Politics Won't Fix Climate Change -- Money Will

A recent report from the White House shows that climate change may be worse than we had feared and some of the biggest impacts are already too far along to be stopped. Suddenly, the climate debate is a hot issue again and there's little consensus on what to do next.

As usual, any report on climate change will become a political football with some saying it's a reason for action and others questioning the science altogether.

What I've learned about watching the political theater surrounding climate change and investing in the companies who could help it is that there's only one way to make a significant impact against climate change.

The only way to end this debate and do less harm to the environment is to make it economically attractive to lessen our collective impact on the environment. Whether it's creating energy, reducing chemical usage, or using energy more efficiency, the climate debate will be answered by the almighty dollar. And on that front there may be more progress than you realize. 

Solar power plants like this one may play a role in alleviating climate change, but only if they're producing energy for less than fossil fuels can. Source: First Solar 

Fossil fuel is already being priced out
Did you know that long-term oil consumption in both the U.S. and Europe is actually falling? It's true and it really has nothing to do with wanting to use less energy and everything to do with needing to spend less on energy.

The chart below shows just how fast oil, gasoline, and natural gas prices have risen over the past two decades in the U.S., demonstrating a big increase in all but natural gas costs. But even natural gas prices have risen 24%, and I think that will continue as the U.S. begins exporting natural gas and a more global market develops.

WTI Crude Oil Spot Price Chart

WTI Crude Oil Spot Price data by YCharts

On the electricity generation side, we're already seeing coal being phased out in the U.S., in large part because it's more economical to build natural gas plants rather than coal plants. 

When it comes to energy, fossil fuel costs are going up and renewable energy costs are going down. That means the economics of energy will drive a cleaner energy future. 

The Tesla Model S may be an electric car, but it's also one of the highest performance vehicles on the market.

Renewable energy is more developed than you think
While politicians and environmentalists have been squabbling over what to do about climate change, companies have been at work developing the technology that will attack the heart of the problem. But they're being driven by the economic and performance advantages their products provide rather than just the environmental ones.

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) is the poster child of the fast changing energy market, charging on the scene in just the last few years and shaking up the auto market. But it isn't selling an electric vehicle for the environmental benefits, it's promoting the outstanding performance and cost saving. The Tesla Motors website estimates that a consumer driving 15,000 miles per year could save $261 per month by owning a Model S instead of a 20 mpg car. Even with a hefty price tag that can reach over $100,000 that catches the eye of car buyers. 

The solar market may do even more to upset the balance of power in energy. In the chart below, you can see that solar system costs in the U.S. have fallen between 34% and 59% in the past four years depending on what size system you're building. If we look back two decades, like we did with oil and gas, costs are down 90% or more.

Source: GTM Research and Solar Energy Industries Association

What's recently changed about solar is that it's cost competitive with the grid and that's now how it's being sold to consumers. SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY  ) is leading the charge in residential solar, offering consumers lower costs by putting solar panels on their roofs for $0 down and saving them money on their electricity costs. As costs have fallen, new financing programs have opened up like leases and loans that make solar accessible for millions of Americans. SolarCity is planning to install 1 million solar systems itself by 2018, an incredible feat that's driven by economics, not environmental concerns.

SolarCity workers installing one of a planned million rooftop systems by 2018. Source: SolarCity

SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR  ) takes a slightly different approach than SolarCity and builds both solar panels and solar systems. Like SolarCity it's offering solar leases and loans that make residential and commercial projects economically viable, but it's also building huge solar plants that are now competitive with the grid. The best example of that is the 70 MW merchant solar project in Chile that will be sold into the competitive grid market. Coincidentally, big oil is taking notice of this project because oil giant Total is not only the majority owner of SunPower, it's a part owner in the Chile project.

The reason these renewable energy companies are succeeding isn't that tree huggers or environmental regulations are driving demand, it's because they make great products and they're economically viable. Not everyone sees the Tesla Model S as an alternative to a conventional vehicle but enough do that the business is growing and costs are falling. Similarly, it doesn't make sense economically to go solar in many parts of the country but where costs are falling below grid parity there's a flood of demand. As these trends continue the economics of cleaner, more sustainable energy businesses will win out.

Companies are concerned about climate change
Whether you believe in climate change or its impact, you should know that corporate America is starting to take the risk very seriously. And it's not just energy companies who see it as a risk.

Starbucks has made climate change a priority, not only from an energy and conservation side, but from a sourcing perspective. Coffee is grown in very specific and environmentally sensitive regions of the world and according to Starbucks, "[C]offee farmers are reporting shifts in rainfall and harvest patterns." If the climate changes or weather events become stronger, there could be a huge impact on Starbucks' business.

Insurance companies are also starting to notice the impact of climate change, primarily because it impacts the bottom line when they have to pay damages of hurricanes, floods, and fires. Just this week, Lloyd's of London , the oldest and biggest insurance market in the world, called on insurers to include climate risk in their models. States like California , who may be the state at most risk of climate change, are starting to ask insurers for climate risk disclosures in an effort to understand if they're preparing and adjusting risk for climate change.

Big oil is starting to take notice as well. ExxonMobil released its first climate risk assessment  this year and Chevron is "working internationally  and at the U.S. federal and state levels to contribute to climate change policy discussions." As I mentioned above, Total may have done the most by buying a majority stake in SunPower. Big oil isn't going to lead the charge against climate change, but acknowledging that it's a risk to their business long term is a big step.

Whether a company is at risk of changing climate patterns, rising sea levels, environmental regulation, or higher insurance costs corporate America is starting to look at how they'll be affected by climate change. At the very least, it's worth considering how companies fit into the climate change discussion and what they're doing to ensure they have sustainable businesses if dire predictions of rising sea levels and increased catastrophes do come true.

China is the wild card
Talking about the impact energy usage or corporate America has on climate change is nice, but the elephant in the room is still China. As a recent report by the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment recently acknowledged, without changes in China these discussions are largely moot.

Cities filled with pollution may have a bigger impact on China's energy future than international pressure to reduce carbon emissions. Image source: Wikimedia Commons 

China is still fueling its expansion by building coal plants that are dirtier than would be allowed in the U.S. and a growing middle class means more cars on the road. Without changes to China's energy policy, the country could increase pollution so much that it would overshadow efforts to reduce pollution in other parts of the world.

But keep in mind that China is also a leader in renewable energy. The country installed 12 GW of solar  last year, the most by any country ever, and plans to install at least  35 GW by 2015. It also installed nearly half of the world's wind  turbines last year, or 16.1 GW, and plans to have 100 GW of wind capacity  by 2015.

Rapid growth in demand also requires fossil fuel plants but China is both the potential problem and potentially the leader when it comes to the future of climate change.

What to do about climate change
Whether you believe in climate change or not, it's impossible to deny that companies and governments are beginning to look at it as a risk to long-term sustainability. Whether you're investing in energy, insurance, or coffee the risk of climate change can have an impact on your business and long-term profits.

The truth of the matter is that nothing is going to change until either the science is 100% proven -- and it's too late -- or the economics are strong enough to turn to renewable energy, sustainable farming, and other cleaner, more sustainable business practices. No report on climate change or image of melting ice caps can make a wholesale change in the way consumers or companies look at how they do business. But finding a cleaner energy source or more efficient car that's also cheaper to use will make all the difference in the world.

The good news is that "going green" is becoming the right thing to do economically. At the end of the day, that's the only way there will be progress on climate change. I, for one, hope the trend continues.

Ride the domestic energy wave and falling energy imports
Energy used to be a huge import of the United States but increases in wind, solar, oil, and gas production has flipped that dynamic on its head and the country could be energy independent by 2020. The good news is that the government wants you to get in on the action and The Motley Fool is offering a look at three energy companies using a small IRS "loophole" to help line investor pockets. Learn this strategy, and the energy companies taking advantage, in our special report "The IRS Is Daring You To Make This Energy Investment." Don't miss out on this timely opportunity; click here to access your report -- it's absolutely free. 


Read/Post Comments (29) | Recommend This Article (15)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On May 16, 2014, at 3:19 PM, ronwiserinvestor wrote:

    "offering consumers lower costs by putting solar panels on their roofs for $0 down" There is no comparison to the much lower costs offered by the purchase of a solar system when compared to the much higher cost of leasing. Leases a PPAs will soon be supplanted by $0 down solar loans with tax deductible interest coupled with much lower purchase pricing.

  • Report this Comment On May 16, 2014, at 3:46 PM, sybonem wrote:

    The electricity that makes the Tesla such an attractive alternative still depends on coal. The ice in Antarctica is flourishing, which is why it took several rescue vessels to save the environmentalists stuck in the ice. Oil is with us for the foreseeable future. The Keystone Pipeline will create a massive amount of good jobs with no discernible effect on the environment. Let's do everything to produce affordable energy, but to make believe that fossil fuels will go the way of big box retailers and landlines is unrealistic.

  • Report this Comment On May 16, 2014, at 4:57 PM, djplong wrote:

    Ummm.. "depends on coal"? Not so much. Not too many years ago, we got 60% of our electricity from coal. In 2012 it was 38% and went to 37% last year. The ice in Antarctica is NOT flourishing as we may already be past the point of preventing the West Antarctic ice sheet from melting.

  • Report this Comment On May 16, 2014, at 11:36 PM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2014/05/15/someo...

    5/15/14

    Someone Tell the Record Polar Ice Cap It Should Be Melting

    "The Southern Hemisphere polar ice cap for the month of April 2014 surpassed its greatest April extent in recorded history. The new record extends a long-term expansion of the Antarctic ice sheet that defies alarmist claims that global warming is or should be melting the polar ice caps.

    Ironically, the record Antarctic ice extent occurred as global warming alarmists released a paper claiming recent global warming has now made it inevitable that Antarctica will lose its ice cap nearly 1,000 years from now. The establishment media has given the alarmist paper extensive and uncritical press coverage, even though objective scientists have pointed out glaring flaws in the paper. For example, objective scientists question why recent warming has put the Antarctic ice sheet past a tipping point when the ice sheet has survived many warmer periods in the past.

    Satellite instruments measuring the precise extent of the Southern Hemisphere polar ice cap report the polar ice cap has been steadily growing for decades. Moreover, the combined extent of the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere polar ice caps have been above the long-term average almost uniformly since 2012."

    Travis,

    You really need to do some of your own research. You sound like a "sheep".

    Ba Ba

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2014, at 12:47 AM, ajner wrote:

    Skypilot,

    Did you even bother to check the source of your link? It seems you so badly want to hear how climate change isn't real, that you hang your hat on the argument of anyone who agrees with you. If the author were a scientist, or a climatologist, he might be worth listening to, but a lawyer who took some climate classes in college? Come on. Unfortunately for him, he is a bad lawyer as he provides no evidence to prove his case, other than a few charts that oversimplify the issue. Show us a peer-reviewed study published in a scientific journal and we'll consider it. Until then, it's a waste of time trying to prove wrong someone who won't even bother to prove himself right.

    -AJner

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2014, at 7:33 AM, GeraldDWilhite wrote:

    Come on, AJner! Dissing the author and his employer is a crude inappropriate ad hominim smear that is beneath you, and a danger to all of us.

    Skepticism is the hammer of scientific progress. Consensus science cobbles together consensus statements that douse all remaining embers of fire in the belly. .

    .

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2014, at 1:39 PM, tigerade wrote:

    More about SkyPilot's "source" of Heartland Institute:

    The Heartland Institute, according to the Institute's web site, is a nonprofit "think tank" that questions the reality and import of climate change, second-hand smoke health hazards, and a host of other issues that might seem to require government regulation. A July 2011 Nature editorial points out the group's lack of credibility:

    "Despite criticizing climate scientists for being overconfident about their data, models and theories, the Heartland Institute proclaims a conspicuous confidence in single studies and grand interpretations....makes many bold assertions that are often questionable or misleading.... Many climate sceptics seem to review scientific data and studies not as scientists but as attorneys, magnifying doubts and treating incomplete explanations as falsehoods rather than signs of progress towards the truth. ... The Heartland Institute and its ilk are not trying to build a theory of anything. They have set the bar much lower, and are happy muddying the waters."[1]

    An anonymous donor called "Heartland Insider" released documents in February 2012 of the Heartland Institute's budget, fundraising plan, and Climate Strategy for 2012.

    The 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy states that the Institute got $200,000 in 2011 from the Charles G. Koch Foundation, and nearly a million from an anonymous donor. Goals of the organization included:

    working with David E. Wojick on "providing [K-12 school] curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain - two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science";

    "sponsor[ing] the NIPCC [Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change] to undermine the official United Nation's IPCC [International Panel on Climate Change] reports" including paying "a team of writers $388,000 in 2011 to work on a series of editions of Climate Change Reconsidered"; and

    funding climate change deniers Craig Idso ($11,600 per month), Fred Singer ($5,000 a month), James Taylor who has written a lot about Climategate through his Forbes blog, and Anthony Watts ($90,000 for 2012) to challenge "warmist science essays that counter our own," including funding "external networks (such as WUWT [Watts Up With That?] and other groups capable of rapidly mobilizing responses to new scientific findings, news stories, or unfavorable blog posts)."[21]

    The Institute later confirmed the authenticity of some of the released documents, but maintained in a Feb. 15, 2012 press release that the Climate Strategy was "a forgery apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute."[22]

    Foundation funders

    Media Transparency lists Heartland as having received grants from a range of foundations between 1986 and 2009. Of these foundations, by far the largest donor has been the foundation of Chicago industrialist Barre Seid[44], maker of Tripp Lite surge protectors.

    Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation $1,037,977

    Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $648,000

    Exxon Mobil $531,500

    Walton Family Foundation $400,000

    Sarah Scaife Foundation $325,000

    Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust $190,500

    Jaquelin Hume Foundation $166,000

    Rodney Fund $135,000

    JM Foundation $82,000

    Castle Rock Foundation $70,000

    Roe Foundation $41,500

    John M. Olin Foundation $40,000

    Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $40,000

    Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $37,578

    Armstrong Foundation $30,000

    Hickory Foundation $13,000

    Carthage Foundation $10,000

    Exxon funding

    According to spokesman Jim Lakely, Heartland received $736,500 from Exxon Mobil between 1998 and 2006.[45]

    Greenpeace's ExxonSecrets website lists some of these transactions.[46] (As mentioned above, Heartland insists that Exxon has not contributed to the group since 2006.)[47]

    Exxon contributions include:

    $30,000 in 1998;

    $115,000 in 2000;

    $90,000 in 2001;

    $15,000 in 2002;

    $85,000 for General Operating Support and $7,500 for their 19th Anniversary Benefit Dinner in 2003;

    $85,000 for General Operating Support and $15,000 for Climate Change Efforts in 2004; and

    $119,000 in 2005; and

    $115,000 in 2006.

  • Report this Comment On May 18, 2014, at 7:51 AM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    ajner,

    Nice try with the distraction.

    The question here is has the Antarctic ice sheet expanded, or not?

    It has.

    Possibly, you are not aware of this because there are not any trees there to hug?

  • Report this Comment On May 18, 2014, at 3:48 PM, yoshii wrote:

    Antarctic "collapse" exactly the same story as in 1922. It's still there and long-term weather is still largely not understood. Once science becomes politics, all bets are off.

  • Report this Comment On May 19, 2014, at 10:29 AM, damilkman wrote:

    Greetings. The problem with the Global Warming debate is that Global Warming is a cover for another group to push an agenda. Using the Guns Germs and Steel method of using a case example that does not have emotional baggage I will prove the point.

    Let us look at two other movements of controversy. On the far right we have Creationism and on the far left the Vietnam Conflict. In both cases facts were distorted to push a greater first order agenda. Creationist fear the concept that humanity is the most important thing to God and the removal of a concept that God is in their image and tactically intervenes in their world. Does it matter if life evolves slowly or via the the snap of God's finger? Since God is outside of time if what we observe takes 13 billions years or 4 thousand years who are we to say what is arbitrary to him. All that science is, is an attempt to model the past in an attempt to explain it so that we can attempt to model the future. We do not throw a rock up in the air and say it is God's will that it comes back to the Earth. We observe and build theories to describe what we observe. Science does not comment on why. It is only theories to describe. Yet Creationist have distorted a specific theory not because they hate it, but because of what they view as troubling philosophic issues.

    The Vietnam conflict is another good example. For those who know SE Asian history the Vietnamese were always the most aggressive and if left to their own devices would have dominated all of what we view as present day Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Unfortunately for them bigger fish came along. One of the side affects of the 20th century was the rise of socialist movements. A manifestation of these movements was the trivializing of humanity. This is how Stalin, Mao, and yes even Hitler justified the slaughter of not just millions but tens of millions. US involvement in SE Asia really picked up as the specter of the the Great Leap Forward and the starvation of tens of millions had just occurred. To the policy makers Communism truly was evil. Seems pretty pragmatic to try to stop a movement that is capable of slaughtering and enslaving entire populations from taking over.

    Yet despite the depraved actions of these tyrants they always attract attracted a segment of society who found capitalist society evil. The mass social movements represented by first Stalin and Hitler attracted them because it represented a utopian alternative to all that they found wanting. So whether it was Stalin, Hitler, Mao, or Ho Chi Minh, they would find their alternative to the evils of their present society superior. Of course quoting Song Garden the Grass is always Greener where the Dogs are pooping. Only when it is too late do the lovers of these utopian movements slink into the shadows after the millions have slaughtered. Yet every generation a new generation of despots take the stage. Modern communication and international self governance makes mass slaughter more difficult. But despite their more diabolical intent, those who find our society wanting still put despots on a pedestal because of their utopian rhetoric.

    So now that I have given case studies of the far right and left the question to ask what is the real agenda of the Global Warming Movement. What do they have to gain by attempting to convince the world the Earth is about to overheat into Waterworld? I leave that as an exercise to the reader to figure out.

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2014, at 2:47 PM, dreamimmigrant wrote:

    Pretty obvious by now that we shouldn't take these alarmist driven investment advice seriously.... trusting the white house? ha. yeah... the ice in the antartic are at record highs and expanding...already forgot the global warming fools who went to antartic to prove that there was catastrophic impact from global warming and got stuck? So much so that even a rescue ship got stuck? Yeah, we saw all of them walk on all that ice.

    You guys will be barking the same tree for a few more years and people will then get fed up of the alarmism. We haven't forgotten the alarmist predictions of global warming pseudo scientists -

    already forgot the 100 million climate refugees and disappearing islands predicted in 2005 that should be have happened in 2010? Yes, ofcourse- the IPPC took that report off their website but weren't smart enough to know about google cache. News Flash: IT'S 2014! Fools!

    Or the 2007 nobel prize winning report from the IPPC predicting that himalayan glaciers will completely disappear by 2035 only later to have redacted that stating it was an error and the author was under political pressure (after getting that phony prize of course)

    Or phony climate pseudo scientist James Hansen predicting in 2009 that if Obama does nothing about global warming, the earth is doomed in 2013. News Flash: IT'S 2014!

    Or the phony hockey stick graph used by Al Whore to scare some of you anti-science alarmists.

    Or the Pseudo global warming science scare from 2000 and 2001 that the England would never see snow again. News Flash: IT'S 2014! And they've had plenty of snow since then.

    So sorry tree huggers, this alarmist hoax has run it's course. People can see the nonsense when you bame any problem on the weather (yes, weather) and then when the weather doesn't go as you predict or expect, your excuse is that "no one event can be used to disapprove climate change". Gimme a break. Tornado? Global warming... storm? global warming? Polar vortex (or arctic freeze as it was called back then)? global warming. Very cold? Global warming. Very hot? Global warming. No change in temperature for 16 years? global warming.

    And you wonder why more and more people don't take this nonsense seriously.

    Here is a tip: the planet will be fine with or without humans. The more you resort to alarmism, the more people will take you as a joke as polls have been showing. If you want to be taken seriously, do some real science instead of trying to scare people into doing what you want them to do with pseudo science, alarmism and opinion polls.

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2014, at 3:19 PM, gr8fool wrote:

    This article states much as fact which is indeed opinion. Sentences starting with "The truth is" followed by a binary choice prepare one for much throat clearing nonsense.

    Foolish article indeed.

    The invisible hand, in the event Mr Market were deployed in an unfettered manner, would provide enormous savings and would benefit those most in need. Govt involvement has spiked pricing.

    Fossil fuels are abundant. Now moreso than ever.

    Please Fool, no more of this.

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2014, at 3:44 PM, SyDVooh wrote:

    Climatologists have been predicting all sorts of terrible changes in Earth's climate for over 60 years now. The only consistency in their predictions so far, are that they have been wrong every time!

    Computer models are totally unreliable, and always shown later to be horrible examples of GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out).

    Who knows what the weather will be in 50 or 100 years, it's hard enough to predict next week, or a month from now. That being said, I'll go out on a limb here, and predict that the Earth's future weather will be partly cloudy. Now you know.

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2014, at 3:56 PM, TMFBlacknGold wrote:

    Travis,

    Great article and I agree!

    "The truth of the matter is that nothing is going to change until either the science is 100% proven -- and it's too late -- ..."

    I'd say 97% of scientists agreeing is plenty good enough, eh? ;) Besides, it's about mitigating risk, not eliminating it. We shouldn't need 100% -- and companies seem to be working on that understanding anyway.

    Again, great stuff.

    Maxxwell

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2014, at 4:32 PM, TMFLomax wrote:

    Yes, this is such a great article. Agreed with Maxxwell on his comments. And I just wanted to say, I am also among the people who keeps getting kinda stuck on that 97% number. ;) Yeah that is definitely plenty good enough!

    Alyce

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2014, at 4:58 PM, eddietheinvestor wrote:

    I disagree with the argument that the Heartland.org article can't be trusted because the website has published other such articles and thus has an agenda. I would like to point out that the Motley Fool has published article after article in support of the global warming argument. Following such logic, the Motley Fool articles by Alyce Lomax and Travius Hoium cannot be trusted because the Fool also has an agenda.

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2014, at 5:38 PM, atkinskd wrote:

    Follow the money - imposing policy and gaining from specialized development of otherwise ignored products are a host myriad of investors like ourselves. From Main St - Wall St and our Representation.

    The Ice shelf is a 3 Dimensional issue. While plots over time show it extending the thickness is just as important. Anyone whose walked out on a frozen lake of questionable thickness and heard the cracking and popping or fallen through can atest to this critical criteria. So rather than argue area covered we'll need to evaluate Volume of Ice occupied.

    Back to the original topic - energy: Conundrum by David Owen is an insightful look at energy and efficiency. We are the fish that grow into our tank space.

    The cleanest densest energy known thus far is LFTR. The UAE is utilizing it as we speak, as is China. Yes it's Nuclear - but it can't melt down. Problem is it replaces things like coal/NG/Oil at a ratio of ~300,000:1. Lots of jobs to replace at the very least. The waste is 1/10 of current Nuclear, can be stored in metal containers instead of lead-lined-concrete casks that radioactively saturate and have to be buried for 300,000 years, AND the process can recycle-reuse the americium and plutonium etc. buried in NM from the cold war. The problem is also deposing the current energy Czars in oil,gas, NG etc.

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2014, at 5:50 PM, yoshii wrote:

    That the earth's climate changes is axiomatic. That we can somehow control it to a condition we deem "good" is idiotic. This is not to say we shouldn't stop burning things to derive energy. I'm interested in some honesty rather than hysteria over a system with "far too many dials" that seems to behave opposite of supposed experts predictions. Last year, for instance, we were told to expect a "very active hurricane season followed by a warm winter". Not one hurricane followed by a brutal winter. I disagree that worldwide communism is the answer to our perceived troubles. To achieve good environment, a good economy must exist. Stop the burning and pollution/habitat destruction. Hysteria and fear-mongering will not lead to a lasting solution.

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2014, at 6:17 PM, awallejr wrote:

    How do we 'fix" climate change? Unless you are God or an Xman there is nothing to fix. I have my pet peeves. First one was the MISUSE of the term "global warming." It is simply a FACT that mankind did NOT cause global warming. We were in CAVES when it happened.

    Maybe enough readers read my rants because at least they stopped debating global warming and now discuss dealing with climate change. Bingo. That is the issue, adapting to inevitable climate change. But there is no urgency there as the environmentalists try to argue. It is, as the author ultimately discussed with a misleading headline, all about pollution control, NOT climate control.

    The difference between shouting pollution or climate armeggedon Is as from the movie JAWS. If someone shouts barracuda people say what what? If someone shouts shark then you have a panic on your hands.

    That picture of China is horrible. But the Chinese know it and are making the sacrifice of health to pushing its economy. Eventually they intend on dealing with it. BUt not now.

    Cimate change is not a "belief." Climate change will ALWAYS continue. But stop using climate change as the same as pollution. Two DIFFERENT topics.

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2014, at 6:44 PM, sheldonross wrote:
  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2014, at 7:46 PM, JeanDavid wrote:

    My fear is that by the time the short-term economics are finally sufficient to change the ecological behavior of the ruling class of the human race, it will be far too late to do anything about it. It is already too late to avoid some very serious problems. Even if it is poor economics to change our carbon burning habits, it is absolutely necessary to do it or we will not have a human-inhabitable planet on which to live. What would the economics matter then?

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2014, at 11:29 PM, scubadver wrote:

    I fail to see whether or not climate change is actually happening vs. whether or not we should try to be environmentally more efficient, especially if it is economically viable.

    With the progress in solar technology and manufacturing recently, it is rapidly becoming economically viable source of power, even on a home basis. Granted this depends on the area in which it is to be installed, the less direct sunlight received, the less that can be turned into electricity.

    I'm currently living in China, and the pollution is a massive concern. No one here cares about global "warming" per se, but people do care that the air is chewy.

    Politicizing this issue benefits no-one, while economizing the issue may have wonderful benefits for everyone.

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2014, at 11:39 PM, BillFromNY wrote:

    The controversy over global warming is already over. The American people have a short attention span. The global warming people had the full attention of the public for a period. New scientific studies were funded. New departments in government and corporate bureaucracies were funded and staffed. And Americans waited with some skepticism to see some dire consequences if global warming. There were none. Nothing except film of icebergs breaking off glaciers accompanied by speculation of future consequences of global warming that would occur after the current generations of inhabitants had passed on.

    Contrast that with terrorism. A dozen years after the WTC/Pentagon catastrophism. Americans were killed on the streets of Boston by terrorists. So terrorism is not an issue that will be going away.

    Motley Fool has an obligation to publish an article against global warming, since they are always telling us how much they are in favor of publishing opposing views. The 97 percent -- they thought that would be taken seriously? Who would believe that 97% of scientists would agree on anything?

    While I await your anti-warming article, here is one of many that have been published elsewhere.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/05/30/global-wa...

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2014, at 11:43 PM, BillFromNY wrote:

    WTC/Pentagon catastrophes. For a minute I thought I had created a great new word.

  • Report this Comment On May 22, 2014, at 8:49 AM, jwactowski wrote:

    Climate Change - Shame on you, I thought you guys had some intelligence.

    Climates change naturally all by themselves. In fact, that is the reason the Roman empire fell. - Or was it because they didn't change their light bulbs?

    Fact; 99% of all climate change is the result of three natural things in this order; 1. solar activity. 2. volcanic activity. 3. Changes in ocean currents. There is a fourth wild card here: big stuff from outer space. The dinosaurs found that out.

    We humans are so arrogant, we believe we can change nature, and some misinformed fools (oh, fools) actually believe it. Can you say cult and poor education?

  • Report this Comment On May 22, 2014, at 9:32 AM, RodgerKing wrote:

    I cannot believe we don't know if the Antarctica ice is receding or growing. Wikipedia says:

    In contrast to the melting of the Arctic sea ice, sea ice around Antarctica has expanded in recent years. The reasons for this are not fully understood, but suggestions include the climatic effects on ocean and atmospheric circulation of the ozone hole, and/or cooler ocean surface temperatures as the warming deep waters melt the ice shelves.

    When politics is involved, science goes out the window.

  • Report this Comment On May 22, 2014, at 10:33 AM, RickRickert4MVP wrote:

    I bet Travis is getting kickbacks from environmental agencies to write this propoganda.

    Disclaimer: I'm long SPWR

  • Report this Comment On May 22, 2014, at 12:20 PM, awallejr wrote:

    The only person that made any sense here (aside from me ;p) is jwactowski.

  • Report this Comment On May 22, 2014, at 1:45 PM, dreamimmigrant wrote:

    lol... notice that the some of the motely foolish bloggers felt sympathy for Travis and chimed in with a token "great article! I agree!" after 97% of the respondants didn't tow the alarmist line.

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