Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cleo Paskal Interviewed in Canadian Business on Economic Implications of Environmental Change

Jordan Timm of Canadian Business Magazine interviewed Cleo on some of the ways environmental change could affect investments. An excerpt:

A typhoon hits Shanghai
Hurricane Katrina showed the level of destruction a storm can wreak on a developed city, and while a hit on New York isn't impossible, another global financial centre is extremely vulnerable. "Shanghai is like New Orleans," says Cleo Paskal, author of Global Warring: How Environmental, Economic and Political Crises Will Redraw the World Map. "It's very low-lying, it's in an active delta, it's in a typhoon zone. For the last few years they've been evacuating literally hundreds of thousands of people from that coastline in anticipation of typhoon hits." Paskal says a direct typhoon hit on Shanghai could have severe repercussions, economically and globally. "If the hit is severe enough, China may have to sell off T-bills in order to fund domestic reconstruction, and pull out of strategic foreign investments for the same reason." In that scenario, she expects China to dump its holdings in secondary markets like Europe.

The big thirst
"Right now, in most economic equations water is valued at zero," says Paskal. But as it becomes an increasingly critical resource for agriculture and energy production (as much as 40% of fresh groundwater in the United States and Europe passes through an energy plant at some point), that may no longer be feasible. "A lot of economic calculations about what is viable will need to be reassessed. The water supply isn't so much a water issue as it is an energy issue." We could see one vulnerable province start bulk water sales, opening the floodgates under NAFTA. But the Holy Grail of water science, Paskal says, is a cheap desalination technology: "Whoever comes up with that is going to be a very rich person."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Video: Commonwealth Club of California interview with Cleo Paskal has the interview Cleo Paskal did with Amy Standen from KQED at the Commonwealth Club of California (San Francisco). It covers a range of environmental change and security issues