Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming by McKenzie Funk

Windfall

Global Warming is a threat that is as potent as any other dreadful calamity that can be envisaged as striking Earth in the near future. In spite of agenda backed opposition consisting of a phalanx of optimists who make a living pooh poohing ecologists, environmentalists and activists as naysayers, prophets of doom and inveterate pessimists, the fact that we are staring at an environmental disaster (predominantly man made) of gargantuan proportions is unmissable.

However can Global Warming trigger an upward shift in the monetary fortunes of a few daring and intrepid ‘prospectors’ willing to place impetuous bets on Climate Change? Are there people like that in the first place? Combining wicked wit and a wealth of research McKenzie Funk in this unique and revelatory book introduces us to a mind numbing world of pioneering profiteers, fascinating fund managers, boisterous business magnates and Wall Street experts who aspire to strike gold by pledging their bets on the topical phenomenon of Climate Change.

Traveling extensively to places obvious and obscure, Funk introduces us to an amazing group of people who make a literally booming business out of Global Warming. The dangerously melting Arctic is exploited by fund managers and oil majors alike to create pathways (The Northern Passage) and to drill deep for flushing out what is expected to be a treasure trove of oil and natural gas – an exercise that will resolve the woes of fuel guzzling carbon emitting powers in the higher north of the Globe.

Funk travels with a Wall Street raider to the dangerous and strife torn country of South Sudan where the former in a series of innovative and inventive deals with the rebel General procures hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile arable land at the cost of displacement and death suffered by hapless indigenous people. A precipitously rising sea level in island nations such as the Maldives, Kiribati and Tuvalu offers immense potential to Dutch engineering companies to peddle mind numbingly complex and gravity defying solutions such as the creation of entire floating cities – sprawling megapolises with stilts that are impervious to rising and gushing flows of water! Funk also gives us a ringside view of the scientific empire of the business tycoon Nathan Myhrvold, whose obsession with Geoengineering knows no limits or barriers even though the benefits arising out of such a process is to say the least – riddled with questions and credible doubts.

Funk does not despise the tactics or the strategies employed by these people in carving out personal and corporate fortunes by staking myriad claims permeating climate change. He only asks every stakeholder to engage in a thorough, realistic and reasonable introspection. He exhorts us to stop treating the subject of global warming as a Zero-sum game. Every winner need not prosper at the cost of a helpless and mutely obliging loser. Global warming and climate change makes no exception. It impacts all of us as part of a well-integrated and tightly knit humanity. Collaboration instead of commercial completion is the only lasting solution.

All the global stakeholders will do well to assimilate this message and act on it sooner rather than later if Mother Earth has to have a future.

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