Example queries from readers

1.   Why did you write this book series?

Short Answer:

To try and help save the planet from climate destruction by influencing people to be worthy custodians of Earth's biosphere, and vote for government leaders who champion climate restoration, and motivate movie producers to make entertaining movies on climate shift that create an emotional connection between humanity and Earth. 

Long Answer:

For decades, millions of articles, editorials, and scientific documentaries proclaim the grave hazards of a changing climate. I applaud these efforts but they’re not enough. Scientific arguments don’t persuade many people, but emotional connections do.

          Where are the dramatic movies and video streaming series on climate change that motivate the audience to take action? We need the help of the world’s best movie producers and marketers to portray this emotional connection between Earth and humanity. We must persuade humanity to enact laws and regulations to mediate and stop climate destruction. It’s a matter of marketing and governance and not technology.

          People should mourn the death of their planet like the death of a loved one. Outrage, love, and empathy are the types of human emotions the media must generate to help save the planet. We need billions, not millions of people to protect their home. It can be done. We must vote it in by electing climate champions. It must be done now, not later. 

2.   How do we get government and corporate leaders to build the cost of climate change into their budgeting and economic analyses or is there a better approach?

This is a tough question. Given my forty-one years as a business school professor, I’ll try to respond to this reader's question. 
     A media feud erupted a few days ago between US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and young Greta Thunberg focused on this economic climate change question. Greta, a climate crisis champion, has addressed the United Nations and last year was Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.” And a 2020 World Economic Forum survey of CEOs in Davos, Switzerland reported that climate change ranked eleventh as a threat to business growth. Issues that ranked higher than climate change included populism, over-regulation, trade conflicts, and a shortfall in employee skills.
     Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella announced in 2020 a goal of Microsoft and its supply chains becoming “carbon negative” by 2030. Blackrock’s CEO, Mr. Larry Fink, disclosed in a letter to world executives that “environmental sustainability” would be a primary goal of its future investment strategy. These “tip-of-the-iceberg” action represent a shift in human attitudes and practices toward global climate change. It is happening too late, but at least these actions by world thought leaders highlight the immense cost of climate destruction for future generations. 
     One issue is capital investment models use planning horizons appropriate for the life of a piece of equipment, a factory, a product, a facility, and a supply chain. Typical planning horizons based on this myopic and cash-flow, return-on-investment, tax-based methodology are 2, 5, 10, or even 30 years. Yet, climate change demands a 50, 100, 300, 500 or even 1,000 year planning horizon. Human and organizational life spans don’t last hundreds of years.
     A second issue is the enormous cost of climate change over a thousand year planning horizon. How do we build into today’s business models hundreds or even thousands of trillions of dollars to fight climate change? The answer is we don’t. Yes, we may build some product and supply chain carbon related costs into our short planning horizon business models. But if we were to include the true cost into our economic models, the result would be a negative net present value and rate of return. In this situation, executives would do nothing.
     We are learning how to incorporate more short-term carbon additions and deletions into our economic product and supply chain models. Carbon metrics and data analytics are fast becoming commonplace. These tactical carbon analyses support strategic environmental initiatives like Blackrock’s sustainability driven investment strategy and Microsoft’s carbon negative goal. 
      Consider the conceptual example of the colossal cost of building a seawall around Florida. The cost of the seawall exceeds the value of all Florida land and property. And, Florida’s porous limestone bedrock prohibits building a worthy seawall that would last a millennium or even a hundred years. What’s the cost of losing Florida to the sea? Is it just the value of the land and property? No, it’s so much more.
      The effects of climate change will upend everyone’s life. Who pays for relocating everyone in Florida? Who pays for moving people in Brazil, China, England, Vietnam, and the Philippines and the Bahamas? The “great filter” of climate change impacts every biological life form on the planet.
     Will institutions survive? Will your standard of living perish? Will governments fail?  Will democracy endure?  Will capitalism prevail? Will humankind survive?  Does humanity have the political will to solve the climate crisis? Are the adversary’s technology, the universal laws of thermodynamics, or humankind itself?  
     Forward thinkers such as Microsoft’s Nadella realize our capital investment and economic models cannot cope with these extended planning horizons and the gargantuan climate change costs. So, he leads his firm toward the next best thing—adopting sustainability and carbon negative actions as tangible organizational goals. It's a matter of goals and strategy, not economic net present value models. What's the cost of human extinction? All governments and corporations should adopt such goals and strategies, now, not later. And you don’t need a college degree in economics to understand the costs of protecting Earth’s biosphere so future generations can enjoy its majesty.