Where's the Real Cost of Climate Change?

Is climate change the "world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction"?

Feb 18, 2014 at 11:41AM

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says it's time to have a frank conversation about climate issues, putting the matter on the same footing as weapons of mass destruction. The real threat, however, may be in the form of recession fatigue.

"Climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction," Kerry said Sunday from Jakarta.

Extreme and frequent winter snow storms pummeled most of the eastern half of the United States this year, while Britons dealt with historic rains and heavy flooding. The Met Office, the United Kingdom's national weather service, said there's no definitive link between climate change and recent weather events, but remarked meteorological patterns are "consistent with what is expected from the fundamental physics of a warming world."

Last year, the World Meteorological Organization said the burning of fossil fuels was driving the warming effect on the climate. For the International Energy Agency, the embrace of renewable energy isn't warm enough. While some parts of the green equation, like solar energy, have advanced more than expected, the agency said we're missing the larger sectorwide picture.

"We must invest heavily in infrastructure that improves the system as a whole," IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said. "Together with industry and consumers, we can put the energy system on track to a sustainable and secure energy future."

Kerry, who took up the climate mantle in Indonesia, said moving ahead under the business-as-usual model poses a threat to the human population. Half of Jakarta could be underwater by the end of the century, he said, unless something drastic happens and fast.

"The fact is that climate change, if left unchecked, will wipe out many more communities from the face of the earth," he said. "And that is unacceptable under any circumstances -- but is even more unacceptable because we know what we can do and need to do in order to deal with this challenge."

Acknowledging the challenge and dealing with it, however, may be mutually exclusive. On Monday, the Australian government said it would review its renewable energy targets amid growing concerns about the high cost of greener energy. In the European Union, once at the forefront of the renewable energy debate, eastern member states have their own economic concerns, which may impede progress on new renewable benchmarks for 2030.

While the IEA said the cost of renewable energy is getting lower, that's not enough incentive for economies still coping with the Great Recession. It may be up to policymakers like Kerry to show that it's climate change itself, however, that has the "very hefty price tag."

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Written by Daniel J. Graeber at Oilprice.com.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

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That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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