God, Keynes, and Clean Energy - A blog by L J Furman

Popular Logistics was created and is maintained by Jon Soroko and Larry Furman, and explores the intersection of emergency preparedness, public health, energy, and the environment.
Jan 27, 2010 12:16 AM ET

God, Keynes, and Clean Energy

NY. Jan. 25. Mark Fulton, "Climate Change Strategist" Deutsche Bank Asset Management, spoke at Cary Krosinsky's class in Sustainable Investing at the CERC, the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, Earth Institute, Columbia University.

Krosinsky, Vice President of Trucost, recently co-edited and wrote the book Sustainable Investing: The Art of Long Term Performance with Nick Robins of HSBC. He is an Advisory Board member of the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) and founder director of InvestorWatch. Trucost has built and maintains the world's largest database of carbon emissions and other environmental impacts as generated by the world's largest public and private companies. Their data and expertise is used by leading global fund managers and asset owners to manage carbon risk.

Krosinsky described Climate Change and Global Warming in terms of Pascal's Wager. "We can neither prove nor disprove that God exists. However, if we act as if God exists we will be better off.” So it is with climate change. The science is complex. But we will be better off if we redesign our energy and industrial infrastructures, reduce the level of greenhouse gases, and build a sustainable infrastructure.

Rather than subsidizing coal, oil, gas, and nuclear power, we need to tax carbon. And use the money to build solar arrays, wind turbines, and other new things.

"When you listen to the State of the Union," Fulton said, "don't expect anything on cap and trade, but expect to hear about green jobs."

"Every time there's a crisis," he added, "we rediscover John Maynard Keynes and the government stimulates the economy."

"Peak Oil," Fulton said, the idea that extraction of oil has peaked, "appears to be borne out by the market. When oil prices were high ($140 per barrel) OPEC wasn't producing more oil - they couldn't."

But in my opinion, this isn't a bad thing. As oil and other fossil fuels get more expensive we will shift to other, sustainable technologies. I've been thinking about the science. We're 25 to 30 years away from Fusion. (Click here for the MIT Press Release summarizing work at the MIT and Columbia on the Levitated Dipole Experiment, LDX).

The science on climate change can be summarized:

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