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Climate change policy paralysis allows big business to cash in

As we have reported, the impacts of climate change are being felt with increasing severity each passing year. Meanwhile, the lack of any major policy or climate consensus is putting the world’s nations in a sort of climate paralysis.

While we know that atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations are steadily warming up the planet, what is less clear is how these changes or climate policy will impact global economies, food demand and security, and health and wellbeing.

As climate change progresses, these unknown variables that make enacting environmental policy difficult are putting the world’s populations at risk.

In the face of all this policy uncertainty, some companies are using the projected impacts of climate change to their advantage and profits are as high as ever.

A recent New York Times feature details how some businesses, including big oil and gas companies, are profiteering off of the projected impacts of climate change, not to help reduce emissions or slow climate change, but simply because there’s money to be made.

You probably wouldn’t immediately associate Exxon Mobile with solar power, but recently the company invested in solar energy in Texas seizing an opportunity to help supply cheap electricity to fracking operations in the state.

Investors are buying up lithium and other precious metal mines as demand for these metals increases with the rise in electric vehicles that run on batteries.

The investment management company Merrill Lynch is advising clients to invest in vertical farms and hydroponic advancements in anticipation of future water and food shortages, the New York Times reports.

Airplane manufacturers are creating planes that can adapt to high temperatures, and in Australia, real estate companies are buying up farmland at a discounted price from drought-stricken farmers.

Pharmaceutical companies are turning to vaccines for mosquito-borne diseases like dengue which could devastate southern states in the US.

All of these businesses and industries are operating and profiting off of climate change and its projected impacts, seeing an opportunity and seizing it.

For some people like Jeremy Grantham who began to see a financial opportunity in climate change in 1997, the choice to invest in renewables and shift away from carbon isn’t just a matter of making money but the only viable option in a warming world.

“Sooner or later, there will be a carbon tax,” Grantham told the New York Times, “You have a certainty. It will happen. Or we’ll be on our way to a failed civilization.”

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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