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It’s Time to Prepare Your Portfolio for Climate Change

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Like it or not, the evidence that the Earth's climate is changing is no longer up for debate in mainstream scientific communities. In less-scientific communities, it's also becoming harder to make the argument that some sort of climate change isn't present (no snow in Minnesota in January!). Those who predicted climate change, more commonly known as global warming, warned that not only would temperatures increase, severe weather events will increase in scale and frequency, something we may already be seeing. In just the last few years we've seen New Orleans and the New York/New Jersey area devastated by hurricanes, and a drought with record heat that hit the U.S.

The scientific evidence is even more alarming. According to NASA, the 20 warmest years since 1880 have all occurred since 1981 and the 10 warmest have all occurred in the last 12 years. This has melted ice sheets around the world, caused the ocean to warm by 0.3 degrees since 1969, and caused it to rise by 6.7 inches in the last century.  

A new report draft on climate change from a 60-person National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee concluded that weather events like heat waves, heavy downpours, floods, and droughts are more frequent and/or intense than in the past. The report says that "Sea levels are rising, oceans are becoming more acidic, and glaciers and arctic sea ice are melting," which would have the most devastating impact on humans.

Here's what mainstream scientists are warning as consequences of global warming or climate change:

  • Sea levels rise: We've already seen small increases in the ocean's level, but if both poles melted the ocean would rise an astonishing 200 feet, so the consequences are potentially huge.
  • More frequent, stronger storms: One common prediction from climate change is increased storm activity and severity both inland and out at sea. In the U.S., this means more downpours and stronger hurricanes coming from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic, as we've seen in recent years.
  • Higher temperatures: The average temperature in the U.S. has risen 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, but the alarming statistic is 80% of that rise has occurred since 1980. The report linked above says that temperatures are expected to rise 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit more in the next few decades, and as much as 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century.

The impact of these events will affect all of us individually in different ways. But I'd like to focus on a few industries it will influence in the years ahead, both for better and for worse.

The business of risk is at risk
Insurance is the business of paying people for the losses they've suffered because of storms, earthquakes, fires, and other disasters. So, if we're going to see an increase in frequency of these events, then insurers will be adversely affected.

Allstate Insurance, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B  ) , and Travelers Group are all publicly traded companies who are among the top five in property and casualty insurance as measured by premiums written. They're already modeling for climate change and more frequent storms but if storms like Sandy and Katrina hit back to back then the effect could be large on the insurance industry.  

The irony of global warming -- more oil and gas
It's horribly ironic that if the planet heats up enough to melt the northern ice cap it could actually open up a lot of previously unavailable oil and gas drilling. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there could be 412 billion barrels of oil equivalent in the Arctic Circle, about 22% of the world's undiscovered conventional oil and natural gas resources.  

The negative for oil and gas is that by the time the Arctic melts we'll realize the climate is changing irrevocably and there will be a big push against the industry. Cap and trade measures have already been implemented in Europe, and California is starting its own program this year. Taxes or other ways of making fossil fuels more expensive will likely be in place by the time this resource opens up.

Old energy bites the dust
We've already seen the deterioration of the coal industry because of increased regulation and lower natural gas prices, but we're only at the start of the anti-coal movement. Coal is a legacy energy source in the U.S. and it will soon be replaced by natural gas, and eventually solar, for electricity generation. New coal plants are simply a thing of the past and they're being shut down by the hundreds across the country. For coal miners like James River Coal (NASDAQOTH: JRCCQ  ) and Arch Coal who rely heavily on thermal coal for revenue climate change is a trend they don't want to see get any worse, after losing more than half there market value in the past year.

China is reaching a point where the air quality in major cities is becoming so bad that policy changes could be coming from the government. China is putting billions of dollars into its solar industry, and after environmental protests last year it appears leadership is willing to increase environmental regulation to reduce the smog that fills many cities in China.  

Alternatives to fossil fuel
If "fossil fuel" becomes a bad word because of global warming we'll be looking for alternatives for both power generation and automobile fuel.

Power sources like solar aren't ready to take over the grid today but from a cost perspective they're now comparable to other sources of energy. According to Lazard's 2012 analysis of the levelized cost of energy from a variety of sources, crystalline ground-mounted solar is only slightly more costly than new generation fossil fuel and is far less costly than peak energy from gas (the energy it would displace first). With solar being the one energy source that's falling in cost it's only a matter of time before it's a no-brainer for the energy industry.

I've picked out SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR  ) as my top stock to take advantage of this solar trend, and after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway agreed to spend as much as $2.5 billion on one of its projects the market started to see the potential as well. First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR  ) is another company that will benefit from the trend toward solar, although likely more on the project development front.

On a vehicle level, the technology to use something other than gasoline is starting to become a reality. Tesla Motors is now mass-producing sedans that can get as much as 300 miles per "tank" of electricity and others are following the lead. Toyota is buying drive trains from Tesla for the Rav4 and it may add it to other vehicles as well.

Alternatives are a great idea but there are still many technology questions to be answered. The solar and wind industries need a way to store energy and transport energy long distances. Electric vehicles need extended range and faster charging. These technological challenges won't be answered overnight, but we won't see climate change overnight either. I think the tides will slowly ebb toward these alternative energy industries, making profitable investments for patient investors.

Climate change is real
The evidence of climate change is real and the impact will be as well. It's not too early to start thinking about how your portfolio could be affected by the changing actions of consumers and changing policy on the government level. 

Every company will be affected differently just like every community will be affected by climate change differently, so there's no single answer to how we should invest for climate change. But long-term investors would be wise to consider what the ramifications may be, good or bad.

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Read/Post Comments (110) | Recommend This Article (91)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2013, at 11:46 AM, RickRickert4MVP wrote:

    Travis, aren't most of our lakes in the midwest at very low levels? Increased salt water bad, decreaed fresh water bad too.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 2:25 PM, sailrick wrote:

    Scientific opinion on climate change

    "No scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion; the last was the American Association of PETROLEUM Geologists, which in 2007 updated its 1999 statement rejecting the likelihood of human influence on recent climate with its current non-committal position."



    Between 1991 and 2012 there were 13,950 peer reviewed research papers on climate published. Only 24 of them reject AGW.

    And I know who wrote most of those 24 papers.

    These guys

    9 out of 10 leading skeptical climate scientists have connections with Exxon/Mobil

    The Carbon Brief (TCB) has an article which not very surprisingly shows, that at least 9 out of 10 of the leading 'skeptical' 'scientists' who publish on climate change have direct links to Exxon.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 8:03 PM, rattler15 wrote:

    Those who have a financial interest in global warming have been given hero status by the liberal press. Those who do not fall in line, are denied research funds. Thank God for XOM. They aren't dependent upon grants. I do not believe the liberal media.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 8:48 PM, NickD wrote:

    Glaciers have been receding and growing cyclically for hundreds of years. The Earth is variable. The western Arctic may be getting somewhat warmer but the Eastern Arctic and Greenland are getting colder. The small Palmer Peninsula of Antarctica is getting warmer, while the main Antarctic continent is actually cooling. Ice thicknesses are increasing both on Greenland and in Antarctica.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 8:51 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    tvavis, this is idiotic.

    what do you say besides besides the other stuff? i could do the the other stuff?

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 11:08 PM, TMFFlushDraw wrote:


    I'd love to see your sources for your claims that ice thickness is increasing in Greenland and the Antarctic. The sources I've found say the opposite.



    I'd be happy to look at the other side though (nothing funded by XOM please).

    Travis Hoium

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 4:47 PM, gcsmithbmc wrote:

    Climate change has been occuring since the beginning of time and will continue until the end of time. It is not a man-made phenonom. Anyone who believes man will somehow be able to change this is deluded. Even if it were possible for man to take action to effect change has no hope of success because it would require all nations to participate and hell will freeze over before that happens. Policies enacted to attemt to effect changes in climate change are mostly done in order to transfer wealth. I find it humerous to use examples as evidence that climate change is real (unseasonable warm or cold season, hurricanes, etc...). The fact is that if you wait long enough, something will come up that is atypical and you can use that as your evidence. Like I say, I find it funny. It's especially hilarous that what is now called climate change was originally referred to as global warming but the name had to be changed because the warming effect reversed and things started cooling off. In any event, as I mentioned above, climate change has been occuring since the beginning of time and will continue until the end of time. It is not a man-made phenonomem. And nothing man can do is likely to have any effect on it.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 4:50 PM, TMFVelvetHammer wrote:


    Gutsy article. Bold, and right on the money. Even having not taken a position in terms of what's causing environmental change, the attacks on you are coming! Love it.

    Keep writing great stuff like this. Bias blinds, and not wanting to believe something doesn't make it not true, anymore than believing something makes it true.


    CLNE Ticker Guide, Stock Advisor

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 4:50 PM, Vince1172 wrote:

    climate change is not influenced by human beings. did cavemen cause the last ice age? the world undergoes climate shifts. dont believe the liberal BS. plenty of scientists disagree with the mainstream liberal belief that humans can actually cause the weather to change. its a load of b.s.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 4:56 PM, Beanfarmer wrote:

    Seems to me, we humans in some form have been around for more than 25,000 years. But we base all of our global warming predictions on the past less than 200 years. I believe there was a "mini ice-age" during the middle ages and it may be that what we have seen in the past 200 years was a "warm spell" and we are now approaching normal or a cooler period. Temperature moves in cycles controlled by Gaia not us.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:00 PM, showme wrote:

    I've had a concern for a couple years, Berkshire Hathaway, with it's large insurance contingents seems to be more exposed to extreme weather events. Has anyone ever heard Mr. Buffet address this?

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:10 PM, chrisflyz wrote:

    I thought by now the debate would be over since the guys who started all this man-made global warming talk were caught lying and fabricating their data from a few trees in Kamchatka. People have very short memories when it comes to the weather and the climate. There will be even more storms like Sandy but go back and look at the 1950s if you want an example of similar patterns. In every other topic of discussion, money is seen as a disqualifier of impartiality, but when all the grant money goes to scientists with a singular predisposition, it is ignored and called a consensus. To be true scientists, they should not be predisposed either way. The fact that they fight so hard for a belief tells us that that is what it is.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:17 PM, shahind wrote:

    Although it is difficult to debate global warming, it is not so easy to automatically extrapolate the trend to prove higher highs. Just like any bullish chart pattern, just because the stock has made 52 week highs, 520 week highs, or 5200 week highs for that matter, it doesn't mean that the trend is likely to continue. If anything, a contrarian view could just as well predict that a correction in world temperatures is likely to follow very soon. If my memory serves me correctly, the last time that I exuberantly extrapolated a strong uptrend was during the .com era. The results were ugly!!!

    Actually, looking at the NASA chart (link below), you can see that the trend since 2007 has been down.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:24 PM, basohn wrote:

    Wow, imagine that the climate changes. Here I thought the seasons and shifts in temperature were abnormal.

    In the 70's it was the population bomb that was going to doom us.

    In the 80's AIDS signified the end was here.

    In the 90's to about 06 Global warming was evidence the end was here.

    Today it is called "Climate Change" because the average temperature over the last decade or so actually show cooling.

    The bottom line is alarmist will always find something to be alarmed about.

    Looking at "Climate Change" over short periods of time (about the last 80 years) is like shifting your long-term investment strategies with weekly changes in the DOW.

    The earth has been warming and cooling over the last 6000+ years since it was created.

    Yes, I do really believe that the Scriptural account is accurate. To me it seems more plausible that the magnificent earth we live on and the Solar System we have around us was created. Kind of like long term planing for retirement and multiple streams of income versus rather than somehow the earth came out of nothing through some mysterious big bang and just feel into place, which seems kind of like depending on playing the lottery for your retirement.

    Additionally, the Bible has a much better track record of bettering lives by following its principles than following the the prophets of alarm.

    Basically, I believe in God and that He created this earth and regulates it, and that He is wiser than those who seek to be worshiped as prophets of climate science.

    Here is a good article about global warming.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:26 PM, 1pOwedyank wrote:

    I need some money. Tell me what you want researched, and I'll get a supporting conclusion for you.

    Only an "indifferent scientist" could eliminate a mini ice age.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:34 PM, sampwil wrote:

    The earth has been naturally warming since the last ice age but the rate at which the earth is currently warming is faster than what we have observed in ice cores. The earth's climate just doesn't change that fast. The earth is very old place and the last time climate made a swift change it killed off most of its mammals.

    To deny climate change is to deny basic physics and chemistry. You can not pull resources out of the earth that took millions of year to produce and burn it all within a 400 year timespan and expect no effect. Where did you expect the byproducts to go? They will no float into space. You can measure the CO2 in the atmosphere. The earth is constantly storing and converting CO2 but our technology(cars, power stations) has reached the point where we generate more CO2 then earth can use. It really isn't that hard to understand.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:36 PM, JayLowell2 wrote:

    Don't be foolish,as a environmentalist I have looked at the data and it does'nt add up.Its better to follow the money to find the truth.If you want a cause to be worried about try Fracking and the enviormental holocaust that its building up to be.If you want to flip your toupee that your baby.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:38 PM, MNRipley wrote:

    The climate is changing? Of course it is. The earth is in a constant state of flux. It has been for the last 4.54 (+/- 1%) billion years. The climate has been everything from "hell on earth" to "snowball earth" and everything in between. Continents drift, volcanos erupt, glaciers advance and retreat, the earth's orbit around the sun changes, the tilt of the earth's axis changes, the radiation output of the sun changes. It all changes and will continue to change and there's not a damn thing we can do about it. 4.54 billion years - think about that for a minute - 4,540,000,000 years. Give or take. Oh yeah, and the give or take (+/- 1%) represents a hell of a lot longer time than humans have been around. Our entire written history has taken place since the last ice age ~11,000 years ago. This isn't XOM, this is your basic college geology textbook.

    Wow. Records from 1880 to 2012 presented as evidence of climate change (implication: man-made climate change). 132 years. Let's see 4,540,000,000 divided by 132 equals... statistically insignificant.

    It's not like the earth magically entered into some quiescent state to make way for human civilization. The weather changes, and if the weather changes broadly enough and persistently enough, you can go a head and call it "climate change". It's not your fault or my fault or America's fault, or George Bush's fault, or the evil oil companies' fault.

    As to Travis' statement that it's no longer up for debate in "mainstream scientific communities" and his implication that only rubes would doubt the veracity of AGW, well, I too find it funny. Scientific progress takes place when the mainstream is successfully challenged, not when its dictums are romantically embraced. Anyway, he sure seems to have an axe to grind.

    "The real purpose of the scientific method is to make sure Nature hasn't mislead you into thinking you know something you don't actually know. There's not a mechanic or scientist or technician who hasn't suffered from that one so much that he's not instinctively on guard. That's the main reason why so much scientific and mechanical information sounds so dull and so cautious. If you get careless or go romanticizing scientific information, giving it a flourish here and there, Nature will soon make a complete fool of you."

    - Robert Pirsig

    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:41 PM, 48ozhalfgallons wrote:

    Whenever a climactic event occurs, it affects twice as many people as it did 40 years ago. Ergo, climactic events have doubled in severity in 40 years. They are likely to double again in severity in the next 40 years.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:48 PM, 48ozhalfgallons wrote:

    I better add that my use of "climactic" is a pun.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:50 PM, bobt01 wrote:

    Well you can start messing around with your portfolio to join this group think but what for?

    Ice world wide nothing odd here -

    Sea level is growing at about one foot per century (320mm) same as it always has as we are coming out of an ice age-

    American land temps 1850 - 2006

    Its a con and don't fall for it unless you can grab a short term gain and get out before the same thing that happened to the Carbon trading sites in Europe this winter happens to you.....

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:58 PM, nopoliticalspin wrote:

    I cringe every time an "investor" interjects politics into investing. Global warming is nothing but a leftwing attempt at a funding mechanism for the UN as well control of private enterprise. The science is NOT settled,

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 6:12 PM, jasjfarrell wrote:

    Climate change is not man made. What's man made are the ideas that man is causing the climate to change. Ultimately it comes down to increased taxes for "carbon". More money for the government to take lawfully from its' citizens and waste accordingly.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 6:12 PM, vebb wrote:

    The wooly mammoth disappeared , too. And it had nothing to do with "W" or the US and our consumption of fossel fuels. My background is science and it isn't there on the subject of global warming. May I humbly suggest you're off base here , Travis.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 6:16 PM, TMFDarwood11 wrote:

    Good article.

    I think too many get sucked into the politics and personal beliefs. I am not the center of the universe and it's best to plan for the possibilities; in other words, the earth doesn't revolve around my whims, desires or beliefs.

    I prefer to take the position "What if we are in a global warming trend?" It's happened before, and it might be happening now. Greenland may again become a nice, green place to park one's hat in retirement.

    If we are in a global warming trend, then certain sectors of my retirement portfolio may be at risk. Others may benefit. It's prudent to think about these things and adjust. I do and I have. For example, I've had "alternative investments" in my portfolio for more than a few years. At present, this isn't a large slice, but about 10% total. Plus a nice investment in a piece of commercial real estate.

    Now, there is a growing consensus that alternative investments have a place in one's portfolio. I think that is merely an acknowledgement of the economic times we live in. Part of the "new normal" as a consequence of the "economic reset" of 2008. Looking at the possible consequences of a global warming trend is a rational thing to do. Just as looking at "alternative investments" is a rational thing to do.

    Does this mean avoiding insurance companies? Not necessarily. Just as 2008 did not mean avoiding all banks and financial companies. However, one has to realize that if we invest in "indexes" that we will be buying those companies today that may weigh down our portfolios and contribute to less than desirable returns. Are there methods to compensate for this? Of course there are. One is to be aware of the consequences of change and to adapt.

    So I suggest that readers step back, think about where they want to be in 40-70 years, and then think about their game plan. Is 70 years a long way out? Not at all. For example, I'm closer to the age of 70 than I am to 60 and I have a plan that is designed to accommodate a possible 45 additional years on the planet for me and/or my spouse. I don't really expect to be here that long, but one of us might be. For someone who is 25, an equivalent plan would have an event horizon of 80 years. So let's get real folks and focus on the goals and the prize.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 6:26 PM, belbing wrote:

    As one of the greatest scientists of the twentieth century said, "Science is the organized skepticism in the reliability of expert opinion."

    Richard Feynman__

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 6:31 PM, belbing wrote:

    Wasn't it about forty years ago when scientists "agreed" that we were entering an era of global cooling?

    True science is never about concensus or we'd still believe that the basic elements are earth, air, and fire.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 6:34 PM, belbing wrote:

    Hey, Travis, look at your calander. This isn't April 1.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 7:06 PM, jimm77 wrote:

    Travis, you are mistaken when you say there are not great scientists who disagree with the ill effect that man has had on the earth's climate. We happen to have in our town Dr. Don Easterbrook, a practicing liberal and an evironmental geologist from Western Washington University, who has studied the climate from a geoligist's perspective going back milleniums and written several books on the subject. His conclusion that man's effect on the climate is practically nil and virtually outweighed by the natural variability in the climate over time.

    In fact he often says that man had better quit trying to screw with the climate to synthetically correct it or we will have the responsibility one day to "turn up the heat" when we need it

    Jim Allsop.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 7:21 PM, Chontichajim wrote:

    How can you leave out commodities related to agriculture. At the very least changes in temperature and water will require changes in the farming locations that we take for granted. Fertilizer, and fresh water infrastructure look good.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 7:25 PM, KyleSanDiego wrote:

    I cringe every time TMF authors inject politics into investing.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 7:30 PM, johncwick wrote:

    This article sounds like something from CNN, not from the newsletter that I read and pay good money for. I see good comments up here such as from Jimm77, and Dr Ian Pilmer is an australian who wrote a great book on the subject of climate change.

    I'm an R&D engineer and have studied structural modeling for years, for someone to tell me that they can model the earth as a system and predict future temperatures is absolutely absurd! i've read the papers from NOAA, the world bank issued one recently and many other scientific groups' work. The modeling techniques are littered with error as they EXPLICITLY state in their papers. They know its bullsh&*t!!!!!! What makes me mad is that we spend trillions of dollars trying to understand and make choices to combat what we think is happening but its all a waste!!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 7:31 PM, marvsehn wrote:

    I can accept the concept that the trend is for warming. There is much disagreement on why and I don't yet believe humans play a large part in the trend.

    Aas for replacing coal (which generates 50% of the electricity in the US) with solar I believe you will need better technology and trillions of $.

    Even if solar and wind was economically feasable it will take 50 years to finance and build that type of capacity.

    While I may note be an expe

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 7:37 PM, TMFFlushDraw wrote:


    Thanks for all of the comments. I've looked at the links provided and while I'm sure we don't all interpret the data the same way I will consider it and add the counterpoints to my sphere of knowledge for future debates.

    (One point of clarification, I used the term "global warming" a few times but tried to pair it with "climate change", which is more commonly accepted in scientific communities. I know those two words are hot button and my intention was to make a broader investment related point that we need to start thinking about these things.)

    I don't expect everyone to agree, and based on the comments above we clearly don't, but I do think this is a reasonable debate for investors to have. President Obama mentioned climate change in his address today and there are very real political and economic consequences that could be coming down the pipeline for investors. What exactly these potential changes are, we don't currently know, but as the headline says I think it's time to start preparing for it.


    Travis Hoium

    PS. @Chontichajim Yes, I agree, these are good ways to play climate trends.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 7:48 PM, Investor612 wrote:

    Mr. Hoium,

    So Exxon is a boogeyman to you, but you trust the side that has been caught falsifying data and conspiring to silence dissent?

    You bring up Greenland. 1000 years ago The Vikings established settlements on Greenland because the climate was warm enough to grow rye wheat, a staple of their civilization, and sufficient pasture for their animals. They had lumbering camps on Labrador which they called Vinland for all the grapes. Then came the "The Little Ice Age" and the colonies were no longer able to sustain themselves. Some returned to Iceland. Others? A mystery.

    Try finding tall trees or grapes in Labrador today. Know anyone growing rye wheat in Greenland?

    I find your position the debate is over the antithesis of science. That is especially true on a subject like the climate which is the result of the interaction of literally dozens of factors many of which are imperfectly understood individually, much less in combination.

    By the way, it was -30 last night in northern Minnesota.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 7:53 PM, NickD wrote:

    Solar Magnetic Activity........the little ice age we were just in as of 200 years ago .... ofc the Earth is warming it's a natural's not evening really warming but they like to say it NASA the same people who spoent 12 billion tax dollars to create a pen the can right in 0 gravity instead of just using a pencil NASA hate you with all my life you scum

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 7:56 PM, weatherfarmer wrote:

    Oh boy, a lot of misinformation floating around here. I'm a trained meteorologist, so please here me out.

    The climate system has been very stable since the last ice age (about 10K) years, which has allowed mankind to inhabit and overtake the Earth and us interact in this most fascinating manner.

    Yes, there are natural cycles on various time scales, but the fact is that we humans are turning the knobs of the climate system much faster than the system would do on its own. The last time carbon dioxide concentrations were at current levels (now about 400 parts per million), was close to a million years ago. We are playing with fire.

    All of the recent (past 10 years or so) observed warming is faster than the climate models have indicated - these have been vetted scientifically by running them in hindsight to calibrate them.

    The Earth is warming fast and economically there will be winners and losers. In my opinion there are two large areas that the warming climate will impact most substantially - energy and water. Changing global water resources will have dire consequences on global conflict and agriculture to name a few.

    Droughts will be more frequent and severe in both low and middle latitudes - the ongoing US drought is a sign of what we are more likely to experience.

    Earth has a fever, and we're largely to blame.

    Countries such as Canada will be winners, as the growing season lengthens and keeps its rain/snow.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 8:14 PM, rickgran wrote:

    I see what you mean, Travis. I only wish I had bought land back in the Wisconsinian ice age when the ice was a mile and a half deep on top of the Great Lakes. I could have got it for next to nothing and would be rich today!!

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 8:24 PM, weatherfarmer wrote:

    Indeed, time scale does matter here as some things will see little response in 50-100 years while others may have payouts 5-10 years ahead.

    Big business is quite aware of how climate change may affect their bottom line - note the development risk analytics businesses - thinking this is a strong growth area.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 8:26 PM, NickD wrote:

    Sure Earth is warming explain Mars warming??/... Humans melting Mars ice caps?? Pretty sure it's just Solar Magnetic Activity...

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 8:43 PM, belbing wrote:

    AlexisMachine's writing is an example of that of a victim of the public education system. I couldn't determine where a sentence ended, or where a new topic began, Some of the spelling of words such as to (too) and your (you're) leaves me somewhat bewildered.

    Alexis, your writing could be useful if written correctly. Please proofread in the future so that you can get your message across.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 8:50 PM, TMFBlacknGold wrote:


    Fun fact: The way we are destroying our planet is actually the key to terraforming Mars and therefore making it habitable for humans and other complex lifeforms. But that's because we would need to thicken the planet's super-thin atmosphere. So your argument about solar radiation comparing Earth and Mars makes no sense.

    Also, the solar cycle (which hasn't undergone any major changes) sure doesn't explain rising greenhouse gas emissions. Find me a natural cycle that ebbs and flows in a distinct pattern for thousands of years and then grows exponentially (and randomly) at about 1850.

    It is a pretty simple mass and energy balance. All of the oil we consume on Earth was created during a very distinct time period in geologic history that took tens of millions of years. We are releasing all of that carbon over a span of 200 years - not even a fart on Earth's timeline.

    But hey, maybe you're right and an overwhelming majority of Earth's scientist are involved in a massive conspiracy theory.


  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 8:58 PM, TMFBlacknGold wrote:


    Oh, and the Little Ice Age was directly related to a series of major, abnormal volcanic eruptions from 1812 to 1815. A recent study found that the eruption of Mount Tambora alone was responsible for a drop of up to 1 degree C in worldwide temperatures. This was not something that happened out of the blue or without a major flux in atmospheric carbon cycling.

    The study (link opens PDF):

    --Maxxwell, Bioproccess engineer

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 9:29 PM, hairius wrote:

    I'm surprised the article makes no mention of nuclear energy, which some people are starting to talk about as the ultimate green energy source. Not current nuke technology, but things like LFTRs (liquid fluoride thorium reactors) which seem to be both safer than conventional nuclear technology and produce far less nuclear waste. The problem with other green energy like solar and wind is that the current technology seems unable to generate the massive amounts of energy expanding world economies demand. It is hard to imagine nukes being "green;" I'm still getting used to the idea myself.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 9:44 PM, NickD wrote:

    The burning of fossil fuels doesn't explain the ending of Ice Ages it doesn't explain ice caps on other planets melting it is just a stupid and I wish people would stop falling for scams.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 9:56 PM, dadyer wrote:

    Once I read "Climate Change Is Real", I knew I had read enough of this author. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 10:23 PM, whereaminow wrote:

    Ha, I was just writing about how TMF's writing staff seems to be nothing but mouth-pieces for the State, and here we have another writer parroting the same old Statist nonsense.

    Kinda funny.

    And I see the usual comments about peer review, and the same old smears toward anyone who questions the agenda or the science. It's getting old and pathetic.

    David in Liberty

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 10:35 PM, jtmc1 wrote:

    It is estimated that little 2010 volcano in Iceland deposited 10 years worth of CO2 into the atmosphere. But have no fear, man will control that in the future.

    What's more scary is that my investment guru buys into this folly. Karl Marx would applaud this article.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 10:41 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    David, there was a peer-reviewed article that appeared in a journal saying man-made global warming would prevent the next 4 or 5 ice ages. My thought was "GOOD!".

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 10:44 PM, TMFBlacknGold wrote:


    "I'm surprised the article makes no mention of nuclear energy, which some people are starting to talk about as the ultimate green energy source. Not current nuke technology, but things like LFTRs (liquid fluoride thorium reactors),"

    Most projects for salt reactors stopped early into the Cold War when politicians warned of an impending Plutonium Economy. There are some intriguing projects involving the reuse of spent nuclear fuel, however. Some are even bankrolled by Bill Gates.


  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 10:45 PM, waldojess wrote:

    Global warming, now changed to "Climate Change" is a myth. Climate does not change in a month or a year or 10 years.

    The 2nd myth is that man has anything to do with it.

    It is a scam that the insiders are using to enrich themselves at the public trough.

    You are a real fool to fall for this and not in a good way. Don't waste your precious time or money on these investments that can't stand a real business examination.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 10:51 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    I dunno, what was Karl Marx doing while he was rattling on about the Proletariat???! It seems although he came from a family of means, he also dabbled in the market a bit, lol.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 11:06 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:


    maybe you have different friends than i do, but most of them their eyes glaze over when i about nuclear reactors, lol.

    don't get me wrong, i think this is a great idea. but most people don't realize that this is breeder reactor. what is the neutron flux cross sectional density (measured in barnes)?, lol

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 11:32 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:


    i could care less about the co2 in the air, it will be what it will be. estimates are it will max out at about 455ppm.

    if you are a bio-process engineer, the rate of phosphorous subduction is a bigger concern to me.

    i think even now the rate of rate of extraction from mineral sources exceeds what is need to grow the crops in presently arable land.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 12:44 AM, imntacrook wrote:

    Climate change is TOTAL BS!

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 1:21 AM, dgmennie wrote:

    "Cimate change" per the discussions in the popular press (and this MF article) typically blames oil and other fossil-fuel consumption which is growing everywhere. Whatever emissions US might manage to reduce by personal sacrifice and harm to the domestic economy will be more than offset by legions of new industrial facilities and car buyers in China, India, and elsewhere where the demand for oil is now unrelenting. Implementing a carbon tax in the US is most likely to be (1) politically stupid/dangerous; (2) not a solution to the deficit because the projected billions in revenue will never emerge if consumption is seriously discouraged; and (3) not a solution to environmental issues since carbon dioxide emissions will simply be generated elsewhere by those getting industrial jobs and automobiles for the first time. Note the HUGE smog that occured in one Chinese city recently, making the air nearly unbreatable for days. Is not much of America's annual defense spending simply aimed at preserving and defending US access to oil?

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 1:32 AM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    dgmennie, "dude, didn't you get the memo? we are all on big oil's payroll now", lol. stupid leftardists.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 2:42 AM, Zombie111 wrote:

    It would be interesting to see a similar article on what will happen if the oceans become more acid, as postulated. Invest in artificial oyster farms, maybe?

    2 things re the debate about climate change.

    1. Nobody seems to mention the other greenhouse gases which are much worse than carbon, such as methane (produced by large ruminants, that we breed in huge numbers).

    2. There is a presumption that because climate change has occurred in the past that humans cannot be responsible for what is happening now. That is a bit like saying that extinction has always happened and humans have had no impact on that either.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 6:00 AM, Kiffit wrote:

    At last, some sign that we may develop large scale institutional responses to the biggest crisis capitalism has ever faced; the environment. Anthropogenic climate change is just one of many symptoms of a global environment under enormous stress. Right now we are devouring our future. And if we cannot develop a suitably low impact capitalism 'lite', there will be a life form crash that will take a lot of us with it. That is how nature deals with species that are too successful. Let us hope we are collectively smart enough to avoid becoming just another terminal predator

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 9:45 AM, pduc wrote:

    "The earth has been warming and cooling over the last 6000+ years since it was created."

    OK, that's a show stopper. It's kind of useless to discuss with the one who wrote this.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 10:25 AM, edmace wrote:

    I think that probable disruptions in food production should be taken into consideration in a broad investment strategy. The current rate of climate change may result in significant price increases in food commodities that will impact certain national economies and industries in the not-too-distant future. While the exact outcomes are difficult and maybe impossible to precisely predict, I want to avoid investments that are likely to have greater exposure to loss resulting from these kinds of events.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 10:32 AM, TMFFlushDraw wrote:


    Great way to look at this. MON is a great way to play this trend with draught resistant products and increasing yield in ag products across the board.

    Thanks for the comments everyone. Interesting to say the least.

    Travis Hoium

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 11:08 AM, dmawhinney wrote:

    New ice core data from the Antarctic Peninsula has revealed that temperatures in the region during the past 10,000 years have often been higher than they are today, and that warming of the sort seen there recently has also occurred in the pre-industrial past.

    The above from an article Posted in Energy, 23rd August 2012 10:16 GMT by Lewis Page.

    It is also common knowledge (among non-political scientists) that models of ocean temperatures do not include heat introduced by methane smokers deep in the tectonic trenches because they don't have enough info to model that element.

    It is also well known that it hasn't been determined whether ice cap melting is occurring due to air temperatures or warmer water currents underneath the ice cap.

    You might also want to read the following:

    which unearths a concerted effort to change historical data to make current data "prove" global warming. The first paragraph states:

    "Whether or not 2012 was the hottest ever in the continental United States seems to depend on which data set is consulted. Both NOAA and NASA have been making “adjustments” to the official temperature record, all of which tend to make older records cooler and more recent temperatures warmer."

    There has been no indication of warming since 1996, but that is an inconvenient truth for the socialist pigs who want to create a crisis to justify further government control of our industries and our lives.

    You political lefties like to label rational conservative thinking as conspiracy, but you should be looking to your own for conspiracy. Realists and conservatives don't need to police politically correct thinking through ridicule and intimidation to validate our positions.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 11:31 AM, Subsound90 wrote:

    Disagreeing with global warming now is disagreeing with scientific fact. People can claim it is just a theory all they want...but they don't know what the word theory means.

    Other scientific theories include Germ Theory (that germs cause disease), the theory of electomagnatism (how electricty works), the theory of gravity, the theory of plate tectonics, and the atomic theory (that atoms make up matter). Saying that global warming is just a theory but all the rest are facts is delusional and in need of medication.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 11:51 AM, AvianFlu wrote:

    I insist you stop referring to "climate change" and go back to the phrase "man made global warming".

    Why do you want change the message?

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 12:26 PM, BoilerBoog wrote:

    If anyone is still in denial about climate change, it's only because they've been watching only Fox News or haven't been reading very much news. Climate change has nothing to do with politics, but it's very political, as we have seen. You can't argue with the facts and science though. Though the right calls him a liberal hippie, Bill McKibben has written a great book called "Eaarth" (with 2 a's) on climate change how we're already past the tipping point. The first half is depressing, but the 2nd half is more hopeful and solution-oriented. This book really shows you what is going on in the world.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 12:44 PM, ndsufool wrote:

    All these experts. @Invester612, does the fact that it was -30 last night have any more relevance then record breaking heat wave in early July? And calling global warming scientific fact right now...can anyone tell me definitively whether eggs are good are bad for me today?

    Accepting almost anything as 100% certain seems silly. But to deny the possibility that man-made climate change is real is idiotic. If you want to believe that humans aren't affecting the climate, that is your perogative, but don't deny the possibility.

    I'm no scientist, but just as cigarette smoke makes me think fire sticks might not be good for me, neither do I think burning oil or sucking on a tail pipe is good for humans either.

    Bottom line, if CNN is your bible and FoxNews is a fake news entity, you are lacking intellectual vigor. And vice versa. Just keep an open mind. And any time you the words "____-wing conspiracy" become part of your argument, it instantly becomes 95% less persuasive and effective

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 12:56 PM, Medannn wrote:

    For those who believe the government lies on global warming watch this video....


  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 1:19 PM, AllMagic wrote:

    Record cold and record snow here in Idaho. Several days of temps below zero. Third coldest January since 1865. And this is in south Idaho which is a desert! Why do these freaks only mention things that support their. No snow in Minnesota? Come on over to Idaho, we have plenty, and not just in the mountains this year. Climate change, global warming or whatever it is being called this week is a fraud (in the 70s it was global cooling, which incidently was caused by the same things that is now causing global warming). Whatever to get one's agenda pushed. Unfortunately it is all this cold that is causing us to use so much energy to keep us from freezing. So I guess you could say that it is just too cold right now to fight all that warming!

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 2:17 PM, Spw225 wrote:

    Global warming is being pushed as a way for governments to get more money. That's the one truth. After all the falsehoods coming from researchers and the government we should be skeptical of their motives. Scientists also predict the the sun will become a red giant in 4-5 billion years expanding its surface to almost envelop the earth. Something with that kind of power could not possibly cause global warming. No, Its us, so give the government more money. Only fools would ever support giving the government more money.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 3:57 PM, Investor612 wrote:


    The comment about it being 30 below last night in N. MN related to the author's wrong assertion there's no snow in Minnesota.

    I agree it's good to keep an open mind, not just on climate change.

    I note that the debate is over, those who don't accept anthropogenic global warming are "deniers" that one so often hears is the opposite of an open mind.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 4:06 PM, Gato337 wrote:

    To all of the commenters talking about:

    1) how cold it is right now (yes, it's winter!!!)

    2) average global temps haven't increased for the last decade (yes, this may be true!)

    This is NOT proof that climate change is simply a leftist fairy-tale

    These kinds of comments are exactly why the scientific community no longer uses the phrase 'global warming.' Global warming is only one part of a bigger picture of anthrogenic environmental change. Also, as noted by many, the warming phenomenon is not expected to be a neat upward trend-line, just like stocks, there will be jagged edges. Also, All geographic locations will NOT see their temperature/weather patterns affected equally or even in similar manner by this phenomenon, so dont think that the projected 6ft average rise in sea-level will actually translate to 6 extra ft of ocean water everywhere. Some places will experience a smaller change, others will experience more than 6ft increase! The key word is AVERAGE.

    We now use the term "climate change" because it includes a number of environmental phenomena other than rising average global air/ocean temperatures, including: the acidification of oceans (see info on bleached coral reefs), glacial melt, significant shifts in deep ocean currents, increasingly severe and more frequent natural disasters/weather events, sea level rise, permafrost thaw, localized increases and decreases in ocean salinity (this will particularly affect coastal communities relying on harvesting animals from estuarine ecosystems, i.e. river deltas) and more!

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 7:42 PM, tprooney3 wrote:

    Global warming is happening. Or it isn't. One side is right. Travis did us a service by sharing his thoughts on how we might position our portfolios if global warming is real. You might take short positions against some or all of Travis' recommendations if you think global warming will not happen.

    My own opinion based on 20 years as a practicing environmental scientist with a a lot more informed than 90% of what I have read here in the comments, is probably correct, and is (in my opinion) irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 8:21 PM, weatherfarmer wrote:

    Back to the investing strategy - the Mississippi river (and others) have required more dredging with the lower water levels from ongoing drought - winner in this camp = Great Lakes Dredge and Dock .

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 8:39 PM, enthuskeptic wrote:

    That was an incredible amount of long rants! I so agree with "belbing" that you lose respect when your lingo is really bad.

    "investor162", I thought that wheat and rye were two different tyoes of grain!?

    Now I have to write my real comment tomorrow becase of all the incredibly bad writing that abounds here. My mother tongue isn't English, but I have so many times in my life met native English speakers who speak or write their language extremely badly.

    Please in future at least read through what you have written before sending it.Then at least you may catch a typo or two. Capital letters and punctuation help too.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 8:59 PM, NickD wrote:

    Well Hell fire save matches F!@# a duck and see what hatches.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 10:27 PM, rneilb wrote:

    On January 21, 2013, at 7:30 PM, johncwick wrote:

    What makes me mad is that we spend trillions of dollars trying to understand and make choices to combat what we think is happening but its all a waste!!!!!!

    John, it's not all a waste. Al Gore left office with only a couple million dollars, and now he's worth more than $100M shilling for climate change companies. Being politically connected to receive taxpayer dollars is far more valuable than actually providing quality products and services at ever decreasing costs as the private enterprise chumps do.

  • Report this Comment On January 23, 2013, at 8:01 AM, mikecart1 wrote:

    How can anyone with any intelligence in the science community say there is global warming when the amount of data we have vs. supposedly the millions of years the Earth has been around is puny at best? If the timeline of the Earth is 100 units long, what we have is history that makes up about 0.0001 units long.

    Basically to say there is a long-term trend is inaccurate and just not smart.

  • Report this Comment On January 23, 2013, at 11:24 AM, enthuskeptic wrote:

    Dr. Moors has said - and I agree with him - that changes in energy use don't come from idealism or future prospects, but because of price, what we all have to pay for the end product.

    When oil becomes extremely expensive, natgas can tide us over until renewables technology improves and renewables become price competitive.

  • Report this Comment On January 23, 2013, at 12:09 PM, enthuskeptic wrote:

    The comments about nuclear power were very interesting, thanks TMFblackngold.

  • Report this Comment On January 23, 2013, at 12:14 PM, enthuskeptic wrote:

    For many Capitalism means a system that exploits people. -But that has never happened, right?

    I prefer the term "free market".

  • Report this Comment On January 23, 2013, at 2:33 PM, aubreyangel wrote:

    The author follows the ignorant news media. Central solar will require thousands of acres, new power gathering and distribution, and above all back-up conventional power. Wind power similarly requires backup since it's only available a typical 20-30% of the time and it's an environmental disaster (visually and harm to birds). As for extreme climate caused disaster that is totally theoretical. Climate models have failed to predict level temps. the last 10 years. And when un-biased weather data is consulted we've been in a period of record low extreme weather events. As for declining arctic ice and glaciers what's the big deal. This has been happening over and over for thousands of years. Nothing new hear except exciting and newsworthy for the news media and climate extremists.

  • Report this Comment On January 23, 2013, at 9:31 PM, FourthUsername wrote:

    To all the deniers. Lets look at this another way, using common sense. I live in Fl so I will use what I know. Here, we have no basements or foundations for our houses because of the high water table. So we poor a slab of concrete and then build the walls and then the roof.

    Think of the earth as the slab and the atmosphere as the roof. No one in their right mind would put the slab or their foundation on their ROOF and then, continue to do this again, year after year.

    The most up to date number I could find is that we humans take tens of BILLIONS of metric TONS of carbon out of the earth (foundation) per year and put 6.5 BILLION of it into the atmosphere/yr (roof).

    Think of it another way. Say the average weight of a human is 160 lbs. Say a decent blanket weighs 5lbs. If you want to keep warm, you put that 3% of your body weight blanket over you and it will keep you warm enough that sometimes you must remove it. That 6.5 BILLION MetricTons/Yr into the atmosphere acts exactly like the blanket does. But when you get to warm you remove the blanket. You DON'T keep adding more and more and more blankets every-time you say your too warm.

    I hope that this helps you with the "earth is too big" mindset. It seems the deniers will agree that the earth's climate has changed over the millions of years and we know how much carbon was in the atmosphere when the Gulf of Mexico was up to N. Dakota. But refuse to comprehend that WE HUMANS are unnaturally putting more carbon into the atmosphere than nature could ever achieve, yet think nothing will happen. Where is your common sense on this?

    Taking billions of tons from under your feet and putting over your head can't be safe.

  • Report this Comment On January 23, 2013, at 10:46 PM, FourthUsername wrote:

    Sorry about the "poor a slab" LOL. & "get to warm" . I was just so amazed and deeply depressed at the ignorance of my fellow Americans, that sheer fear and anxiety drove my writing.

    A comment (not here) by a CEO of one of the largest oil companies say's it all. "Yes we are changing the climate, so what, we'll just move our farmlands". Proves that just because you make 32 million a year, it doesn't make you very smart.

  • Report this Comment On January 24, 2013, at 1:59 PM, ideatremor wrote:

    It truly boggles the mind that deniers will believe the world's most prestigious science academies and agencies are all in on some sort of "green" conspiracy to misinform the public on climate change. However, a few scientists and think tanks schilling for the fossil fuel industry have the real truth. Are you guys that dense? Have your politics completely addled your minds on this issue? I guess so.

  • Report this Comment On January 24, 2013, at 3:37 PM, sabertoothtiger2 wrote:

    Travis, you are right about the science, and what we have seen lately is impacts occuring earlier than expected.

    It certainly is not too early for us to start thinking about how climate change affects our portfolios.

    Long-term, fossil fuel companies will have to morph into clean energy companies or be left behind. Personally, I don't invest in any of them and encourage others to consider divesting their holdings in companies that are largely based on fossil fuels.

    For solar, I have been pleasantly suprised by the performance of Solar City (SCTY) since I bought shares. I'm not counting on short-term gains but I think it's a good time to start adding to a position for the long term.

    Thanks for writing the column. I look forward to seeing more insights from you as the situation develops.

  • Report this Comment On January 25, 2013, at 1:04 PM, bigtex55 wrote:

    Solar is unreliable. Unless battery technology improves by leaps and bounds there is no way we can run the grid on solar alone. We need a reliable power source, e.g., natural gas.

  • Report this Comment On January 25, 2013, at 1:11 PM, linderje wrote:

    Such sophomoric sophistry on climate change! If you are considering investing in a green future stay away from solar, wind and bio. They are proven losers. You will note that a movement that started out to cure Global Cooling changed to Global Warming and changed, in the face of facts, to Climate Change and now wants to talk about Climate Disruption. What is next? Global Wierding? In fact, there has been no warming globally for 16 years. The 1.5 degree warming in the lower 48 (representing 1.6% of the global surface) since 1895 is insignificant. Antarctica, which holds 90% of the globe's ice has been growing by more than 25 gigitons per year for over a decade. Ocean levels have raised by 4 feet per century for 10,000 years and slowed to 8 inches in the last century It is slowing further. Oceans are cooling. Professor Moerner has produced 520 peer reviewed studies on sea levels himself. Severe weather events have declined globally for a century. The 50's had more droughts and tornados. The 40's more hurricanes. The 30's more heat. All of the funding for this scam has come from government agencies, not oil companies, and the 100 plus billion over the last 20 years has lined the pockets of the alarmists not skeptics. Oil companies have been reticent to get involved because of their attention to the concerns on public issues of their stockhoders. (A former CEO of a major utility spent a day in New Jersey with a small group of Nuns whose order held his company's stock and who were concerned about Global Warming. He gave this as an example of the reason he could not get involved.) Respecting the so called "consensus" let me point out the 32,000 scientists (9,000 Phd's) who have signed a petition disagreeing with such "consensus". Further know that consensus is for politicians. Scientists seek "truth." Galileo would understand. The entire notion that humans are changing 4.5 billion years of God's work is sheer vanity.

  • Report this Comment On January 25, 2013, at 2:05 PM, tylee100 wrote:

    Why are you ignoring facts that don't back up your hypothesis? There are glaciers in Alaska that are getting BIGGER every year. I know, I witnessed one myself. You don't seem to want to accept the fact that this is not a one way street. Global warming is not happening on a massive scale with no movement in the opposite direction some places toward cooling. Please deliniate a balanced view in the future. Look at all sides of the picture. There is no secret cabal of Exxon scientists plotting to dissuade the public.

  • Report this Comment On January 25, 2013, at 3:09 PM, parrinstrument wrote:

    What??!! Now Motley Fool can be put on the long list of liberal media? Perhaps it's time to time to cancel my subscription. We need grown ups in this country solving the real problems of our national decline, not more idiots contributing to it. I thought you guys were better than that? This article disgusts me.

  • Report this Comment On January 25, 2013, at 3:22 PM, nowackiz wrote:

    "We've already seen small increases in the ocean's level, but if both poles melted the ocean would rise an astonishing 200 feet, so the consequences are potentially huge".

    If i'm not mistaken, just about all of the polar ice is floating in the ocean, so the rise would be negligible since the volumn of the solid ice is relatively equal to the melted ice

  • Report this Comment On January 25, 2013, at 3:26 PM, panama4me wrote:

    I hope The Fool is not going "commie" on us and is actually being realistic. All I can say about global warming is that if it's happening, whatever we do will not be able to stop it.

    I would like to ask a question of someone. A few thousand to 10 thousand years ago we had an ice shield and glaciers right here in Southern Illinois. Did the cave men or Native Americans build too big of camp fires to make it all melt or was it just a cycle? Just sayin.....

  • Report this Comment On January 25, 2013, at 3:46 PM, Woodsmoke39 wrote:


    Your climate change assumptions/conclusions are either not thoroughly researched; or in the alternative you have been scammed to the nines!

    In depth research would have guided you to the revelation that the majority of North America's most reknowned climatologists believe that permanent global warming is bunk.

    You and your Motley Fool Associates universally preach against "timing the market". Yet here you are timing our planet's climatic temperature cycles using Motley Fool's letterhead as your platform!

    How disappointing! By giving out investment advice based on your "self-presumed" expertise for climate change, you have raised questions in my mind concerning the trustworthyness of Motley Fool's credibility going forward.

    Perhaps I'd best seek future investment advice from a climatologist who has taken has taken a crash course on investment analysis!

  • Report this Comment On January 25, 2013, at 6:55 PM, awitner wrote:

    Wow. So now Motley Fool has gone into the hoax of global warming....oops, I mean climate change because after years of having this rammed down our throats, it's not exactly happening is it? No global warming in the last 10 years. And then there's those inconvenient e-mails at the University of East Anglia where scientists were caught faking data. Yep this is sure settled science isn't it. Just like the coming ice age settled in 1978 by many of these same scientists. Motley Fool has now lost all credibility.

  • Report this Comment On January 25, 2013, at 7:42 PM, fradeycat wrote:

    I am a proud owner of the old energy sector and will remain so. I believed strongly in global warming several years ago before I started researching the subject. There are so many problems with the theory and the politics that I have come to the conclusion that people should question man-made global warming. After all, isn't that what science is? Intellectual integrity is compromised when anyone says that the science is settled. It isn't close to being settled. As a matter of fact, check out the petitions by "deniers" that were sent to the U.S. Congress. Thousands of scientists have come out against global warming theory many of whom are award winning scientists with compelling arguments against global warming. Check it out.

  • Report this Comment On January 26, 2013, at 12:21 AM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    On January 25, 2013, at 7:42 PM, fradeycat wrote:

    "Intellectual integrity is compromised when anyone says that the science is settled."



  • Report this Comment On January 26, 2013, at 10:27 AM, 407rotorhead wrote:

    While I have no doubt that climate change exists, I believe we as humans are arrogant to believe we have the power to change it. That being said, there is money in it. While I'm not sure this falls in the same line as alternative energy, water is going to be a major issue in the future.

  • Report this Comment On January 26, 2013, at 10:44 AM, 407rotorhead wrote:

    he outlook is not as rosy when one looks at the operation of an electric vehicle over an expected lifetime of 150,000 kilometers (93,205 miles). The greatest ecological impact is caused by the regular recharging of the battery, that is, the “fuel” of the e-car. Topping-up with electricity sourced from a mixture of atomic, coal-fired and hydroelectric power stations, as is usual in Europe, results in three times as much pollution as from the Li-ion battery alone. If the electricity is generated exclusively by coal-fired power stations, the ecobalance worsens by another 13 per cent. If, on the other hand, the power is purely hydroelectric, then this figure improves by no less than 40 per cent.

  • Report this Comment On January 26, 2013, at 7:15 PM, tacosquid wrote:


    You work for Mötley Fool - not the Sierra Club. Stick to writing about investing rather than scientific hypothesis!

  • Report this Comment On January 26, 2013, at 9:44 PM, jadic9 wrote:

    There is a term in the financial world, due diligence. It is the process which objectively determines the worth of a financial entity. Motley Fool blew that concept in publishing the recent "story" on climate change. The author completely neglected the reality of carbon dioxide and its critical function of enabling photo synthesis and thus the production of all plant life, a proven scientific fact not consensus science.

    No mention (of course!) was made of the doubts that major consensus scientists have of their own conclusions. The author receives a failing grade for not doing the requisite in depth research on such an important policy issue.


    And I now have serious reservations about the quality of the research? that Motley Fool does in promoting financial investments.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2013, at 8:25 AM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    On January 26, 2013, at 9:44 PM, jadic9 wrote:

    “a proven scientific fact not consensus science.”

    Excellent point.

    Aka Groupthink

    “Groupthink occurs when the pressure to conform within a group interferes with that group's analysis of a problem and causes poor group decision making. Individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking are lost in the pursuit of group cohesiveness, as are the advantages that can sometimes be obtained by making a decision as a group—bringing different sources of ideas, knowledge, and experience together to solve a problem”.


  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2013, at 6:13 PM, accountantsucker wrote:


    You appear to have touched a nerve here. I'd like to applaud you for your thoughtful analysis of climate change vis-a-vis investing. The level of intensity clearly shows me that the vast majority of commenters here are making investment decisions based on their religious (or political) beliefs.

    Ultimately, I don't really care whether anyone here "believes" in climate change any more than I care that they "believe" in evolution or quantum mechanics, or any other accepted and peer reviewed scientific theory that happens to clash with their ideological or religious predispositions.

    What I do find a little more interesting is that, as you mention in the piece, BerHa, Allstate, and Traveler's have all modeled for the anticipated impacts of climate change on their businesses.

    You never can tell what those crazy librul conspiracies those insurance companies are going to buy into!

    Its also interesting to me how the military (more librul crazies!) are modeling for future conflicts based on the scenarios of climate change.

    Going to go out on a limb here and suggest that maybe, just maybe, the conservative course here is that climate change is a plausible and realistic theory that CONSERVATIVES ought to prepare for, rather than reject (for political/religious reasons) a scientific theory that has overwhelming (although not universal) scientific support.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2013, at 9:50 PM, bobbyk1 wrote:

    Personally Im more concerned with QCOM earnings on the 30th.That said every investor should have a stake in alternative energy.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2013, at 10:59 PM, Itsgettingwarmer wrote:

    Thanks for your article Travis. You elicited a lot of comments from people who obviously disagree with you. I was astounded by many of their comments that are not based on information that anyone can access. There is no denying that our climate is getting warmer. There of course will be a continuing debate over the cause of the warming. How much is due to natural climate change and how much is due to the millions of pounds of carbon pollution we pump into the atmosphere every year? To everyone that doesn't believe in the scientific studies I would suggest you study basic geography and look at statistics and information on temperature trends and melting of polar ice and glaciers.

    If they still disagree with you then they should invest in low lying coastal real estate and coal. Everyone else should strongly consider the point of your article.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2013, at 12:46 AM, FredEco wrote:

    Apparently "Rattler15," NOTvuffet, and their fellow climate change deniers are not paying any attention to the data - which Travis and this Motley Fool article is accurately portraying.

    What does it take for these nutcakes to see "the handwriting on the wall." The world is changing. It may not be changing according to their philosophical presumptions, but this only reveals the shortcomings of their worldview. Thanks to Travis and the MF staff for presenting this important article.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2013, at 3:59 PM, sdej wrote:

    Anyone who believes that AGW is a death knell for the planet is sorely mistaken. It is, however, a very serious problem for a continuation of the world as we know it and casts doubt on the survival of humanity as we know it. Life will always exist in some form or another -- our humanity is not so guaranteed.

    For anyone who, like Holmes would say, "sees but doesn't observe" -- please consult your nearest scientific resource:

    Acknowledging man-made problems (like poverty, starvation, or AGW) does not mean you're guilty of doing something wrong -- it does mean, however, that you can be guilty of not doing something right. Time to be on the right side of history, folks.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2013, at 7:08 AM, SorrySkeptic wrote:

    I follow the Global Warming Debate closely. I tried investing in "Green" and Climate friendly investments (similar to the ones listed). I have lost a lot of money. I note from the news services that there have been some very big bankruptcies in the last year in "favoured" companies. Investing in companies because they are the flavour of the month is a very bad idea.

    My losses convinced me to research the science. Get down to the nitty gritty, most scientists do not believe in AGW, despite claims to the contrary. No wonder I lost so badly. This is a political issue. Investing in Climate Change is like investing in a political party like the Republicans or the Democrats. You can donate money to a political cause, but I would never look on it as an investment.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2013, at 12:12 PM, PenguinTrap wrote:

    I'm amused at the debate I see here.

    Bottom line: you can blame the 'media', 'liberals' (worse still, the 'liberal media'), a conspiracy to raise taxes, etc. I even understand these tendencies: Climate change is unwelcome news, particularly for those of us with kids and/or grand-kids.

    Just know this: If I 'believe' the media is lying when the say the moon is made of rock (because I happen to 'believe' it's made of green cheese), it doesn't make it any less true, nor make me any less wrong. The fact is the moon is made of rock, not from green cheese.

    The article makes good points about risk management and opportunity - over the long term. Invest according to your beliefs. Just realize the performance will ultimately be related to measurable facts that have a material impact on firms - not your beliefs about science, the media, politics or any other irrelevant information.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2013, at 5:44 AM, thidmark wrote:

    Such is the hubris of man, that he thinks he alters the forces of nature.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2013, at 7:30 PM, sdej wrote:


    "Such is the hubris of man, that he thinks he alters the forces of nature."

    Have you ever had a pregnant wife avoid seafood because of the mercury content?

    Perhaps you should reconsider whether man cannot alter his environment on a broad scale. Such is the hubris of man to think he *cannot* influence nature.

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