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A fascinating investigation into how people around the globe are cashing in on a warming world: McKenzie Funk has spent the last six years reporting around the world on how we are preparing for a warmer planet. Funk shows us that the best way to understand the catastrophe of global warming is to see it through the eyes of those who see it most clearly—as a market opportunit A fascinating investigation into how people around the globe are cashing in on a warming world: McKenzie Funk has spent the last six years reporting around the world on how we are preparing for a warmer planet. Funk shows us that the best way to understand the catastrophe of global warming is to see it through the eyes of those who see it most clearly—as a market opportunity. Global warming’s physical impacts can be separated into three broad categories: melt, drought, and deluge. Funk travels to two dozen countries to profile entrepreneurial people who see in each of these forces a potential windfall. The melt is a boon for newly arable, mineral-rich regions of the Arctic, such as Greenland—and for the surprising kings of the manmade snow trade, the Israelis. The process of desalination, vital to Israel’s survival, can produce a snowlike by-product that alpine countries use to prolong their ski season. Drought creates opportunities for private firefighters working for insurance companies in California as well as for fund managers backing south Sudanese warlords who control local farmland. As droughts raise food prices globally, there is no more precious asset. The deluge—the rising seas, surging rivers, and superstorms that will threaten island nations and coastal cities—has been our most distant concern, but after Hurricane Sandy and failure after failure to cut global carbon emissions, it is not so distant. For Dutch architects designing floating cities and American scientists patenting hurricane defenses, the race is on. For low-lying countries like Bangladesh, the coming deluge presents an existential threat. Funk visits the front lines of the melt, the drought, and the deluge to make a human accounting of the booming business of global warming. By letting climate change continue unchecked, we are choosing to adapt to a warming world. Containing the resulting surge will be big business; some will benefit, but much of the planet will suffer. McKenzie Funk has investigated both sides, and what he has found will shock us all. To understand how the world is preparing to warm, Windfall follows the money.


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A fascinating investigation into how people around the globe are cashing in on a warming world: McKenzie Funk has spent the last six years reporting around the world on how we are preparing for a warmer planet. Funk shows us that the best way to understand the catastrophe of global warming is to see it through the eyes of those who see it most clearly—as a market opportunit A fascinating investigation into how people around the globe are cashing in on a warming world: McKenzie Funk has spent the last six years reporting around the world on how we are preparing for a warmer planet. Funk shows us that the best way to understand the catastrophe of global warming is to see it through the eyes of those who see it most clearly—as a market opportunity. Global warming’s physical impacts can be separated into three broad categories: melt, drought, and deluge. Funk travels to two dozen countries to profile entrepreneurial people who see in each of these forces a potential windfall. The melt is a boon for newly arable, mineral-rich regions of the Arctic, such as Greenland—and for the surprising kings of the manmade snow trade, the Israelis. The process of desalination, vital to Israel’s survival, can produce a snowlike by-product that alpine countries use to prolong their ski season. Drought creates opportunities for private firefighters working for insurance companies in California as well as for fund managers backing south Sudanese warlords who control local farmland. As droughts raise food prices globally, there is no more precious asset. The deluge—the rising seas, surging rivers, and superstorms that will threaten island nations and coastal cities—has been our most distant concern, but after Hurricane Sandy and failure after failure to cut global carbon emissions, it is not so distant. For Dutch architects designing floating cities and American scientists patenting hurricane defenses, the race is on. For low-lying countries like Bangladesh, the coming deluge presents an existential threat. Funk visits the front lines of the melt, the drought, and the deluge to make a human accounting of the booming business of global warming. By letting climate change continue unchecked, we are choosing to adapt to a warming world. Containing the resulting surge will be big business; some will benefit, but much of the planet will suffer. McKenzie Funk has investigated both sides, and what he has found will shock us all. To understand how the world is preparing to warm, Windfall follows the money.

30 review for Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cwiegard

    Really excellent example of good research journalism applied to the topic of global warming. But rather than repeating the basic science, author Funk chooses to explore the weird and scary economic sector of global warming profit-making. Maybe you thought that global warming was a hoax, or that it is a threat to human survival that inspires us to collective self-sacrifice? Wrong on both, reports Funk. Human nature dictates that a long term threat such as global warming, when run through the filt Really excellent example of good research journalism applied to the topic of global warming. But rather than repeating the basic science, author Funk chooses to explore the weird and scary economic sector of global warming profit-making. Maybe you thought that global warming was a hoax, or that it is a threat to human survival that inspires us to collective self-sacrifice? Wrong on both, reports Funk. Human nature dictates that a long term threat such as global warming, when run through the filter of national and individual self interest, becomes a reason to invest in oil fields north of Greenland, water rights in Australia, or fences to eliminate climate refugees from Bangladesh. Plenty of money is being made, and plenty more will be made. But that money will pass into the hands of those who are already wealthy, rather than the few thousand trained scientists who record and model the progress of AGW. It's not pretty, the world that Funk shows us. But this strange world is absolutely real. This book is sure to be the most important one on the topic of climate change published in 2014, though it is so full of information that the reader may suffer from brain fatigue in the later stages.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Blue

    Thank you GoodReads First Reads for a free copy of Windfall in exchange of my honest review. I was a bit hesitant about starting Windfall, as I do not need to read a book about "the truth" of global warming or climate change. I was delightedly surprised to find that McKenzie Funk wrote, instead, a book that is truly as advertised: a book about the economics of climate change. As such, Funk reports expertly on the efforts of sovereign states, tiny islands, giant oil companies, think tanks, and var Thank you GoodReads First Reads for a free copy of Windfall in exchange of my honest review. I was a bit hesitant about starting Windfall, as I do not need to read a book about "the truth" of global warming or climate change. I was delightedly surprised to find that McKenzie Funk wrote, instead, a book that is truly as advertised: a book about the economics of climate change. As such, Funk reports expertly on the efforts of sovereign states, tiny islands, giant oil companies, think tanks, and various businesses who are/have been aiming to profit from the climate changes that are happening and are continuing to happen. Funk travels to many places and meets with many influential men (all men, hmm...), who are all possibly small and large players in the next world war to come, whenever it may be. The book connects many dots with thin, invisible, tangible strings that bind the whole of Earth in a very tight and uncomfortable network; from the independence movement of Greenland to the wall of trees being built in Senegal to the wire fence India is building around Bangladesh to the snow machines that were inspired by the Russian gulags, Windfall witnesses the silent decisions that are shaping the future of humans and the Earth now. Funk took six years to investigate and write this book, and a great job he has done. His writing is precise and crisp, with a good balance between every-day personal experiences and an account of his findings from his travels and interviews as well as his research. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the politics of immigration, poverty, water rights, and international relations. Also recommended for anyone who has children or plans on having children. Expect a page-turner, albeit a rather bleak one (if you are socialist leaning, that is; otherwise a happy read, if you live and earn in the rich, Northern countries of the world.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richard Reese

    McKenzie Funk’s book, Windfall, explores the question, “What are we doing about climate change?” Readers are introduced to ambitious speculators who are eager to make enormous profits on new opportunities resulting from a warming planet. They are not investing in research for sharply reducing carbon emissions. They are obsessed with keeping the economic growth monster on life support. Climate change investment funds will soon become gold mines, creating a flood of new billionaires. The future is McKenzie Funk’s book, Windfall, explores the question, “What are we doing about climate change?” Readers are introduced to ambitious speculators who are eager to make enormous profits on new opportunities resulting from a warming planet. They are not investing in research for sharply reducing carbon emissions. They are obsessed with keeping the economic growth monster on life support. Climate change investment funds will soon become gold mines, creating a flood of new billionaires. The future is rosy as hell. Mining corporations are slobbering with anticipation as Greenland’s ice melts, providing access to billions of dollars’ worth of zinc, gold, diamonds, and uranium. A defunct zinc mine, which operated from 1973 to 1990, provides a sneak preview of the nightmares to come. The Black Angel mine dumped its tailings into a nearby fjord. The zinc and lead in the runoff was absorbed by the blue mussels, which were eaten by fish, which were eaten by seals. Investors won, the ecosystem lost. Other entrepreneurs are anxious to turn the torrents of melt water into hydropower, providing cheap energy for new server farms and aluminum smelters. Meanwhile, the tourism industry is raking in big money serving the growing swarms of disaster tourists. As the Arctic ice melts, sea levels could rise as much as 20 feet (6 m). A number of low-lying islands are already on death row — the Maldives, Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Seychelles, Bahamas, and the Carteret Islands. Islanders are pissed that faraway rich folks are destroying their home. Bath time is also predicted for large portions of Manila, Alexandria, Lagos, Karachi, Kolkata, Jakarta, Dakar, Rio, Miami, Ho Chi Minh City, and a fifth of Bangladesh. There may be a billion climate refugees by 2050. Five nations have shorelines on the icy Arctic Ocean: Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark (Greenland), and the United States (Alaska). Beneath the rapidly melting ice are billions of dollars’ worth of oil, gas, and coal. We would be wise to leave this energy in the ground but, of course, we won’t. There will be abundant testosterone-powered discussion over borderlines in the region, and this might include blizzards of bombs and bullets. Both Canada and Denmark claim ownership of Hans Island. Russia has planted a flag on the North Pole. A melted Arctic will also provide a new shipping lane, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific, providing a much shorter and much cheaper alternative to the Panama Canal. Both sides of the Northwest Passage are owned by Canada, but other nations, like the U.S. and China, disagree that Canada owns the waterway. They prefer it to be an international route of innocent passage, like Gibraltar. Funk took a cruise on the Montreal, a frigate of the Royal Canadian Navy. They were engaged in Arctic war games, which included an exercise that seized a naughty American ship. The core driver of climate change is simple: “add carbon, get heat.” As carbon emissions skyrocket, so does the temperature of the atmosphere. We can’t undo what has already been done, damage that will persist for centuries, but it would be rather intelligent to quit throwing gasoline on the fire. Unfortunately, the titans of capitalism have a different plan. Renewable energy cannot power our nightmare, and environmental activism has failed. Governments are careful to ignore the prickly issue, because voters delight in living as wastefully as possible. Technology is our only hope. Cutting emissions would blindside our way of life (and so will not cutting emissions). But cleverly adapting to climate change will greatly enrich the titans, temporarily. There’s growing interest in seawalls, storm surge barriers, and floating cities. Israelis are making big money selling snowmaking and desalinization equipment. Biotech firms are working like crazy to produce expensive drought resistant seeds. India is building a 2,100 mile (3,380 km) fence along its border with Bangladesh, to block the flood of refugees that are expected when rising seas submerge low-lying regions. Others dream of making big money creating monopolies on the supply of freshwater, which is diminishing as the torrents of melting ice rush into the salty oceans. There are two things that people will spend their remaining cash on, water and food. Crop yields are sure to drop in a warming climate. This will lead to rising prices, and create exciting opportunities for profiteering. A number of wealthy nations are ruthlessly acquiring cropland in third world regions. Funk visited Nathan Myhrvold, a Microsoft billionaire, who now runs Intellectual Ventures. His plan is to keep economic growth on life support by creating a virtual volcano called StratoShield. Volcanoes spew ash into the atmosphere, which reduces incoming solar heat, and cools off the climate. StratoShield would spray 2 to 5 million metric tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere every year. This would make the sunlight one percent dimmer, and enable life as we know it to continue, with reduced guilt, for a bit longer (maybe) — hooray! Funk also visited Alan Robock, who opposes the plan. Volcanic ash is not harmless. The goal of StratoShield is to block heat. The catastrophic side effect is that it’s like to severely alter rain patterns in the southern hemisphere, spurring horrendous droughts, deluges, and storm systems. On the bright side, life in Microsoft country, the Pacific Northwest, would remain fairly normal, and the sulfur dioxide sunsets would be wonderfully colorful. Funk didn’t mention that the geoengineering, if it actually worked, would have to be done permanently. Beneath the shield, ongoing emissions would continue to increase the atmosphere’s carbon load. If the shield was discontinued, and full sunlight resumed, the consequences would not be pleasant. Myhrvold’s former boss, Bill Gates, is running a foundation that’s spending billions of dollars to eradicate disease. The mosquitoes of the world are nervous, fearing near term extinction. The foundation is dedicated to promoting the wellbeing of humankind. Oddly, it has spent nothing on research to cut carbon emissions. Folks will be spared from disease so they can enjoy drought and deluge. There is no brilliant win/win solution. The path to balance will be long and painful. Funk finished his book in 2012, a very hot year for climate juju all around the world. He had spent six years hanging out with tycoons, “the smartest guys in the room.” All were obsessed with conjuring highly complex ways of making even more money by keeping our insane civilization on life support, for as long as possible, by any means necessary. Climate change is a manmade disaster, and those most responsible are the wealthy consumers of the north. Funk imagines that the poor folks of the south will be hammered, while the primary perpetrators remain fairly comfortable. It’s a wicked problem because “we are not our own victims.” We feel no obligation to reduce our emissions or consumption. We care little about misery in faraway places. I am not convinced that the north will get off easy. Anyone who spends time studying the Earth Crisis will eventually conclude that humans are remarkably clever, but pathologically irrational. We’ve created a reality far too complex for our tropical primate brains. We’ve created a culture that burns every bridge it crosses. Funk reminds us that, “We should remember that there is also genius in simplicity.” I agree.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sean Lee

    Funk spent six years travelling and researching for this book. The book is very fact-heavy and I found it challenging to read more than one chapter at a time. Still, this is an insightful read. I've always thought of climate change in rather abstract terms of scientific/economic/environmental issues that don't apply to me. What Funk has shown is how climate change will affect people. Unfortunately, climate change is not bad for everyone. The rich will find ways to adapt and thrive, while the poo Funk spent six years travelling and researching for this book. The book is very fact-heavy and I found it challenging to read more than one chapter at a time. Still, this is an insightful read. I've always thought of climate change in rather abstract terms of scientific/economic/environmental issues that don't apply to me. What Funk has shown is how climate change will affect people. Unfortunately, climate change is not bad for everyone. The rich will find ways to adapt and thrive, while the poor suffer many of the consequences. Some nations will sink while others will rise, farming will thrive in the tundras while once fertile lands soon become deserts. In the absence of strong international agreements to reverse climate change, the free markets do what they do best -- maximizing short-term gain in ways that look ingenious from one end but questionable from another.

  5. 4 out of 5

    ianca rebel

    Quite an insightful book on the ”profiteers” of climate change, and the endangered, solution-less ones, however for a non-interested person, it might seem too much. I appreciated the almost-neutral writing and the extensive documentation, really offered me another view on the other side of the coin. I would recommend it for people interested in global warming and some possible ”opportunities” which arise from it, in the sense that ”nothing is inherently bad”.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Kay

    My review for The Associated Press: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/windfa... Apparently, if you look at climate change the right way, it looks like money instead of disaster — if you're looking at it from a corporate boardroom, for example, and not, say, coastal Bangladesh. Journalist McKenzie Funk spent six years traveling the world to report "Windfall," his account of how governments and corporations — many of whom heavily contribute to the problem of global warming but balk at mandates to cut g My review for The Associated Press: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/windfa... Apparently, if you look at climate change the right way, it looks like money instead of disaster — if you're looking at it from a corporate boardroom, for example, and not, say, coastal Bangladesh. Journalist McKenzie Funk spent six years traveling the world to report "Windfall," his account of how governments and corporations — many of whom heavily contribute to the problem of global warming but balk at mandates to cut greenhouse gas emissions — are confronting climate change with engineering, money and lawyers. ... (to read more, follow the link above)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    Probably the most depressing book I've read in years.Governments, Multinationals and Big Banks -- not to mention the occasional intrepid private entrepreneur -- laying out their game plans to make big money off the *opportunities* afforded by global warming, such as: an ice-free arctic, increasingly water-desperate populations and the threat of destruction from ever more powerful storm surges.Genetically-engineered mosquitos to fight the spreading menace of dengue fever, giant *mixers* to stir t Probably the most depressing book I've read in years.Governments, Multinationals and Big Banks -- not to mention the occasional intrepid private entrepreneur -- laying out their game plans to make big money off the *opportunities* afforded by global warming, such as: an ice-free arctic, increasingly water-desperate populations and the threat of destruction from ever more powerful storm surges.Genetically-engineered mosquitos to fight the spreading menace of dengue fever, giant *mixers* to stir the ocean to reduce acidification and simulated volcanic eruptions (that is, pumping sulfur into the stratosphere) to help cool the earth...I don't know whether to laugh or weep.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alva

    This becomes one of the books I think necessary to understand and move forward in the current period. Funk writes with Swiftian satiric wit, but the real power of his message emerges over the whole span of the book rather than in any particular eviscerating portrait; and that message is that all of us on the rich side of the Wall are as complicit as any of the profiteers Funk engages with in the Arctic, the tropics, drought-marked inlands or searise-marked coastlands. I get his message to be tha This becomes one of the books I think necessary to understand and move forward in the current period. Funk writes with Swiftian satiric wit, but the real power of his message emerges over the whole span of the book rather than in any particular eviscerating portrait; and that message is that all of us on the rich side of the Wall are as complicit as any of the profiteers Funk engages with in the Arctic, the tropics, drought-marked inlands or searise-marked coastlands. I get his message to be that we are in the process of abandoning the wretched of the earth as we pull up the lifelines; the injustice that the worst victims of climate change had little or no role in it (and still don't, per capita). A book like this convinces me more than ever that California's willingness to make some economic sacrifices to provide a model of how decarbonization is feasible, even if expensive, is one of the more moral ways of dealing with a First World fundamentally unwilling to take responsibility for the planet as a whole.

  9. 5 out of 5

    C

    How to profit from climate change: * buy stock in shipping companies that can travel through the Northwest Passage * buy stock from oil companies that can drill in the Artic * move to Greenland or Norway * buy stock in reinsurance companies like Munich Re that can raise premiums on the back of natural diasters * buy fertile farmland and the water rights so you can grow food on it * buy stock in companies that build desalination plants or provide fresh water * move out of Bangladesh, Saigon, Manhattan, How to profit from climate change: * buy stock in shipping companies that can travel through the Northwest Passage * buy stock from oil companies that can drill in the Artic * move to Greenland or Norway * buy stock in reinsurance companies like Munich Re that can raise premiums on the back of natural diasters * buy fertile farmland and the water rights so you can grow food on it * buy stock in companies that build desalination plants or provide fresh water * move out of Bangladesh, Saigon, Manhattan, the Marshall Islands, and lots of other places that will be under water due to rising sea Best of all, be rich so you can live safely in an increasingly difficult environment, and keep poor migrants out of your safe space. Brutal!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Thibeault

    *A full executive summary of this book is available here: http://newbooksinbrief.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 warmi *A full executive summary of this book is available here: http://newbooksinbrief.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 here: http://newbooksinbrief.com/

  11. 4 out of 5

    Preston Kutney

    A lot of books that I've read on climate change treat adaptation as taboo - an unacceptable admittance of defeat. They focus on mitigation, and warn against assuming that we can engineer ourselves out of this crisis. Windfall is a book about climate change that accepts the premise that society will fail to do enough to avoid the effects of a warmer planet. It is a cynical but practical examination of how society and business will adapt, and the speculators, inventors, and hedgers who are positio A lot of books that I've read on climate change treat adaptation as taboo - an unacceptable admittance of defeat. They focus on mitigation, and warn against assuming that we can engineer ourselves out of this crisis. Windfall is a book about climate change that accepts the premise that society will fail to do enough to avoid the effects of a warmer planet. It is a cynical but practical examination of how society and business will adapt, and the speculators, inventors, and hedgers who are positioning themselves for a windfall. When most of us imagine a future affected by climate change, we see a future where everyone has seen the light and taken collective action, even if it is too little too late. We see carbon pacts, energy shortages, bicycles and electric cars. But what if the climate changes and we don't? What if society remains technocratic, hyper individualist, and profiteering? What if the response to a climate crisis is not collective action, but a gold rush? Funk looks at this from a couple of angles: 1. THE MELT - what happens when thousands of square miles are uncovered by retreating ice sheets in Greenland and the Arctic? (Short answer: Canadian military (who knew that even existed) defending newly melted land, shooting machine guns at icebergs in training exercises) Also, the tricky situation that Canada, Greenland, Russia etc find themselves in, wherein they technically stand to gain from climate change, so what is their obligation to the rest of the world? In my favorite line from the whole book, Vladamir Putin on climate change: "We shall probably save on fur coats and other warm things." 2. THE DROUGHT - The ultimate effect of global warming is to disrupt the temporal and spatial distribution of water. Temporally, rain will become more sporadic and intense. Spatially, snowpack is decreasing and cities are becoming less permeable - returning water to the oceans faster. Water is heavy - 8.3 lb per gallon - and to move it without significant help from evaporation and gravity or the USACE, is still too expensive for private companies. "There are all these Zen-like things about water. It's the most necessary of all commodities. There's no substitute for it at any price. And we cannot make water. If we run out of energy, life will be crappy. But if we run out of water, we die." 3. THE DELUGE - sea level rise and more sporadic, intense precipitation may wash many coastal and delta communities into the ocean. When migrations occur, or island nations are subsumed into the sea, where do those people go? What will "environmental refugee" laws look like? If you're looking for a fairly structured high-level look at the effects of climate change, and some interesting anecdotes about climate change adaption, this is it. I am endlessly entertained by "what if" scenarios, and the intersection of economics and the environment, so i found this to be real treat.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alex Kaplan

    Extremely interesting book. There hasn't been a shortage of global warming books, but I don't know of any looking at it from this angle. The book keeps up a good pace with the globe - trotting reporting of the author. I was pretty impressed with each if the sections tackling a different angle of the effects of global warming on business projections and governments. Particularly would recommend the sections related to Greenland and what us currently going on in the fresh water "market."

  13. 5 out of 5

    Neil Bhatiya

    A great introduction to how the world, including the private sector, is responding to the opportunities presented by climate change - oil exploration in a melting Arctic, border security to keep out migrants, private firefighting in the American West, and how the Dutch want to export seawall building.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Castillo

    The first book I've read about global warming and its effects around the world. It was an easy, interesting, and infuriating read. I recommend it to everyone. It allows you to further understand the happenings of all things climate related. READ IT!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rakesh Nagilla

    Windfall is about how companies, people , agencies across the planet are seeking an economic opportunity from global warming. Mr Funk travelled all the continents for his research and separated the global warming into 3 categories: Melt, Drought and Deluge. Melt, brings new economic opportunities for people where more land is arable and mineral rich.(Arctic belt) How israelis developed early desalination methods and are now being used for artificial snow generation across the world for skiing or Windfall is about how companies, people , agencies across the planet are seeking an economic opportunity from global warming. Mr Funk travelled all the continents for his research and separated the global warming into 3 categories: Melt, Drought and Deluge. Melt, brings new economic opportunities for people where more land is arable and mineral rich.(Arctic belt) How israelis developed early desalination methods and are now being used for artificial snow generation across the world for skiing or other winter activities. Drought, is helping private fire fighters make money working for insurance companies. How asset management companies are buying off land in African countries like Sudan. Mckenzie also covers how locals are trying to fight spreading of Sahara with Great green wall. Effects of drought and refugees to other countries. Deluge, is about rising sea levels. At the current rate, bottom half of low lying bangladesh will be submerged and all the people will have to seek refuge in India. On the other side, how a dutch company is trying to profit from building floating cities and sea walls. So are companies like Monsanto, Intellectual ventures which is loading on patents in the new field of geo engineering, hoping for a big pay day in future when the world will move towards getting used to global warming instead of fighting it. I really enjoyed the book, particularly McKenzie's writing. Highly recommend it. J

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    It's amazing to see how many companies can and will profit from global warming. The author seems to think the rich will survive no matter what and the poor will suffer so it's quite the dilemma. Chapter Summary: (view spoiler)[ 1: Canadians want the Northeast straight (for oil and stuff) but nobody wants them to have it. 2: Shell is great at predicting futures but they recently sold off a ton of their green stuff to fund oil up north. 3: Greenland is kind of happy about global warming because they're It's amazing to see how many companies can and will profit from global warming. The author seems to think the rich will survive no matter what and the poor will suffer so it's quite the dilemma. Chapter Summary: (view spoiler)[ 1: Canadians want the Northeast straight (for oil and stuff) but nobody wants them to have it. 2: Shell is great at predicting futures but they recently sold off a ton of their green stuff to fund oil up north. 3: Greenland is kind of happy about global warming because they're going to make a lot of money from oil that will become available and that will help them get their independence. 4: because of global warming there is less fresh water which means more money goes into trying to desalinate water 5: private firefighters make a lot of money from global warming because there are more Fighters 6: people want to make water markets to buy and sell the increasingly scarce resource 7: people make money from farms because food scarcity 8: Africa is trying to build a green wall but it probably won't work 9: India wants a wall 10: the Dutch are building giant floating islands 11: the warmer it gets the more mosquitoes there are. And there are companies making money eradicating mosquitoes 12: Geoengineering may be a solution, or at least Myhrvold thinks so. (hide spoiler)]

  17. 4 out of 5

    Suzy

    This is already a bit of a dated book (scary to think), but I learned a lot about how people are, for better or for worse, coming up with ways to capitalize on global warming. Mostly worse. While either making the best of a bad situation or correcting a bad situation can both be honorable approaches to problems, I just got the sinking feeling that those who opt to make lemonade out of global warming are building up a huge stake in maintaining the status quo (melting ice caps, rising seas, intens This is already a bit of a dated book (scary to think), but I learned a lot about how people are, for better or for worse, coming up with ways to capitalize on global warming. Mostly worse. While either making the best of a bad situation or correcting a bad situation can both be honorable approaches to problems, I just got the sinking feeling that those who opt to make lemonade out of global warming are building up a huge stake in maintaining the status quo (melting ice caps, rising seas, intensifying natural disasters, and their imbalanced effects on the disenfranchised of the world), such that the attempts the rest of us in the hive can muster to reverse it will be laughably feeble in contrast. On the other hand, there were moments in the book that I had to admire the ingenuity of some of the projects Funk describes. He is a good writer, able to explain scientific and technological ideas in a conversational style. The different sections of the book focus on different aspects of global warming and the ways people Funk has spent time with have begun to capitalize on them. It's quite fascinating in a car-wreck on the side-of-the-road kind of way, and something I had never thought about (naive non-entrepreneur that I am), but I'm glad that I have learned something about this topic and recommend that you do too.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicky Lim

    A perspective on climate change that there are actually upsides for some people. More minerals for miners, more famines for food sellers. This profiteering is crass and distasteful, but there are a lot of market activities that fall in the same 'spectrum'. Some debatable ones are "janitor's insurance" or price gouging. The book highlights that it is naive to rely on human empathy to reverse climate change. If party A reaps the benefits but party B suffers, human nature's tendency predicts party A A perspective on climate change that there are actually upsides for some people. More minerals for miners, more famines for food sellers. This profiteering is crass and distasteful, but there are a lot of market activities that fall in the same 'spectrum'. Some debatable ones are "janitor's insurance" or price gouging. The book highlights that it is naive to rely on human empathy to reverse climate change. If party A reaps the benefits but party B suffers, human nature's tendency predicts party A to exploit the situation. This situation is far more complex than it already meets the eye. Beyond scientific or environmental or economic propositions, it is also an issue of human justice. We, as a world, advocated self-determination around the 1900s. We seem to have come quite far. Can we band again together as a collective civilization? I docked off some stars because the stories are hard to follow with the overly 'colorful' narration. I am predisposed to more factual and concise writing and the over-expressiveness of the author made me annoyed and irritated. TLDR, he spoke too much whilst saying very little. That's just me though. Overall, an important subject with insightful treatment of the matter. I feel that there are better books on the topic out there I much rather read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jim Puskas

    This is probably the most terrifying book I've read in a very long time. If only half of the scenarios that Funk has set forth become realities (and the extent of his research suggests they will) none of us in the "western"world need worry about terrorists destroying our vital infrastructure or North Korea triggering WW3. Before any of that happens, we will have destroyed much of our world and/or rendered much of it unlivable, without any help from "failed states" or jihadists; and a few wildcat This is probably the most terrifying book I've read in a very long time. If only half of the scenarios that Funk has set forth become realities (and the extent of his research suggests they will) none of us in the "western"world need worry about terrorists destroying our vital infrastructure or North Korea triggering WW3. Before any of that happens, we will have destroyed much of our world and/or rendered much of it unlivable, without any help from "failed states" or jihadists; and a few wildcatters, hedge fund operators, warlords and private for-hire militias will have gotten fabulously rich. One need only read 2 short chapters in the middle of this book, describing not what MAY happen but what is actually going on right NIOW in places like California and Australia to be convinced. As owner of a $1M+ home near San Diego, consider for a moment an offer from a mobile firefighting outfit to priority protect YOUR home against the next wildfires: $35,000 (financing available) and only $1600 per year thereafter. And then read Chapter 6 describing how water runs "uphill to money" and try to pretend you're not scared about the future!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jan McDonald

    This non-fiction book by McKenzie Funk got my attention. It was the October book for my River Action Book Club and I got it from Iowa's Interlibrary Loan program. Renewed it. Then I purchased a copy for myself. When I finished I had 16 book marks in it to remember items that I didn't want to forget. From private insurance firefighters in California to mining companies waiting for glaciers to melt in Greenland to the "Kullak", that had drilled American Arctic's first off-shore wells. Many people This non-fiction book by McKenzie Funk got my attention. It was the October book for my River Action Book Club and I got it from Iowa's Interlibrary Loan program. Renewed it. Then I purchased a copy for myself. When I finished I had 16 book marks in it to remember items that I didn't want to forget. From private insurance firefighters in California to mining companies waiting for glaciers to melt in Greenland to the "Kullak", that had drilled American Arctic's first off-shore wells. Many people are getting rich on global warming! The Senegalese who are planting Africa's Great Green Wall and scientists from the Netherlands who are building sea walls are on, what I perceive, as the good side of the question of global warming. There's a lot to be reckoned with in "Windfall: the Booming Business of Global Warming. If someone wants to read this book, message me on Goodreads.com and I'll send it to you.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aida

    This is actually a did not finish, because I can't do it. I know that climate change is real, a crucial topic to be addressing, and I do. I think about it daily, and as I make decisions on what to buy, who to vote for, and how I live my entire lifestyle. I support researchers who work on the topic. I do what I can, to both mitigate my household's impact and also try to help move society forward in a direction we need. But I can't manage reading this book - the casual destruction of the environme This is actually a did not finish, because I can't do it. I know that climate change is real, a crucial topic to be addressing, and I do. I think about it daily, and as I make decisions on what to buy, who to vote for, and how I live my entire lifestyle. I support researchers who work on the topic. I do what I can, to both mitigate my household's impact and also try to help move society forward in a direction we need. But I can't manage reading this book - the casual destruction of the environment by so many governments and businesses in the name of the economy is too much for me to bear. It's a horror I can't abide to read so much detail about. Funk writes engagingly, descriptively, and with an obvious amount of research, shining lights in dark shadows many of us are not privy to. Doesn't mean I am capable of looking, especially during Coronavirus times.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melwd

    The author spent six years traveling around the world to find those who will benefit from global warming. It's a great premise and he covers a wide range of examples. Sometimes I felt that the author was a little too much in the narrative, but at the same time did not seem to have a strong presence. I think it would have helped if he could have let us in a little more OR gone deeper in profiling the people he met. Mostly, I just want to know how he funded six years of traveling! I like logistics The author spent six years traveling around the world to find those who will benefit from global warming. It's a great premise and he covers a wide range of examples. Sometimes I felt that the author was a little too much in the narrative, but at the same time did not seem to have a strong presence. I think it would have helped if he could have let us in a little more OR gone deeper in profiling the people he met. Mostly, I just want to know how he funded six years of traveling! I like logistics and think it would have been interesting to include how he was able to fund all this research. But even with those quibbles, this book is fascinating, and I recommend reading it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brad Turner

    Funk's book hinges on a turn humanity has taken vis-a-vis climate change: from trying to stop it, to adapting to and profiting from it as much as possible. He travels around the world profiling people seeking to make an honest buck off the often cataclysmic change sweeping the planet. From Canadian trans-oceanic water peddlers to Dutch dam-and-dike manufacturers to African tree planters and farmland speculators and their Wall Street backers to the Austrians trying to preserve alpine glaciers wit Funk's book hinges on a turn humanity has taken vis-a-vis climate change: from trying to stop it, to adapting to and profiting from it as much as possible. He travels around the world profiling people seeking to make an honest buck off the often cataclysmic change sweeping the planet. From Canadian trans-oceanic water peddlers to Dutch dam-and-dike manufacturers to African tree planters and farmland speculators and their Wall Street backers to the Austrians trying to preserve alpine glaciers with reflective blankets, Funk turns his often humorous, ironic, and scathing eye everywhere, and makes us the richer with his exhaustive explorations.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Beseler

    Windfall is a highly informative and thorough product of investigative journalism. The information in the book is otherwise difficult to access. The book highlights the winners and losers in the climate change scenario. An excellent and well-written, yet thought-provoking read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I thought swashbuckling days were over. Guess I was wrong. In Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming, author McKenzie Funk shows us how economic opportunities can be found in all negative aspects of climate change. He states “the climate is changing faster than we are [but]… Life will go on. Before it does, we should all make sure we understand the reality.” These are true statements. But when Funk states “…these pages reveal something important: In an unfair world, rational self-intere I thought swashbuckling days were over. Guess I was wrong. In Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming, author McKenzie Funk shows us how economic opportunities can be found in all negative aspects of climate change. He states “the climate is changing faster than we are [but]… Life will go on. Before it does, we should all make sure we understand the reality.” These are true statements. But when Funk states “…these pages reveal something important: In an unfair world, rational self-interest is not always what we wish it would be,” he’s not being clear which side of the dike he stands upon. He admits seeing the environmental movement as being misguided, employing “magical thinking” that will not produce results in the developed world. That also may be so. But does it mean that we give in, wholesale, to the altering of the world’s ecosystems just because the current approach is “naïve?” http://nonfictionbookclubmississauga....

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andres Palmer

    A very thought provoking look at how multi-faceted people and their reactions to the world are. Was an eye-opening read for sure.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Diane Bluegreen

    the subject of this book is infuriating,but it is well written and important.

  28. 4 out of 5

    John Ratliffe

    Another way to look at a serious problem for humanity. An opportunity to profit from misery.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    This book had the dual advantages of being clever and timely, yet rather unfairly I couldn't find my stride amongst its pages.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mia Sannapureddy

    hardback

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