Ten years ago, “climate change” was something only tree-huggers worried about, and everyone else largely ignored the calls.
What a difference ten years can make. While green-centric hippies are still the butt of the occasional joke, now it’s clear to even the most calloused of capitalists that climate change is something that needs to be addressed, even if only because it’s putting commerce at risk.
The bar was raised a little higher at the end of March, when the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report confirming what most of us basically already know … that our dirtier, warmer atmosphere meant the globe is more flood prone and less capable of producing food than it has ever been before.
Still, the fact that 300 scientists took three years to prepare the 2600-page report certainly ups the ante on how serious the situation is.
The question investors are asking themselves is, of course, what does this mean for the stock market? There are five major industries that climate change — and our efforts to fix it — could affect considerably.
Food Scarcity Will Force Higher Crop Yields
Given the choice, nobody wants to eat chemical-laden, genetically-modified food.
We may not have a choice in the foreseeable future, however. Climate change, and warmer temperatures in particular, can lead to droughts in some areas, and downpours in others, neither of which make plants grow any better. The solution is seeds that produce more fruits and vegetables, and fertilizers that do the same.
Erosion-Prone Areas Must Be Managed
Just so there’s no confusion, there’s no way to prevent the coastal erosion caused by a hurricane, any more than there’s a way to prevent flash flooding in the mainland after a prolonged bought with heavy rain. The best that can be hoped for is an abatement of the risks that rising water can pose, and a repair of the damage done by flooding.
Believe it or not, yes, there are companies that can do water-related excavating and underwater sculpting. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation (GLDD) is one of them. Investors should know, however, that none of these companies are going to be household names. That doesn’t mean they’re not worthy climate change investments, however.