The Climate Profiteers

Joel Makower writes an amazing post about the growing “climate profiteers”.

Now that a growing corps of corporations are mustering the moxie to actually view climate change as an opportunity as well as a challenge, the complaint is something entirely different:

Big business is engaging in climate profiteering!

The reality is that a good many large corporations stand to gain mightily from likely and imminent U.S. national climate policies, however timid they may be. We’ve already seen that in Europe, where the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme has produced winners (and losers). And in the be-careful-what-you-wish-for category, some of these companies aren’t, suffice to say, environmentalists’ heroes.

All of which is driven home in a recent investment advisory from Citigroup Research, part of the Citigroup financial empire. The 120-page report, titled “Climatic Consequences” (Download – PDF)

As I said, the 74 companies named by Citi as positioned to benefit from climate change trends aren’t all darlings of the environmental set. True, the list includes more than a dozen companies in the solar, wind, and biogas energy business (such as Conergy, Evergreen Solar, Ormat, Q Cells, and SunPower), but also utilities dependent on nuclear power (Constellation Energy, Electricité de France, Entergy, Exelon), which “are well positioned in the long run, compared to operators of ‘dirty’ coal-fired plants.” And biotech companies like DuPont, Monsanto, and Syngenta, whose products “offer the potential for greater ethanol yields.” Some of the companies operate largely behind the scenes, less familiar to the public, such as BorgWarner, whose key products offer the benefits of higher fuel efficiency and lower emissions from internal combustion engines; Johnson Controls, which operates in automotive and building efficiency; and Emerson, whose business units offer a wide range of energy-efficient technologies.

This post by Joel explains why Business can be the solution to the problem of climate change and sustainability. And with providing a solution to a problem comes profit which provides the incentive to create a solution in the first place. We want more “climate profiteers”.


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