Global warming and climate change in general have a lot of people worried. Weather has never been the most predictable thing in the world, but there has been a trend of warming that will impact everything from growing cycles to trade routes. As with any change, the impact doesn’t fall evenly. There are a lot of negative impacts to global warming, like the people of the Maldives who will lose everything or nearly everything, and a lot that can’t be predicted. In this piece, however, we’ll take a look at some areas that will potentially benefit from global warming. (For related reading, check out Industries That Will Benefit From Global Warming.)
The Siberian Real Estate Bubble
The heading above may not be as ridiculous as it sounds right now. There is a lot of land in the Northern hemisphere that is simply too damned cold or too damned isolated to be of much use. Global warming is already having an impact on some of the marginal lands, creating earlier and longer growing seasons for agriculture in Canada, Russia, Greenland and other northern regions. These countries stand to gain access to more land for agriculture, new market access as northern trading routes and ports are freed from ice, and potentially more energy resources as the infrastructure and weather allows for more exploration of previously untapped reserves.
The Innovation Sector
A warmer world also requires changes in a wide range of sectors. Presumably the trend towards efficiency will continue with vehicles, appliances and other technology as most nations have expressed a desire to quit making things wantonly worse even if reversing global warming is not possible. There will also be transfers of existing technology and methods to new regions as farmers require crops and livestock adapted to higher temperatures and similar changes would be needed for buildings, homes and other infrastructure to operate in hotter weather. (For more, see 7 Ways Climate Change Affects Companies.)
Some of this will be simple adoption of techniques from warmer regions like Texas and Arizona by the new areas that find themselves experiencing that climate, but the technology for handling extreme heat that Texas and Arizona could face in the future needs to be developed or those regions will empty out. In fact, technology for adapting to extreme weather is very likely to become its own industry as these events become more common. (Read Fat Tail Risk Makes Global Warming Scarier.)
The Adaptation Game
Some, like the northern nations of Greenland, Russia and Canada may simply benefit from global warming out of sheer blind luck. A longer growing season and more workable land is a good thing. That said, if it is tied with a change in weather that restricts the moisture to those new regions, it may not be a win at all. Drier than average conditions in those regions may increase the risk of wildfire and they’ve already seen an increase in the range of many pests and crop diseases caused by the milder winters. So the whole land grab thesis is highly speculative at this point.
The true winners will be the companies and people who focus on adapting to the new conditions created by global warming. Investors are already eyeing up land and potential projects that are becoming more feasible as winters get less cold in the north. There are already companies selling building materials meant to help with cooling or stand up to extreme weather events. Simply put, things never stay the same for any real period of time, and it is the people who jump on the opportunities that the change creates that tend to benefit the most.