The Investor’s Climate Change Conundrum: Is It Worth Watching Your Hamptons Beach House Sink Beneath the Waves Just to Make a Few Bucks from Carbon Emitters?

Dec 13th, 2011 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, Infrastructure, Today's Post | By:
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We recently attended a talk by Dr. Keith Crane of the Rand Corporation concerning the challenges, opportunities and costs of renewable energy, through the courteous invitation of Ziad Abdelnour, head of the Financial Policy Council.

Dr. Crane began his comments by noting that renewables currently begin to make sense only if America’s policy goal is the reduction of carbon emissions.  Given the acknowledged need for emission reduction and the current available technology, improvements in non-renewable plant efficiency are likely the optimal means to deploy additional capital at present.  But it’s a ticklish problem when you consider that, excluding environmental costs, coal-fired power costs about one third of typical renewable energy costs.

He pointed out that mankind has known for over 100 years that an increased level of carbon in the atmosphere leads to an increase in the temperature on Earth.  The use of coal accounts for roughly 80% of all carbon emissions associated with electricity generation here.


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Author Bio:
Doug Friedenberg has a knack for taking esoteric financial topics and rendering them merely obscure. He is principal of, which arranges asset-based finance for small and mid-sized businesses.

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  1. There is a lot more to the American resistance to climate change legislation than just a bunch of flat-earth morons with their heads in the sand. The problem is people like me. I have an advanced degree in atmospheric science and although I agree that the earth is warming and humans are a primary driver, I don’t believe climate change is much of a problem. It’s my opinion that virtually every aspect of climate change has been greatly exaggerated. I speak from a position of science, not politics. I reserve the right to change my mind as our knowledge grows, but so far, I remain completely unconvinced of climate disaster from fossil fuel use.

    Americans are skeptical of climate doomsday and rightly so. There are plenty of scientists like me who encourage this skepticism. Skepticism is healthy in science. Don’t believe those who claim “the science is settled”.

  2. […] fluctuations. The Military Departments have invested in noncarbon power sources such as solar, Wind, geothermal, and biomass energy at domestic installations and in vehicles powered by alternative […]

  3. A recent study by Dan Kahan et al. suggests that skepticism about global warming tends to increase (not decrease) with scientific literacy. “Flat-earth morons” go along with what they’re told is the consensus.

    The increase is only a slight one, and the more marked effect of science education is polarization. Those on the right (“hierarchical individualists” as Kahan et al. say) grow markedly more skeptical of AGW as they become better informed, and those on the left (“egalitarian communitarians”) grow more sure it is underway and more concerned about its consequences as they become better informed.

    No word about the reactions of egalitarian individualists.

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