I commend President Obama for his April 29 Other Views column, We can no longer delay action on climate change.
As he stated, “Last year, 2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record, and 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century. So climate change is real as are its effects: stronger storms, deeper droughts, longer wildfire seasons and public-health risks.”
As members of the greater Miami community, we know that these facts cannot be denied. Unbearable August days, bleached coral reefs, flooded streets on sunny afternoons and the constant anxiety during hurricane season have become very real inconvenient truths. Sadly, this is just the beginning.
So what do we do about it?
In order to get the private sector, special interests and conservatives to buy in, we need to incentivize the solutions. The immediate strengthening and remediation of infrastructure offers a global opportunity for long-term economic growth and job creation.
Climate change is a massive business opportunity, and Americans can own the global market. Monetized solutions will breed enlightenment and silence the deniers.
Take Jakarta, Indonesia which is sinking several inches a year because of deep-water well injection and sea-level rise. Jakarta is undertaking a three-decade plan to save its coastline, which calls for 30 years of infrastructure work at a price of $40 billion. That’s a heck of a government contract.
Now imagine a hypothetical, multisector, public/private/partnership contract issued by the federal government to build thousands of miles of sea walls and pumping stations to protect American coastlines from the effects of climate change. This would be a very big deal.
To the joy of construction firms and banks, the scope of this hypothetical project would include design, build, finance and operations. To the joy of members of Congress, this project would be a campaign tent-pole and a massive job creator.
Keep in mind that sea walls and pumping stations are only brick-and-mortar opportunities. Long-term lucrative opportunities will come from proprietary technologies.
Private industry will be incentivized to become the vehicle for greater funding of the sciences in order to find solutions to cool our seas and to isolate the excess carbon dioxide in our atmosphere in order to convert or expel it.
If these futuristic solutions are developed, I can easily foresee cooling and CO2 conversion rigs deployed globally. Instead of drilling platforms, businesses will be contracted to build cooling platforms throughout our seas.
These challenges and opportunities are real, and we need to be practical in pursuing the solutions. I may not be a scientist, but I know that climate change will be big business.
Luis is a government affairs lawyer and Miami Lobbyist serving elected officials, businesses, international clients and trade associations.