Climate-change is the greatest business opportunity since the American westward expansion of the 1800s.
American unbridled imagination could lead the world in adapting to it.
That is, if government stopped coddling businesses already making more profits than they know what to do with on financially safe, but dirty and wasteful, old technologies.
As the seas rise and the weather worsens over the next few decades, millions of structures will be damaged and flooded. How are we going to preserve and protect them?
Weather is becoming more extreme. Tornadoes more frequent. Hurricanes farther north and earlier in the year. Unusually high winds. Dry thunderstorms igniting fires. Sudden snow storms out of season. How do we adapt to this new normal?
We need creative thinking. Roofing materials must be redesigned to withstand higher winds and bigger hail. Homes and high-rises must be reinforced. Building codes require massive overhaul to allow for the new approaches and new materials.
Established industries that refuse to adapt will fail. New business models will require a deferment of short-term profits. Owners and stock-holders must be willing to invest in risky new technologies that are not as profitable today but have the best chance to prevail in the future.
Solar panel technology is advancing almost as fast as computers. It will soon be cheaper to produce electricity at the point of use rather than a central location. Utility companies that embrace that fact will prosper by providing standardized, reliable point-of-use systems. Such systems could use of the existing transmission infrastructure for load-balancing and second-sourcing.
The most dramatic reduction in energy use and pollution may not even come from solar panels and electric cars, but instead from a better Internet.
Why do we consume vast amounts of energy and pour out tons of pollution to drive across town twice a day? Why do we leave one perfectly good building empty, only to occupy another? Most jobs today are information workers who could be located anywhere. Why not at home?
That means renovations to create better home-offices. Installation of higher speed Internet and faster computers. More sound-proofing. More ergonomic chairs.
It also means renovating office buildings into apartments. Maybe more two-car driveways to accommodate service vehicles parked at the technician's home while off-duty instead of in a big parking lot.
More extreme weather means more damaged roofs and broken windows. Flat video displays that use very little power are now common and rapidly getting cheaper and more efficient. Digital cameras likewise. For safety, energy conservation and your choice of views, why not "virtual-windows"?
The massive upheavals caused by climate change will create unprecedented economic opportunities... for those ready and willing to embrace it.
photo credit: Climate Indicators - Relative Sea Level Change Along U.S. Coasts via photopin (license)