COLUMN - Why you need a climate change portfolio

Fri Nov 2, 2012 5:06pm GMT

By John Wasik

CHICAGO Nov 2 (Reuters) - Whether you believe in man-made global warming or not, it's undeniable that trillions of dollars will be spent on technologies to address the collateral damage of climate change.

Superstorm Sandy has just provided a tragic and devastating exclamation mark to the ongoing discussion of climate change and its link to extreme weather.

There are a number of ways to invest in industries that are seeking solutions to climate-caused problems. Several global companies, insurers and institutional investors accepted the idea some time ago and are investing for the future. Even investors who haven't signed on to the idea of man-made global warning may find some sectors or companies to like.

While estimates vary widely, the impact of climate change on the world economy may be at least $4 trillion by 2030, according to Mercer LLC, a global financial consultant. Countries - particularly those in the euro zone - are responding to global warming by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases through greener energy policies and taxes.

Extreme weather has cost the United States some $67 billion resulting from 21 devastating events since the beginning of last year alone, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And that does not include the total tally of losses from this summer's drought or Sandy.

Higher global temperatures translate into a greater intensity of hurricanes, floods, ocean storm surges and thunderstorms in certain regions while other areas will be hurt by droughts, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international research group. That means more disaster-related losses, water- and agriculture-related problems and more variability in weather patterns.

Some areas will be deluged while others parched. Witness this summer's Midwestern drought and Sandy's recent wrath. What climate experts previously thought would happen only once in a century is happening much more often.   Continued...

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