Climate Adaptation?

While society debates how to deal with climate change, there are some scientists who are now saying that that time has passed and we now need to start planning society’s adaptation to the climate tragedy we have created on planet earth.

This scientific paper from roughly one year ago is super depressing. I am linking to it because I read it this week and it certainly made me consider how our way of life may change dramatically in my lifetime.

I am not yet ready to throw in the towel on our ability to react to the mounting evidence of a rapidly warming planet and dramatically slow it down with actions like the Paris Accords, recent laws in New York City and New York State, and everyone’s personal actions in what we do and how we do it.

And there is no benefit in getting depressed or defeatist about the climate change threat.

I think the opposite is true. It is time to stop debating whether the planet is warming. It is even time to stop debating about who is going to pay for the massive investments we need to make immediately to slow that warming. It is time to start making them.

#climate crisis

Comments (Archived):

  1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Have you noticed that there is a common ‘little-person’ response to the threat of large-scale change? to paraphrase – What can I do to save myself? – move to higher land – find a property with a fresh water suplly – learn to live off the landThe problem with this problem is that the best thing we could do is act in concert, When everyone is acting in isolation there are very few winners and we are all interdependent.So it would be good to see a lead in concerted efforts from leaders. Some lack the vision.Meanwhile, what we cannot stave off as individuals – we can perhaps mitigate to an extent, and every bit counts.

    1. William Mougayar

      “When everyone is acting in isolation there are very few winners and we are all interdependent.”I like that statement a lot. It applies to so many other things in life and business.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        So long as it’s not forced cooperation, nor incentivized unnaturally due to bias and manipulation – then I agree.

    2. TeddyBeingTeddy

      Solution: Big ass mirrors. Call em Kardashines in Space

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        Good idea from an alien.Take me to your ladder – I’ll see your leader later !

  2. William Mougayar

    There was an alarming headline 2 days ago where record temperatures were registered in the most Northern parts of Canada. 21 C (70F) vs. a July average of 7 C (45F).

    1. Richard

      Today’s weather is not today’s climate

      1. William Mougayar

        they are data points that can’t be ignored. everything happens with warnings.

        1. F G

          Actually, statements like that give strength to those who deny the changes going on. Weather is not climate. Those of us in the northeast have lived through intense “polar vortex” cold spells in the last 2 years. This does not mean it’s getting colder.

    2. jason wright

      Record breaking 45 C in France recently.

    3. Matt A. Myers

      From what I’ve heard Canada is heating 2x faster than the rest of the world.

  3. Matt Zagaja

    I skimmed the paper and found it a bit alarmist but climate resiliency and adaptation is the current approach and policy by many folks in government and the private sector at this point. If you visit the Seaport District in Boston you’ll see buildings built in a way that are designed to flood. One apartment building even built a kayak launch on its first floor so residents will be able to leave during the flood. Some of the most popular government data are flood maps people use to determine where they might buy property. You can read a report on climate resiliency my colleagues wrote at….All this to say no need to be completely depressed. Lots of smart people are thinking about and doing things in this space already. However it is worth reflecting on the fact that despite the fact we knew this threat was coming we failed to avoid it. Head down, brace for impact.

  4. bogorad

    As long as China produces about as much CO2 as the rest of the industrialized nations, it’s pointless to debate what to do next. Short of bombing them off the face of the Earth – but they got nukes! Adapting seems like a smart way to wait out the warming period. In this respect, I find the war against atomic energy hypocritical and immoral.

    1. Keenan

      How is it pointless? And 2 China is do a LOT more than we are to combat climate change.

  5. Richard

    Ross Perot had a decent approach. In addition, It’s time to deflate real estate via tax policy and use the money for infrastructure and r&d. And obviously, it’s time to stop distracting the young (talked to another young man who lost 5000 in bitcoin) with bitcoin and other blood money scams. The greatest threat to the US economy is are Libra and other cryptocurrencies (the congressional hearing this week showed just how irresponsible FB approach could be) , the do as I say not as I do VC has a lot of explaining to do.

  6. TeddyBeingTeddy

    Why can’t we make some big-ass mirrors to reflect sunlight back at the sun… to be less reliant on ice doing that for us? Using tax proceeds from smoke stacks to pay for it.And tax up cow processing facilities to cut back on methane (methane producing cows raised just to be killed)?

  7. Mike

    A lot to process. At a high level it may very well be the case that our political and economic systems, and the very nature of humanity, are more suited to adaptation than collective intervention? Very tough choices.This topic surfaces from time to time on this blog and has pushed me to upgrade my own knowledge in this area. I found the National Climate Assessment below to be pretty detailed and compelling on the topic of man-made climate change.https://science2017.globalc

    1. sigmaalgebra

      That reference has early in its “Executive Summary”:Global annually averaged surface air temperature has increased by about 1.8°F (1.0°C) over the last 115 years (1901–2016). This period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization.The Medieval Warm period was significantly warmer than now, e.g., they were growing grapes in England; also see more details in the movie below.So, either the authors are uninformed or are not counting the Medieval Warm period as part of “modern civilization”.For something over 200 years, we have been pulling out of the Little Ice Age caused by a period of significantly fewer sun spots (sun spots can cause global warming).So far there is no significant evidence for thousands of years of changes in the concentrations of CO2 having a significant effect on climate and, as a special case, no evidence of humans having any significant effect on climate. The scientific evidence is clear: Bluntly the concentrations of CO2 under consideration have no significant effect on climate.The Mayans noticed that if the sun quit moving across the sky, then the climate would be devastated. True. So, to keep the sun moving across the sky, they poured blood on a certain rock and for the blood killed people.E.g., from page 76 ofSusan Milbrath, Star Gods of the Maya: Astronomy in Art, Folklore, and Calendars (The Linda Schele Series in Maya and Pre-Columbian Studies)’, ISBN-13 978-0292752269, University of Texas Press, 2000.with”Indeed, blood sacrifice is required for the sun to move, according to Aztec cosmology (Durian 1971:179; Sahaguin 1950 – 1982, 7:8).”The people who want to stop climate change by changing human behavior are as ill informed and dangerous as those Mayans.That humans are affecting the climate is a flim-flam, fraud scam pushed by special interests.Relax. Get some popcorn. Lean back. Watch a movie:The Great Global Warming Swindle…

      1. Mike

        Maybe take a look at some of the data in Chapter 2, Figures 2.3 and 2.4.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Okay, I just looked.(1) Their claims about CO2 are obviously nonsense: From the ice core record going back ~1 million years, (i) the temperature went up while CO2 concentrations were low, (ii) ~800 years later the higher temperatures created more biological activity which raised CO2 concentrations, (iii) much later the temperature went down while the CO2 concentrations were still high. So, net , the temperatures went up and down significantly, enough for the ice ages, AGAINST the green house effect of CO2. So, the CO2 effects were trivial.(2) The chapter is bringing in stuff about the reflectivity of the surface of the earth. Having the reflectivity high means more sunlight is reflected back into space with a cooling effect, and, low, means warming. But reflectivity was wildly higher during the ice ages (glaciations) yet we still got warmer, and after the glaciers melted and reflectivity was much lower we still entered ice ages again. Net, reflectivity had next to nothing to do with the warming or cooling.Besides, changes in reflectivity over time will be tough to measure accurately.(3) The discussion mentions greenhouse gasses but omits by far the most important greenhouse gas, water. Net, they are not taking greenhouse gas effects seriously.(4) The key criterion, filter in science is predictive value. There the global warming community ruined themselves. As inhttp://www.energyadvocate.c…as time passed, nearly all the alarmist predictions were proven wildly wrong.The chapter is qualitative, and that won’t take us very far.I pass off the whole chapter and paper as having zero credibility and as just propaganda for the political goals of the IPCC and their buddies in the global warming and/or climate change flim-flam, fraud scam.In strong contrast, I can take the movie,…with Lindzen, etc., seriously.It is clear: Science and facts have nothing to do with the screaming and motivations of the alarmists, no more than science and facts have to do with Paris fashions. Instead, some people are making big bucks out of the scam; many people are going along as part of style, fashion, and presentation before the public; and some people are just the traditional convenient idiots.But each dollar sucked up by the scam is via taxes, higher prices, etc. an ugly theft from billions of people who can’t afford it.There is nothing new here: The situation is just the same as it has been for 10+ years. It’s a scam.

    1. TeddyBeingTeddy

      Consider what that says about humans. Thousands of other species thrive for millions of years. We come in for a hot minute, destroy everything, then want to leave behind the devastation we created. To destroy the next thing.We are a cancer killing everything beautiful about this planet.

      1. DJL

        Love, hope, dreams, compassion, empathy, charity – all things that never existed before humans. Did you ever hear of a bear gathering all his bear friends to save another bear in trouble? Or to build a hospital in the middle of no-where to care for hundreds of other animal kids they have never met?Calling humanity a “cancer” is one the most bizarre things I have ever heard. And it is especially insulting to people who actually have cancer. People who use love, hope, compassion, prayer (among other medicines) to get through.

        1. TeddyBeingTeddy

          We’re 100% a cancer that mother nature is trying to cut out, and we’re helping her.We see animals killing each other (to survive and feed their kids) and we think it’s brutal. Yet we eat steaks on white table coths, with our Canada Goose over the chair and think we’re great.If Earth is an experiment that shows how fast one small species can destroy a heavenly place… I think we’re proving that YES WE CAN!!

          1. David C. Baker

            What are you, some sort of motivational speaker? 🙂

  8. Matt A. Myers

    Something to deal with in parallel with climate change which Graham Hancock – recently published America Before: The Key To Earth’s Lost Civilization- is trying to rally people to realize the next mass extinction event from an astroid seems to happen every ~10,000 years, and last one seems to have wiped out civilization in North America. Luckily Elon’s efforts with SpaceX will make the foundation for this effort now possible.

    1. jason wright

      Above and below. The Cascadia subduction zone is overdue for its next +9.0 earthquake. The last one was circa 1700. On average there’s one every 243 years. Be far away from the Pacific Northwest when it happens.

  9. Pointsandfigures

    Without reliance on a nuclear power grid every paper written is merely wasted ink

  10. JMS

    Has USV made any investments based on the expectation of the future climate state? Or partner funds?

  11. Susan Rubinsky

    There are already organizations working on this. Personally, I’m working on a project with The Nature Conservancy called Community Resilience Building (CRB) — we’ll be launching a new website and public resources in the coming months. CRB works with states, municipalities, public entities and others to create adaptation plans. Currently, many municipalities and the Commonwealth of MA have signed on.You can follow CRB on twitter –

  12. Alan Joseph Williams

    I think you might like Deb Chachra’s recent take:…”When I was learning how to mountain bike, I was taught to look at the line. No matter how rocky or rooty or hairy or gnarly the trail was, you looked down it and found the path you wanted to follow, your line. And then—and this was key—you looked at the line. Not the obstacles, the line. Especially if you were a klutzy beginner like me, there were no promises that you’d be able to follow the line, but if you looked at the boulder in your path, you were pretty much guaranteed to run straight into it (and yes, I’ve done exactly that, with the tacoed wheel to show for it).There are an infinite number of dystopian futures that we can fixate on, like rocks in our path. And there’s the lazy nihilism epitomized by ‘LOL we’re fucked’, like taking our bikes and going home.Or we can, together, learn to look at the line. Because there absolutely is a path through to a better future for everyone, one that’s sustainable and resilient and equitable. But we have to learn to see it, to stay focused on it, and to follow it down. That’s the work.”

  13. DJL

    I think is the best solution. No need to be depressed or feel guilty. There is nothing you did to create “climate change” and there is nothing you can do to prevent it. The earth’s climate has changed +/- 6 degrees many times over the years. We have been warming for the last 11,000 years since the last major ice age. The earth’s “climate” is too complicated to statistically correlate ANY specific human activities with global temperature change. While you are driving your electric car, some plant in India is dumping tons of crap into the air and has no plans of stopping.So rather than try to control people or control governments by forcing them into activities that may or may not help, just assume it is getting warmer and deal with it. It’s mostly rich people (who never pay their fair share) that own all of the fancy homes on the water, so flooding will help level the playing field.

    1. Cyril Nicodème

      The source of the CO2 in the atmosphere can be identified and the vast majority of it has been traced back to human activity. In correlation, the worst volcano eruption scenario releasing CO2 in a year is 2% compared to the total volume of CO2 in the atmosphere (the rest is human related). So yeah, we CAN correlate human activities with global temperature change.As for the warming since the last major ice age, I think a picture is better than a thousand words:

      1. DJL

        Thanks for the note. Referring to leftist anti-climate web sites with cartoon animations is not the way to establish credibility for this argument. For example, this graph shows that the climate warmed just as much over 1000 years of nearly ZERO human activity as during the last 200 years.Plus, your timeline illustrates my point exactly. It is statistically impossible to correlate changes on a timeline of 22,000 years with specific activity that occurred over 200 years. So you can wish the correlation, but it is not mathematically defensible.

        1. Cyril Nicodème

          You criticize the source to avoid arguing about the true content. Since you consider the website being leftist (I don’t see how it’s relevant here), and cartoon not being a way to establish credibility, maybe this will be better for you:….(this link has been taken out from https://earthscience.stacke…. In case you still want to deny the cartoon as being a way to communicate a message)The point you might have missed from this graph is the abnormal fast increase at the end, which can not be correlated to human activity, because it HAS BEEN PROVEN it was.As I mentioned in my earlier comment, CO2 source can be detected and the vast majority of it has been traced back to human activity. There are tons of verifiable and trustworthy (the trustworthy part is important) articles available online that proves the correlation between CO2 increase and climate change, and also between CO2 increase and human activity.Moreover, you prove yourself wrong when you say that the climate warmed as much over 1000 years of nearly human activity as during the last 100 years (yes, not 200). Doesn’t it bother you how quick the change is happening? Because that’s the whole issue here, the speed at which the climate is changing.I wish you could see that with honest eyes. Because if you could realize the importance of this, it would mean other deniers would too, and this would be a big step toward considering the planet in its entirety, not a means to an end.

          1. DJL

            Where is the PROOF you emphasized that human activity has caused climate change? (I don’t see the report) As I mentioned, it is statistically impossible. If you would open your eyes you would see that these “proofs” cannot be based in any real science. “Deniers” are real scientists who understand physics, chemistry and math.This is the biggest scientific scam in history. It is designed to control people and governments into behaving according to some central authority that “knows better” than everyone else.I know I will never convince you – so I will be the first one to buy your land on the coast!

          2. Cyril Nicodème

            You need to ask yourself who will benefit from this “scam”?There is proof, you just need to use Google:-…-…-…-…But maybe it’s not enough “mathematician”, “physicist” or “chemist” for you, so maybe these evidences will be:1. Simple chemistry – when we burn carbon-based materials, carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted (Research: https://www.americanscienti…2. Basic accounting of what we burn, and therefore how much CO2 we emit (…3. Measuring CO2 in the atmosphere and trapped in ice to find that it’s increasing, with levels higher than anything we’ve seen in hundreds of thousands of years (http://www.climatecentral.o…4. Chemical analysis of the atmospheric CO2 that reveals the increase is coming from burning fossil fuels (…5. Basic physics that shows us that CO2 absorbs heat (https://www.americanscienti…6. Monitoring climate conditions to find that recent warming of the Earth is correlated to and follows rising CO2 emissions (…7. Ruling out natural factors that can influence climate like the sun and ocean cycles (…8. Employing computer models to run experiments of natural versus human-influenced simulations of Earth (…9. Consensus among scientists who consider all previous lines of evidence and make their own conclusions (…But in the end, it’s easier to believe a conspiracy theory that some party manipulates us for their own interest because in that case, apathy is the best attitude.

  14. awaldstein

    I’m trying to find my way into doing something purposeful.Check out what Bill Gross is doing with investments and thinking.Bill Tai’s ACTAI and Gigi Bresson/Richard Branson/Jane Goodalls’s Ocean Elders are doing and funding some things and have been very open to my participation.Blockchain projects like and Last of Ours are starting to pioneer adaptive economies that are interesting and possible. A couple of projects integrating hybrid traditional and renewal energy grids and even earlier ones on regenerative agriculture are hopeful.This is not enough.But it is something and things I can add value to.Just doing something matters.

    1. Pointsandfigures

      Cliff Asness has said you automatically accept less return with that investment style

      1. awaldstein

        dunno.i need to do something and i am and it is not enough unfortunately.

    2. Bruce Warila

      Here’s my one of my solutions using ML and BC.. Also visit the Ellen MacArthur foundation linked to at the bottom of my post.

      1. awaldstein

        thanks i’ll take a look.

  15. Emil Sotirov

    It is even time to stop debating about who is going to pay for the massive investments we need to make immediately to slow that warming.Does this mean you’ll be supporting the Green New Deal, the MMT approach to funding it, and the politicians pushing for it?Or, if not… what are the alternatives you’d be supporting?

    1. Richard

      Let’s see how a 100% top down marginal tax changes the tune of the whistler.

  16. Richard

    Even if the climate alarmists are correct, the elected politicians and unelected politicians venture capitalist taking on the issue will use climate change for political purposes:

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I have hope we can organize and counterbalance the complexes that late stage capitalism has lead to community and relationship, concern for others and reduced empathy – blocked hearts, and efficiently stabilize nature’s roar – acting like the good stewards we should be consciously managing Earth’s immune system while thriving ourselves understanding that abundance, love, and life is the structure of the universe.

  17. Ken Vaughn

    It was inventions like the internal combustion engine, asphalt, rubber tires, and electric appliances that got us into this mess. We need to channel human ingenuity into the innovations that will get us out. As the author points out – “Unfortunately, the recent years of innovation, investment and patenting indicate how human ingenuity has increasingly been channelled into consumerism and financial engineering.” At VertueLab (, we are helping those who can “invent our way out” of the crisis.

  18. Mark Cancellieri

    I highly recommend the writings of Bjorn Lomborg (AKA the “skeptical environmentalist”). More than I anyone else that I have read on the topic of climate change, Lomborg seems to be the most objective. In addition to great writings on climate change, Lomborg is also the President of the Copenhagen Consensus, which tries to prioritize government spending to provide “the most bang for the buck.”One of the best ways to keep up with Lomborg is his Twitter account:

  19. Daniel Kaplan

    Just how many seemingly impossible problems in the world only look impossible because insufficient imagination has been dedicated to finding creative ways to re-align the incentives?Climate change may be the perfect example.More tangibly, a path exists that could align the interests of:* Oil companies* Textile and paper conglomerates* Fertilizer and chemical giants* Powerful Middle Eastern, Western, and Eastern Nations* Pharmaceutical companies* Independent hemp growers and experts* Cotton farmers* Visionaries who want to restore the world’s deserts into thriving gardens* Oceanographers, marine biologists, and various assorted environmental experts* Large international shipping companies* Urban and national planners concerned about the threats from rising sea levels…Really: every major player involved in the climate change issue and then some…to collaboratively:..devise and execute a solution that generates renewable sources of oil, raw materials for textiles, and new and ancient medicines, while pulling millions and millions of tons of carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it back into the soil……that makes use of the oil companies’s massive and well-orchestrated distribution networks and, the chemical companies core competencies, the pharmaceutical companies extraordinary marketing machines……and does so at a ginormous profit for everyone involved…All while transforming the melting glaciers of the Arctic and Antarctic from an apparently fearful, even menacing symbol of environmental collapse into an incredible, life-expanding opportunity to revitalize deserts.Yes, it’s possible to reverse climate change so everyone involved profits and the deserts of the world bloom.

    1. Hutchy

      Yep. Is climate change perhaps a good example of the innovators dilemma?

      1. Daniel Kaplan

        The innovator’s dilemma, plus (perhaps) the giant dose of (very) long-standing tribalism, epigenetic trauma, and difficulty forgiving a painful stories that we all share in varying degrees,

  20. cannedprimates

    Just got around to reading this now, one thing that stood out to me were the claims about arctic ice disappearing. I tried to find some reliable data and came across this picture:…from an organization that tracks the arctic ice sheet month-by-month.To me, this looks like the ice sheet has been stable in recent years, a far cry from the “50% loss within 5 years leading to runaway climate change” claim quoted in the paper (the picture shows area with a certain minimal density, but I assume area is the most important factor when it comes to the reflective properties of the ice sheet, the loss of which is predicted to be the cause of runaway warming). Does anyone have any insight on this?Otherwise, very intersting read!

    1. jason wright

      March to July. I’d like to see the August to February data.

  21. Bruce Warila

    @fredwilson – I work on various projects related to climate, and I think doing something is important. However, like everything on the Internet, one can find a smart alternative presentation to anything. See this link on Quora as rebuttal to the paper you linked to: https://debunkingdoomsday.q… Perhaps the truth is in the middle.

  22. sigmaalgebra

    Nuclear power? Nope: Doesn’t fit the theme of the old movie The Music Man:Oh, we got trouble.Right here in Gotham City.Trouble starts with a T,And that rhymes with a G,And that stands for “Global Warming”Trouble starts with a T,And that rhymes with a C,And that stands for “Climate Change”.It”s just a flim-flam, fraud scam, with enoughpeople pushing it so that facts andscience are irrelevant.

  23. Dan T

    Agreed 100%, if the crisis is as dire as some predict Nuclear will be revisited and everyone will realize the risks are manageable especially in light of the otherwise pending doom of inhabitable earth. I have an engineering degree, but not Nuclear engineering. However I have spoken at length with Nuclear facility engineers and have since been shocked how this alternative has not been reconsidered.