Summary of Windfall

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Windfall book summary
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Rating

9 Overall

9 Applicability

9 Innovation

9 Style

Recommendation

While environmentalists implore humanity to curb carbon emissions, the smart money bets that humanity will do no such thing. Environmental journalist McKenzie Funk profiles investors, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders who see global warming as an opportunity. They sell desalination machines to arid countries, snowmaking machines to melting Alpine resorts and storm barriers to coastal cities. A Dutch architect even designed a floating metropolis to be built on top of rising oceans. Funk notes that such schemes reinforce the developed and developing worlds’ unequal vulnerability to climate change. Wealthy nations that rely on these technological fixes have little incentive to reduce energy consumption. As a result, their enormous greenhouse gas emissions continue to worsen conditions in poorer countries. Funk offers a colorful world tour of characters and ideas. His witty, lucid writing makes for a great read, although sometimes his focus on detailed storytelling can obscure how various ventures operate. getAbstract recommends his report to policy makers, entrepreneurs, environmental activists and investors.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How businesses and nations plan to profit by adapting to, rather than preventing, global climate change; and
  • Why these plans will mostly benefit the rich nations of the northern hemisphere.
 

About the Author

Deca journalism cooperative founder McKenzie Funk won the Oakes Prize for Environmental Journalism and was a finalist for the National Magazine Award and the Livingston Award. He has written for Harper’s, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, Outside and The New York Times.

 

Summary

Warm Planet, Cold Cash

Humanity spews two billion metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each month. If this pace holds, says an MIT study, the Earth is likely to see “a median warming of 5.2°C [9.4°F] by 2100.” Such a rise could produce ice-free Arctic summers and create dust bowls in Central America and the southern United States. Island nations could simply disappear beneath the rising ocean. To head off such a future, humanity needs to curtail significantly its emissions of carbon dioxide, the main culprit in global warming. A growing number of business ventures, however, rely on humanity failing to do so.

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