Climate change is one of the most pressing topics among countries, scientists, politicians, environmentalists, and lobbyists in the world today. With predictions of increased environmental and health-related damage, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), more aggressive policies to reduce greenhouse gases, for example, are being proposed globally to lessen the impact of climate change.
And while arguably no one wants to see climate change continue at its current pace, there are some industries who will profit from the effects, including air conditioning and construction, more specifically flood-related and defense systems.
Cooling Off in a Hot Planet
According to the IPCC, rising incomes and warming climates equal a significant surge in cooling-related energy use. With global temperatures projected to rise between 3 and 8 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the 21st century, the climate of the northern latitudes is going to heat up — feeling more and more like the south.
With global temperatures expected to rise until mid-century, projected climate change will impact human health mainly by exacerbating health problems that already exist, such as death or illness due to more intense heat waves and fires.
Cooler regions, where air conditioning was once not vital, are expected to experience unusual heat and humidity spikes that will soon make air conditioning a necessity, experts predict. Additionally, extreme heat limits the amount of work people can do in places without air conditioning, and once productivity is affected, air conditioning companies are going to see more business come their way. Moderate climates like northern California, where air conditioning was not essential, are already seeing a shift in temperatures forcing businesses to blast the cold air.
Flood of Business
As global warming affects weather systems, creating massive storms such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, both local and federal governments have undertaken costly plans to strengthen their flood and storm surge defense systems. According to a report, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed construction of a new 10,000-foot-long, $1.1 billion surge barrier to protect New Orleans from future hurricanes. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a $20 billion plan in June to build new levees and sea walls in some coastal zones of the city, and to study the construction of additional structures. And this is just the beginning. Private developments near beaches and other storm-vulnerable areas are contending with insurance companies and clients to ensure their properties are safe from storms and flooding. All of this translates into big bucks for construction. Products like “invisible” flood wall installation — a steel wall that can quickly be put up at the first warning of a flood and removed easily, has a starting cost of $100 per square foot.
Environmental Business International (EBI), a San Diego market research firm that focuses on climate-related business trends, released a new report on a sector that it calls the “climate change adaptation industry,” comprising the planning and building of projects. The report states the industry is just getting started and is now valued at $700 million in the U.S., but that it will reach a billion dollars in billings by 2015, and double to $2 billion by 2020.
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