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4.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Summary and Review, 11 Feb 2014
This review is from: Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming (Hardcover)
*A full executive summary of this book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com.

The main argument: That the earth's climate is warming, and we are the main cause of this phenomenon (through the emission of greenhouse gases, including especially carbon), is now beyond dispute to anyone with an objective mind and an appreciation of science.

The clearest and most obvious effects of global warming are the melting of glacial ice and the corresponding rise in sea levels. But the effects of a warming world do not end here, we now know. The models tell us that warming also means less rain and even drought and desertification in some areas; more rain in others, often in deluges; stronger storms, such as hurricanes and cyclones; and an acidifying ocean.

On a human scale, this means salinated and eroding coast lines; desiccated farmland and more wild fires in drier areas; increased flooding and soil erosion in suddenly wetter areas; more destructive and deadly storms; and threatened sea life.

With all these negative effects, you would think that the people, companies and governments of the world would be eager to step in and do everything we can to stem the rising tide of climate change (including especially cutting emissions). Instead, however, what we have seen is much talk and little action.

There are several reasons for this complacency. One of the leading ones is that the effects of climate change often seem somewhat removed from our daily lives. Indeed, even though we are now seeing the beginnings of many of the effects listed above, most of us glimpse at most a small fraction of these effects. And besides, it is difficult to attribute any one of them to global warming specifically. What's more, we like our way of life, and it's difficult to imagine changing it for something as abstract and often remote as global weather patterns.

In connection with this, many of us are wont to think that the best approach to climate change might simply be to adapt. We're an innovative species, after all, what's to stop us from innovating our way out of trouble? This idea is especially appealing to the innovators and entrepreneurs among us, for whom not only peace of mind, but profits await. Given that this is the case, it is no surprise that we are already beginning to see some very innovative business approaches to adapting to the new normal. Everything from extensive water desalination plants, to man-made floating land-masses, to storm-surge sea walls, to snow machines and indoor skiing resorts.

Continuing with our wishful train of thought, it might also occur to us that as we are innovating to adapt, we should also be able to innovate to help mitigate and even halt climate change without necessarily weaning ourselves off oil until it is more convenient to do so. Once again, there are profits to be made here, and once again, such innovations are already underway. Everything from the development of alternative forms of energy (including solar, wind, and other renewables), to ingenious ways to manipulate the weather and climate back to normal (known as geoengineering).

Beyond optimism (some might say denial), and the fact that there are big profits to be made from adapting to climate change, there is also one other factor to consider in our relative complacency when it comes to halting and reversing carbon emissions. That is that while many of the effects of climate change listed above are bad for many people, at least some are good for some people some of the time--at least in the short-term. For instance, while melting ice stands to swamp some parts of the world, it is also leaving large tracts of land in the arctic open for resource exploration and shipping routes. In addition, while shifting hydrology is leading to the loss of large tracts of farmland in drier areas, it is also often leading to richer agriculture in newly warmer, wetter areas. Also, while shrinking farmland and water resources is leading to food and water shortages, and rising prices, those in control of these precious resources are making a fortune.

As we can see, then, being complacent about cutting carbon emissions is not only pleasant for most of us, for some of us, it's even a windfall! And that brings us to the topic of the book: all the things that are now being done to profit off of climate change (which we have now been introduced to above).

First off, on the whole this book is very good. It is extremely well researched and very well written. Also, the author does well to make sense of our relative complacency regarding cutting emissions, and just what is being done to address climate change right now. My one and only objection to the book is that though the author claims he will be entirely neutral in the book, it becomes clear that he favors the carbon emissions cutting route to the adaptation route (all the while admitting to recently having bought a bigger car, and flying all over the world for the purposes of his book). And one does wonder whether in the end the author's political stance really does affect his supposedly objective reporting (though for the most part we don't get the impression that this is true). All in all, though, a very good and interesting book. A full executive summary of the book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a very entertaining climate change economics book, 15 May 2014
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This review is from: Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming (Hardcover)
this is part of our energy library. it's inherently popular science / economics but for that it's a great read. Funk is a talented story teller. For those who work in energy in new markets and around the world, this book will make you feel at home.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Astounding study of opportunism, 25 Jan 2014
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Denis Vukosav - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming (Hardcover)
“Windfall” by McKenzie Funk is a book is a very interesting premise – does question of the uncertain planet fate in relation to climate changes mean an excellent opportunity for profit?

The author made his story in a way that he investigated whether climate changes have positive consequences on the economy and for whom, resulting in an astounding study of opportunism. His work is not repeating many times accentuated scientific fact that the climate is changing irreversibly, doesn’t talk about political connections, and covering up the truth in order to support unhindered development of big businesses, but instead “Windfall” is more eco-thriller and thrilling adventure story.

Funk investigated various people that have made a plan to benefit from the situation through which our planet passes - first that convince everyone around they know what's going to happen, they have solutions to prevent a catastrophe, and such solutions are certainly not simple nor cheap, but if we are willing to finance their ideas they are ready to give them generously to humanity; others who are risking far more using their own money, investing their capital in projects and ideas that now seem futuristic and perhaps a bit silly, but if they’ll be right in some time that will make them fabulously rich.

The author spent more than six years conducting his research, the result being truly impressive and stories amazing – reader will learn about future monumental farms in Siberia, why Netherlands would love sea level to rise, and other interesting stories that are happening all around the world from Wall Street to Sudan.

So if you want to read a bit different book on climate change, except that you will be well entertained and informed “Windfall” by McKenzie Funk will motivate you to think about whether you are able to earn on what is already starting to happen all around us.
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Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming
Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming by McKenzie Funk (Hardcover - 18 Mar 2014)
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