July 9 2023

Watch the video above - or read the transcript below:

I was at a roundtable of a dozen very successful investor business people last week. We did a quick survey of what people think about climate change. And it was revealing and sad.

The group believes that the climate has changed, and they're a little worried about it, but they're not doing much about it, either in their investing life or in their personal lives. But their level of knowledge was rudimentary. They think the climate's changed because they know that it's gotten warmer out, not because they understand the science or the progression, what our emissions are around the globe or in the US and where they're headed and what it means to be closing in on 500 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere. And they poo-pooed most of the solutions as not worth doing, whether that's electric cars or heat pumps, if any of them even know what a heat pump is.

One of the key points they made that drives me bananas, because it's just wrong, is that the Chinese build a coal-fired power plant every single day, 365 of them in a year. And so why in the US should we do anything about climate change? It just really ticks me off because number one, it's not true. And number two, because it's just a sound bite that somebody heard on the news one day. And it's thrown around as an excuse to do nothing here in America.

Let's get to some numbers here. The Chinese population is over a billion-four, America's population is 345 million. The U.S. runs on about 1100 gigawatts of electric generation. And the Chinese run on about 2,600. The Chinese have to keep growing their electricity generation because their economy grows by 5%. It's also gotten a lot hotter in China, and so they need more power for AC. And it's been a lot drier in China, so they don't have as much water to run their hydro. They need to build power generation so their people can live and their economy can grow. And they have to turn to where they get it. Well, the place they turn the most is to renewable power. Not to coal-fired power. They're building 160 to 200 gigawatts of renewable solar and wind power every year, three or four times as much as coal-fired power. They burn coal, and are building 50 to 80 coal plants per year, because that's the fossil fuel they have. They don't have gas; they don't have oil; they're burning what they have under the ground in China. The oil and gas they need to import.

The Chinese have a real problem burning coal because it's polluting their cities and causing vast human health problems. They really prefer to add solar and wind. Demand for solar panels and for wind turbines and related equipment is just booming across the world as all countries are facing this disaster of it getting hotter out and having much higher demand on the grid and the need to run electric cars and other parts of the economy on clean electricity. The Chinese are ramping up manufacturing capacity for solar, wind and batteries faster than anybody in the world, including the US. We have the IRA, which has been passed, that has provided huge incentives to build solar, wind and battery storage in the United States. Many of our red states are the beneficiaries of all these new planned factories for all the renewable power and for electric cars. And that's a good thing. And we're excited about that at the Climate Capitalist.

But pointing fingers at China as a reason for us not to do anything is a red herring. We are in the midst of a global boom for clean energy and all related things, EVs, et cetera. Spending on clean power will be the dominant investment theme for the next decade. We were all excited about crypto and blockchain, and now we're all excited about AI. Meanwhile, this clean energy transition represents three trillion of annual capital spending on a 90 trillion GDP global economy.

My friends around the table are not only missing the boat on the science and the progression on climate, they're missing the boat on the opportunities and risks in the investment world.

February 15 2023

This week we separate the climate change facts from ignorant fiction.

April 19 2023

While the data points may be from opposite directions, the conclusion is the same: the impact of climate change is everywhere.

June 5 2023

We run down the four elements of climate change that led us on our journey of discovery.