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A sobering look at the economic realities associated with global climate change.

  • Jan 17, 2014
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At least in the short run there are going to clear winners and losers as a result of global climate change. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, particularly in places like Canada, Greenland and Russia, it would appear that rising temperatures are going to prolong growing seasons and allow access to vast amounts of mineral resources and oil in previously frozen areas. For these folks, warming temperatures will present a whole host of robust financial opportunities. Meanwhile, if you reside in places like Senegal, Mexico, the Maldives, Australia or even Southern California the consequences of this same phenomenon are likely to be devastating. No wonder it is so difficult to reach a consensus on global climate change! For the past six years author McKenzie Funk has been looking into these complex issues and travelling to the places most likely to affected by all of this. He presents his findings in an informative and thought-provoking new book "Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming". What Mr. Funk has to say is likely to worry you, infuriate you and educate you all at the same time.

In "Windfall" Mckenzie Funk examines a whole host of difficult problems that the nations of the world are going to be forced to grapple with in the years ahead. These issues include immigration, water shortages, desertification, wildfires, more powerful weather events and the renewed threat of diseases like yellow fever in a warming world. Time and again Funk points out that most of these issues are extremely complicated and not easily resolved. Take the issue of water desalination for example which is often hailed as a real solution to the shortage of fresh water around the world. Funk writes "Desalination plants use vast amounts of power. Power plants--whether nuclear, coal, gas or hydroelectric--use vast amounts of water for cooling. If they are fueled by coal, or, to a lesser degree natural gas, they also emit vast amounts of carbon. Carbon furthers warming, warming furthers drought, and desalination begins to resemble a snake eating its own tail." A vicious circle indeed! And all too often actions that might be viewed as a solution in one region may cause or exacerbate problems elsewhere on the planet.

In the pages of "Windfall" Mckenzie Funk spends a considerable amount of time introducing his readers to some of the people and companies poised to profit from global warming. He also discusses a whole host of products and technological solutions these various enterprises are working on. I had certainly never heard of smart soils, something called the Stratospheric Shield or Salter Sinks. Fascinating stuff! I also very much enjoyed the author's interview with Dutch architect Koen Olthuis who dreams of building "a floating world on top of the water rather than trying to keep the water out". Good luck with that one. Funk then goes on to wonder aloud about the morality of attempting to make a profit from other peoples misfortune.

"Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming" is McKenzie Funk's clarion call for each and every one of us, no matter our station in life, to begin to carefully consider these matters. Although his political leanings are quite apparent I thought he presented his case in a very thoughtful, professional and even-handed way. While I have big problems with some of the leading proponents of climate change (Al Gore immediately comes to mind) I make every effort to read a lot about the subject and try very hard to maintain an open mind. In this book Funk has presents a lot of information that I had never seen before. There is a lot of food for thought in this volume. Regardless of your political persuasion I believe that "Windfall" is a book well worth your time and effort. Highly recommended!

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Paul Tognetti ()
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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