Friday, February 10, 2023

Review of Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming by McKenzie Funk

This book review was written by Eugene Kernes   

Book can be found in: 
Book Club Event = Book List (08/19/2023)
Intriguing Connections = 1) How To Allocate Resources?

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“In retrospect, this was the moment that we began to believe in global warming – not in the abstract science of it, which most could already passively accept, but in the fact that there were money and power to be won and lost.” – McKenzie Funk, Chapter 1: Cold Rush: Canada Defends The Northwest Passage, Page 20

 “As a barrier to such an insurgent threat, most scientists agreed, a phalanx of green was largely futile.  As a symbol, however – of the protective crouch the world was beginning to adopt in the face of warming, of Africa’s particularly lonely position, of how much money rich, high-emissions countries would pay to save themselves from warming’s effects versus how little they would pay to save poorer countries – the Great Green Wall was much more potent.” – McKenzie Funk, Chapter 8: Green Wall, Black Wall: Africa Tries To Keep The Sahara At Bay; Europe Tries To Keep Africa At Bay, Page 163

“The hardest truth about climate change is that it is not equally bad for everyone.  Some people – the rich, the northern – will find ways to thrive while others cannot, and many people will wall themselves off from the worst effects of warming while others remain on the wrong side.  The problem with our profiting off this disaster is not that it is morally bankrupt to do so but that climate change, unlike some other disasters, is man-made” – McKenzie Funk, Epilogue: Magical Thinking, Page 288



Climate change has become a business.  From technology companies, to financial firms trying to profit from the changing environmental conditions.  Society is preparing for the very climate change that society is creating.  Adapting to the climate change, rather than mitigating climate change.  Climate change is changing the political structure of the world.  Challenging the sovereignty of states.  For some nations, climate change is providing access to more resources.  For others nations, their lands are threatened.  Climate change is exacerbating the maldistribution of resources.  There are winners and losers of climate change. 

Innovations are developed to take on the effects of climate change, but technology tends to have negative consequences for the environment it is trying to ameliorate.  The wealthier nations tend to not only be the biggest producers of greenhouse emissions, but also have the most resources to respond to the detrimental effects of climate change.  Those with the resources can protect themselves against the detrimental effects. 



As the author acknowledges, this is not a book about the science of climate change.  This is a book about the responses to climate change.  Following a diverse set of perspectives as they share their responses to climate change.  There is a lack of systematic analysis on the problems, but does express what the problems are, and provides hints of complexity.  The book is an introduction to understanding the changing environmental, economic, and political structure of climate change. 

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book

•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?  Why do people read this book?
•What are some limitations of the book?
•To whom would you suggest this book?
•What is climate change?
•What does climate change effect? 
•How do people respond to the changes in the climate?
•How has climate change become a business?
•Who are the emitters of greenhouse gases?
•Who are the ones being punished most by climate change?
•What is the difference between adaptation and mitigation of climate change?
•Why does Shell believe in climate change?
•Why do financial firms seek climate related investments?
•How does climate change effect insurance?
•How does climate change effect state sovereignty? 
•What are the technological responses to climate change? 

Book Details

Publisher:             The Penguin Press [Penguin Random House Company]
Edition ISBN:      9781594204012
Pages to read:       289
Publication:          2014
1st Edition:           2014
Format:                 Hardcover

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    5
Content          4
Overall          3