Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Bet Your Life? Planning career and retirement in a changing climate.

Are your career and retirement climate-ready? The fortunate of us have made elaborate plans for our career and retirement, yet aren't these generally made based on outdated expectations of stability of our earth's climate? Climate change will affect stability of the economic systems, which are inevitably based on use of agricultural land and other resources within that changing climate.

Perhaps we can do better for ourselves. Perhaps there are great personal financial and risk-aversion opportunities here for those who understand climatic reality and who plan ahead.

Perhaps, in doing better for ourselves, we will also do better for others, in that, while this recent election shows that the U.S. House has just lost even more of its grasp of climatic reality, individual efforts to sensibly prepare for likely futures will help the system of as a whole prepare. Indeed, these may be the only sytematic preparations possible for us.

For retirement, integrating forecasts (used in planning) that are actually based on the best possible climate-corrected projections of investment and commodity prices and transacted volumes may influence both investment planning directly, and anticipated withdrawals for living expenses. This integration may also influence the extent of risk inherent in these projections, which may well also influence withdrawal planning (e.g. planning for wider margins of error in what you'll need).

For career planning, climate-corrected employment forecasts could yield more security, and/or higher realized income, as well as better projections of the ethical implications of various possible careers. You might not want to be a sheriff if all you'll do is evict the mortgage-frauded innocent, suffering an economic collapse not of their making. Similarly, positions that are involved with supplying ecosystem services, when such services are made climatically impossible, might well be miserable. You wouldn't want to be invested in supplying water from desertifying watersheds to customers who, through no fault of their own, can no longer pay.
Similarly, property insurance firms that have essentially bet that weather will continue as it has will lose their shirts. Seaside flood insurance providers will lose out in two ways - more weather extremes will occur while sea levels rise.

These are simple forecasts; more intricate and more accurate forecasts are possible, and are probably being done for a few far-sighted folks already.

To sum up, there may be great personal financial and moral possibilities in integrating the best current science into one's career and retirement planning.

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