Interesting piece from Makower on some recent articles moving the climate conversation to more … prosaic concerns. That is to say: who’s gonna make out?
The first is in the Harvard Business Review, and outlines these risks to businesses:
… regulatory risk (the impact of emissions caps or carbon taxes); supply chain risk (disruptions or price hikes in materials or energy, in many cases because of the huge distances such supplies are shipped); product and technology risk (companies’ varying ability to identify ways to exploit new market opportunities for climate-friendly products and services); litigation risk (the threat of lawsuits for significant carbon generators, similar to the suits faced in the tobacco, pharmaceutical, and asbestos industries); reputation risk (companies found guilty in the court of public opinion for selling or using products, processes, or practices that have a negative impact on the climate); and physical risk (the direct impacts of droughts, floods, storms, rising sea levels, etc.).
The second is a piece in the current issue of Atlantic Monthly (sub. rqd.) from Gregg Easterbrook, about "who wins and who loses" from climate change. Suffice to say, Joel’s estimation of this piece was much higher than mine. I happen to think Easterbrook’s a spectacular tool, and nothing in the piece convinced me otherwise.
For one thing, it begins with the assumption that all parts of the world will warm uniformly. That is so "simplifying" as to render the rest of the piece moot. On top of that, he assumes that things will warm a couple of degrees and then stabilize. Thus, Russia will have a bunch of new arable land. But why would we think warming will stop? Maybe Russia will have arable land for a few decades and then further warming will move arable regions even farther north. So Russia "wins" for a few decades at most. The whole piece is grade-school simple: low elevation regions lose; high elevation regions win. Coastal areas lose; inland regions win.
Kinda fun as a parlor game, I guess, but I pity the fool who plans investments based on such wankery.
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