In fact, I see that word “evil” more often on the other side, with “evil” scientists creating a hoax, or the “evil” government trying to profit off the hoax.

      And then the use of “wrong by default.” It’s intended to create some sympathy, but it’s as backward as you can get. The people with the *scientific consensus* on their side are not saying you are *wrong by default*. You get what default means? If someone is attacking you with the science of their side, they are not saying you are “wrong by default.” They are saying you are *wrong by science*. The consensus is overwhelming. Yes, it may be wrong, but it is overwhelming, and anyone choosing to believe in it is not doing something by “default” but engaging in a very reasonable and justifiable heuristic.

      The plain fact is, I don’t “believe the narrative” either! But still, when looked at fairly, I see more merit in the side of scientific consensus. No one can predict the future. Most science today will probably look at least a little primitive in 100 years. But I’d bet most of the denialists, *in their actual lives*, have heuristics that give them confidence to act on *much less information and science* than we have on climate change. Of course it is still uncertain, but the reason you are rejecting it is not because there is not enough evidence, it’s because there will never be enough evidence, and you will grab on to any contrary thing, no matter how small, no matter how far outweighed by the preponderance of other items, and use it to reject what you didn’t want to believe in the first place.

      The future is uncertain, but we use the evidence we have to make decisions, not the evidence we don’t have.

      • DeDude says:

        I am not sure I would call it sophisticated – that is a little to strong a word. But I did laugh when Bernd referred to an article that in no way show a lack of global warming – unless you redefine the term “global” to not include the oceans. Classic right wing – being too sloppy, lazy or dumb to actually read and understand the thing you are linking to. So much easier to just read a few lines and then decide that it supports your already drawn conclusions.

  19. farmera1 says:

    1693 Comments as of 11:13AM ET on the Bloomberg article. Impressive.