Economy

Why climate adaption stocks might be more profitable than climate solutions

By David Callaway, Callaway Climate Insights

(Mark Hulbert, an author and longtime investment columnist, is the founder of the Hulbert Financial Digest; his Hulbert Ratings audits investment newsletter returns.)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Callaway Climate Insights) — Is it unethical to invest in companies that help us adapt to a warmer climate?

Many think it is. And there are many others who, while not going so far as to believe it’s outright immoral, still find climate change adaptation to be somehow objectionable. Global warming is an existential threat, so our single-minded focus should be on mitigating that warming. To the extent adaptation strategies are successful, they could reduce the urgency we otherwise feel to fight that existential threat. That is hardly a good thing.

At the same time, almost everyone also agrees that, not only has the climate already warmed to an alarming extent, but significant future increases are “baked in,” so to speak. Extreme weather events are already inflicting untold suffering, and even if the climate eventually cools down, it will almost certainly get a lot hotter first. We have no choice but to adapt.

Indeed, some have suggested that a failure to adapt is the real existential threat. Jason Ur, a Harvard University archaeologist, has pointed out that “when we excavate the remains of past civilizations, we rarely find any evidence that they made any attempts to adapt in the face of a changing climate. I view this inflexibility as the real reason for collapse.”. . .

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