Point/Counter-Point on Climate Change

by the Curmudgeon with Victor Sperandeo



The Curmudgeon has been an advocate of preserving our environment for decades.  He contributes and volunteers for many environmental non-profits and has been of the strong opinion that climate change (AKA global warming), caused mainly by carbon emissions from fossil fuels, is an extremely negative disruptive force all over the world.


Alarm Bells Sounding this week:

Jeremy Grantham, co-founder and chief investment strategist of asset management firm GMO, writes about Climate Problems as one of 10 Topics to Ruin Your Summer.  His missive is found on pages 13-to 16 of GMO’s Quarterly Letter.

Grantham notes that we’re breaking records for climate-related abnormalities around the world that have negative impact on the environment, especially rising air and ocean temperatures. The good news, is that there has been a meaningful evolution in terms of the way world leaders like Pope Francis are addressing the problems of climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions.  Here’s an excerpt:

Both the actual climate and the associated politics seem to be changing more rapidly these days, with the seriousness of the situation becoming better appreciated. Visible changes in the climate have also been accelerating with many more records than normal of droughts, floods, and, most particularly, heat. Last year was the hottest year ever recorded, and this year, helped by an El Niño, has gotten off to a dreadful start. January was the second hottest January ever. February and March were outright records. April was in third place, but both May and June were back in first place.

This consistency with volatile climate is unusual and ominous. If kept up, 2015 will be the hottest by a lot. Angela Merkel, a chemist by University training, arm-twisted the G7 countries, especially Japan and the recently rogue Canada, into a statement committing their countries to decarbonizing their economies completely by 2100 and making some increased effort by 2050, a respectable improvement but still very insufficient for the long term. It was probably the first time for several decades, by the way, that it was reasonably clear that someone other than a U.S. President was the natural leader: at least on some issues.

Pope Francis weighed in with a brave encyclical, which was bound to cause trouble with his flock, making the clear case that it is a Catholic’s duty to help protect our home planet and that manmade climate change from excessive burning of CO2-producing fossil fuels is an urgent problem. He was advised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which includes several Catholic, as well as non-Catholic, Nobel Prize winners and several of the world’s leading scientific authorities on climate change. How did he arrange this? If only our politicians had such advisors and availed themselves.

Meanwhile, a new DoD/Pentagon report warns that climate change is an “urgent and growing threat to our national security” and blames it for “increased natural disasters” that will require more American troops designated to combat bad weather.  Here are a few other snippets from that report:


·       Global climate change will aggravate problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions that threaten stability in a number of countries.

·       Climate change is a security risk, Pentagon officials said, because it degrades living conditions, human security and the ability of governments to meet the basic needs of their populations. Communities and states that already are fragile and have limited resources are significantly more vulnerable to disruption and far less likely to respond effectively and be resilient to new challenges, they added.

·       The Defense Department already is observing the impacts of climate change in shocks and stressors to vulnerable nations and communities, including in the United States, the Arctic, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America, officials said.

More and more scientists are speaking out and writing papers warning of the dangers of global warming.   Many such papers can be found here.


At a conference in Paris on July 7-10, 2015, more than 2,000 scientists discussed, debated, and proposed ideas on dealing with the effects of climate change. As countries pledge to reduce carbon dioxide emissions before the UN climate change conference in France at the end of the year, scientists are worried that the commitments may not be sufficient, and that current technology may not be enough to slow down the effects of global warming.


The UK Guardian asks:  “With a growing number of CEOs publicly committing their companies to taking action on climate change, what difference can their pronouncements make? Can they persuade others to follow suit, or encourage governments to legislate?”

Opposing Views:

There’s a strong movement to discredit the theory that carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for global warming and that climate change doesn’t really exist.  That view is best exemplified by the Global Warming Petition Project.

“Predictions of harmful climatic effects due to future increases in hydrocarbon use and minor greenhouse gases like CO2 do not conform to current experimental knowledge.”

Fiendbear Comment:

I can remember when the scam was that we would all freeze in the 1970s. Then the late 80s and much of the 90s it was global warming. Now it has evolved into climate change. The climate has been changing throughout the history of the planet. I am extremely skeptical that it is directly caused by human activities. I believe that the left has glommed on to this fad to extract more economic control and to redistribute wealth which is a never-ending goal.


We have climate change policy in CA (CARB) and I just paid $3.79 (cheapest in town) to gas up today. How much are you paying in other parts of the U.S.? Of course the ultimate goal of all of this climate change hysteria is to exert more control on how you live and take away the few remaining freedoms you might have.


Victor’s Comment: A Serious Proposal to Save the Earth

As a skeptic on this topic I believe it was conceived to control and tax the middle class.  Here is a proposal for government action for those who suggest this is a true crisis for our planet.

For  those who are sure about "climate change," and are serious about stopping it, a logical and simple proposal to start saving the planet is forcing the "rich" to give up many "unnecessary luxuries" in order to save the earth.


This thesis is based on what our leaders claim about climate change/ global warming.  For example:

If this really an "emergency" why isn't the President issuing Executive Orders or proposing bills to eliminate all "unnecessary luxuries" the rich enjoy that consume excessive energy, gas, other fuel, etc.? 

Here are a few items to consider for elimination or restrictions:

a) Private jets used by executives, celebrities, and the rich.

b) Exotic sports cars, recreational vehicles and other “gas guzzlers,” unless they get 50 miles to the gallon or better.

c) Limit travel on commercial jets to four round trips a year per person, unless a government license is obtained for a valid reason.  Why not let road warriors use video conferencing to attend their out of town meetings?

d) End all yachts of longer than 26 feet (Marco Rubio's boat length - while John Kerry's is 76 feet long!).

e) Commercial fishing boats should have to pay a tax on gas miles of 25% on the fuel.

f) Beef should have a 100% tax on any meat that costs over $10 a pound.

g) A house, condo, apartment, or co-op CANNOT be built over 3000sq. feet after 2018.

h) Having a second house - a huge luxury- should require a 50% tax on the payment price.


Opinion:  NOT to limit or restrict "unnecessary luxuries" and instead raise taxes of fuel to the average person PROVES the climate change story is a hoax.  It's merely an excuse to tax the middle class and thereby "control" the bulk of the populace. 


One proposal to control emissions is to limit the sale of carbon via "Cap and Trade," which directly and unfairly effects the middle class and poor.  Seems like a bad idea!


Let's see who will put the politicians power on the line with the above proposed laws, which would restrict the “good life” the rich continue to enjoy.  If such laws were to pass, you would have my vote for "cap and trade.”


The Curmudgeon


Follow the Curmudgeon on Twitter @ajwdct247

Curmudgeon is a retired investment professional.  He has been involved in financial markets since 1968 (yes, he cut his teeth on the 1968-1974 bear market), became an SEC Registered Investment Advisor in 1995, and received the Chartered Financial Analyst designation from AIMR (now CFA Institute) in 1996.  He managed hedged equity and alternative (non-correlated) investment accounts for clients from 1992-2005.

Victor Sperandeo is a historian, economist and financial innovator who has re-invented himself and the companies he's owned (since 1971) to profit in the ever changing and arcane world of markets, economies and government policies.  Victor started his Wall Street career in 1966 and began trading for a living in 1968. As President and CEO of Alpha Financial Technologies LLC, Sperandeo oversees the firm's research and development platform, which is used to create innovative solutions for different futures markets, risk parameters and other factors.

Copyright © 2015 by the Curmudgeon and Marc Sexton. All rights reserved.

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