‘Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming’ by McKenzie Funk (Penguin Press; January 23, 2014)
Table of Contents:
PART I: THE WORLD’S CLIMATE IS CHANGING, AND WE ARE THE MAIN CAUSE
1. Global Warming
- a. The World Is Warming
- b. We Are the Main Cause of Global Warming
2. Climate Change and its Effects
- a. Rising Sea Levels
- b. More Drought and Desertification, and More Deluges
- c. Stronger Storms
3. The Response to Climate Change on the Part of the World’s Governments: Complacency
PART II: THE ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF BURNING FOSSIL FUELS, AND CLIMATE CHANGE ITSELF
Section A. The Economic Benefits of Burning Fossil Fuels
4. Fossil Fuels and Economic Productivity
Section B. How Some Countries Benefit from Climate Change
5. The Arctic 5, and the Fight for the (Melting) North
- a. Melting Ice in the North Means Oil Finds, and Shipping Routes
- b. The Fight for the North
6. Melting Ice in the North Means More Mineral and Gem Finds
7. Other Ways Northern Countries Are Benefiting from Climate Change—With a Focus on Greenland
- a. Further Benefits of the Melt: Fresh Water and Hydroelectricity etc.
- b. Fishing, Agriculture and Tourism
- c. How Climate Change Is Paying for Greenland’s Independence
Section C. Individuals and Companies that Benefit from Burning Fossil Fuels, and Climate Change Itself
8. How Individuals and Companies Benefit from Burning Fossil Fuels
9. How Some Individuals and Companies Benefit from Climate Change
- a. The Insurance Companies
- b. Investing in Climate Change
10. The Psychology of Climate Change
PART III: ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE (AND MAKING A PROFIT)
11. Adapting to Water Shortages: From Sea-Water Desalination to Drought-Resistant Crops
- a. Transporting Water to the Places that Need it (Is a Fail)
- b. Desalinating Sea Water
- c. Adapting to Drier Farmland: Drought-Resistant Crops
12. Protection Against the Sea
- a. Storm-Surge Sea Walls
- b. Floating Land-Masses
13. Skiing in a Warming World: Artificial Snow and the Indoor Ski Resort
PART IV: PROFITING FROM MITIGATING CLIMATE CHANGE (WITHOUT GOING OUT OF OUR WAY TO CURB EMISSIONS)
14. Renewable Energy
- a. Influencing Weather Events: From Rainmakers to Hurricane Stoppers
- b. Cooling the Earth: Solar Radiation Management (and the StratoShield)
That the earth’s climate is warming, and we are the main cause of this phenomenon (through the emission of greenhouse gases, including especially carbon), is now beyond dispute to anyone with an objective mind and an appreciation of science.
The clearest and most obvious effects of global warming are the melting of glacial ice and the corresponding rise in sea levels. But the effects of a warming world do not end here, we now know. The models tell us that warming also means less rain and even drought and desertification in some areas; more rain in others, often in deluges; stronger storms, such as hurricanes and cyclones; and an acidifying ocean.
On a human scale, this means salinated and eroding coast lines; desiccated farmland and more wild fires in drier areas; increased flooding and soil erosion in suddenly wetter areas; more destructive and deadly storms; and threatened sea life.
With all these negative effects, you would think that the people, companies and governments of the world would be eager to step in and do everything we can to stem the rising tide of climate change (including especially cutting emissions). Instead, however, what we have seen is much talk and little action.
There are several reasons for this complacency. One of the leading ones is that the effects of climate change often seem somewhat removed from our daily lives. Indeed, even though we are now seeing the beginnings of many of the effects listed above, most of us glimpse at most a small fraction of these effects. And besides, it is difficult to attribute any one of them to global warming specifically. What’s more, we like our way of life, and it’s difficult to imagine changing it for something as abstract and often remote as global weather patterns.
In connection with this, many of us are wont to think that the best approach to climate change might simply be to adapt. We’re an innovative species, after all, what’s to stop us from innovating our way out of trouble? This idea is especially appealing to the innovators and entrepreneurs among us, for whom not only peace of mind, but profits await. Given that this is the case, it is no surprise that we are already beginning to see some very innovative business approaches to adapting to the new normal. Everything from extensive water desalination plants, to man-made floating land-masses, to storm-surge sea walls, to snow machines and indoor skiing resorts.
Continuing with our wishful train of thought, it might also occur to us that as we are innovating to adapt, we should also be able to innovate to help mitigate and even halt climate change without necessarily weaning ourselves off oil until it is more convenient to do so. Once again, there are profits to be made here, and once again, such innovations are already underway. Everything from the development of alternative forms of energy (including solar, wind, and other renewables), to ingenious ways to manipulate the weather and climate back to normal (known as geoengineering).
Beyond optimism (some might say denial), and the fact that there are big profits to be made from adapting to climate change, there is also one other factor to consider in our relative complacency when it comes to halting and reversing carbon emissions. That is that while many of the effects of climate change listed above are bad for many people, at least some are good for some people some of the time—at least in the short-term. For instance, while melting ice stands to swamp some parts of the world, it is also leaving large tracts of land in the arctic open for resource exploration and shipping routes. In addition, while shifting hydrology is leading to the loss of large tracts of farmland in drier areas, it is also often leading to richer agriculture in newly warmer, wetter areas. Also, while shrinking farmland and water resources is leading to food and water shortages, and rising prices, those in control of these precious resources are making a fortune.
As we can see, then, being complacent about cutting carbon emissions is not only pleasant for most of us, for some of us, it’s even a windfall! And that brings us to the topic of the book: all the things that are now being done to profit off of climate change (which we have now been introduced to above).
What follows is a full executive summary of Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming by Mckenzie Funk.
*For prospective buyers: To get a good indication of how this (and other) articles look before purchasing, I’ve made several of my past articles available for free. Each of my articles follows the same form and is similar in length (15-20 pages). The free articles are available here: Free Articles