Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Market Watch, a subsidiary of Dow Jones and News Corp, has provided advice on how we should climate proof our lives. But the assumptions behind their advice are as shaky as any climate model.
Here’s how your finances will be impacted by climate change
Our planet is warming, putting at risk not only our physical well-being, but our wallets.
2016 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record and scientists say global temperatures may rise by 7 degrees Fahrenheit before the end of the 21st century. As climate change escalates, cities are building sea walls, seeking new water sources for drought-stricken land, and storm-proofing their infrastructure in preparation. But while impending environmental impact of rising temperatures may be the most tangible, the often-overlooked effects on our pocketbooks may be just as worrisome, according to David Stookey, author of new book “Climate-Proof Your Personal Finances” published the Savvy Families Institute, an organization he heads that is based in Rhode Island.
“The physical problems are going to affect relatively few people in America — a much broader number are going to experience these problems financially,” he said. “The physical risks are nothing compared with the financial risks.” For this generation, at least.
So what advice does Market Watch offer?
- Re-evaluate your budget – by this Market Watch expect food prices to soar by up to 84% by 2050. They recommend eating less beef. This prediction is nonsense – the agricultural technology of 35 years from now will cope with anything the climate can throw at it.
- Straighten out your insurance – they suggest increased mental health insurance, to cope with the stress of climate storms. How about mental health insurance, to cope with silly climate claims?
- Pick a climate-safe job – by this Market Watch suggests you get a job in construction, for repairing all that anticipated superstorm damage. This is bad advice, even if storm damage rises. Construction is rapidly being automated, in a few decades construction will be almost entirely robotic.
- Warming-proof your investments – Market Watch suggests investing in clean energy and nuclear energy. Clean energy is currently not competitive, and may never be competitive, so most clean energy businesses rely on massive government subsidies for their return on investment – subsidies which are subject to fickle political whims. Investing in a business which could be wiped out by the stroke of a politician’s pen seems a risky proposition.
- Climate-proof your home – This is good advice anyway, check your home has adequate protection against flood risk and other natural threats
- Consider making a move – One of the cities on their “low risk” list is Seattle. Seattle is facing a serious risk of an offshore mega quake which could raise gigantic tsunamis. 15% of Seattle is built on “liquefiable land” – land which turns to Quicksand in the face of a major Earthquake. I suggest a list which overlooks such a major issue is as badly researched as most other climate claims.
Overall a very poor effort, from a news outlet which claims to have investment expertise. Even if their assumption are right, which seems doubtful, the advice they provide would be a suboptimal response to those assumptions.