Last month, I wrote about global warming in the context of investment opportunities. As part of that discussion, I mentioned McKenzie Funk’s new book, “Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming.” I thought framing the financial opportunities of this might bypass the usual agnotology and political foolishness. To quote:

“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 finance: How is this going to affect business? What are the investing consequences? Who will be the financial winners and losers of climate change?”

The organized response from climate trolls — more than 2,000 comments in a 24-hour period is the result of a specific, directed effort, and not remotely organic — made me even more curious about the book. So “Windfall” went with me on vacation. (continues here)


Category: Investing, Travel, 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.

9 Responses to “Follow the Money: The Booming Business of Global Warming”

  1. rd says:

    My biggest fear is a massive mis-allocation of resources to protect people and assets that are simply in the wrong place. Examples include:

    1. The US Southwest and California – the reason it is always sunny and warm there is because it is a semi-tropical desert or semi-desert. By definition, these are places that don’t have much water. Why should the Rust Belt spend a lot of tax money helping people live in a desert while their own areas have been seeing their population dwindle as industry moves to the deserts with tax breaks?

    2. Florida – The insurance industry sent a message a few years ago when it largely pulled out of Florida for hurricane insurance. They realized that the Florida policy-makers had opened up huge areas of at-risk property for development over the previous few decades and the risks of losses were massive. A handful of hurricanes could destroy the state’s finances as it is now the insurer of last resort. The bleating would be very loud for the feds to step in to pick up the tab.

    3. Most low-lying coastal areas along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast – these areas seem to just get rebuit with more expensive things after a hurricane blows through. Once again, why should the rest of the taxpayers pick up the tab for expensive reconstruction deliberately placed in harm’s way?

    4. Major Mid-West flooding in the great river floodplains – they are called floodplains for a reason. Badly coordinated levees just make the problems worse and more difficult to predict. Some communities are finally beginning to understand that some areas are just meant to be floodplaines and are opening them up again for flood storage. Flood defences should be focused and few, located around strategic critical hubs. They don’t work well if if you try to protect everything.

    The US has a huge advantage over much of the rest of the world because the northern areas may actually benefit form global warming while the southern areas will likely suffer. That adds for internal re-allocation of people and resources similar to the other great migrations that have occurred over the past three centuries as various technology and climatic shifts have occurred.

    • Iamthe50percent says:

      Rd, you have hit everywhere in the USA as a bad bet for habitation, except for the Pacific Northwest. I’ll hit that one – volcanoes.

      Maybe we should move back to Europe?

      • jaykimball says:

        I live in the Pacific Northwest and, rather than volcanoes, earthquakes and associated Tsunami, are the big threats.

        I do climate change planning for a regional power company, and though no part of the US has much climate change upside, the Northwest is the best of a bad lot. We expect moderate increase in precipitation, but significant increase in extreme rain events. We expect loss of most snowpack by end of century, and need for shifting reservoir and river flow strategy to manage hydro water flows as we shift from snowmelt of stored snowpack, to run-off from extreme rain. We also expect warmer summers, with an associated shift in peak demand for energy shifting from January – cold month – to significant peak in summer as warming rises and air conditioning ramps up.

        All that said, at least we will have water, compared to the progressive desertification of the south. Our winters will be less cold, and our summers warmer. We also expect increases in species loss. To mitigate that, especially for salmon runs in the rivers and streams, there will be attempts mix colder waters coming from higher altitude Canadian snow-melt with the increasingly warmer Washington, Idaho and Oregon run-off, to keep streams at pre-climate change temperatures. Also increased plantings of trees along streams to shade the stream and reduce warming.

  2. Singmaster says:

    Attempting to change the mind of a climate denier is like trying to teach a pig to dance. You only get frustrated and you only annoy the pig. For those ready to take advantage of opportunities, let me enlist the brain power of your followers. I am thinking: Water FIW, Timber WOOD, Agric DBA or VEGI, Canada EWC…what else?

    • jaykimball says:

      Three that I have been working with and have been enjoying the ride:
      1. American Water Works (AWK)
      2. CREE for energy efficient lighting innovation – buy the dips.
      3. TQNT for gallium arsenide semiconductors. Not directly related to climate change, but a good play for broadband wireless communications as developing nations increase their teledensity without using lots of precious resources like copper for landlines and such.

      Also, though the current meme is that there is lots of energy – due to fracking and such, I believe that has been over-hyped. I am buying the dips in ETFs for Natural Gas and Oil and taking progressive profits on the upside. The two ETFs I like are UCO for oil, and UNG for natural gas.

      Though I get your DBA thought, I have not been good at predicting when it will reverse its tendency to fall, and then rush upward for a short time, then fall for years. Seems like accumulating when it dips down to mid 20s might be good, then take profits at 30ish.

  3. Bob A says:

    the Big Question is whether any amount of effort and spending can offset the ever increasing effect of coal burning power production in China.

  4. Whammer says:

    Barry, I love your take on this — as long as all the flat-earthers are out there, I might as well take their money. Desalination — that’s gonna be big….

  5. icantdance says:

    Did you see this last year:

    BR, don’t engage with the trol’odytes!

    This is my next audio book

  6. Singmaster says:

    50%, You are as right as you guessed. The book ends in Seattle with Bill Gates funding patent troll genius scientist Nathan Myhrvold geoengineering climate, benefitting PacNW, yet unknown consequences elsewhere.