Famed Climatologist Charlie Munger

We were fortunate to watch a recent interview Charlie Munger did with Caltech as a distinguished alum. We consider him to be one of the most successful contrarian investment thinkers on the planet. At 96 years of age, he has no fear of being politically incorrect. We contrast this with the mountain of writing, media, and rhetoric associated with the topic of climate change.

Munger on Climate Change

“This is a subject with a great deal of disagreement. The worst thing that can happen in climate change can be coped with by the civilized world. We can use our great wealth to build a sea wall.” As usual, Charlie is subtly saying that one of the biggest problems created by climate change would be raising the sea level and endangering global waterfront property. Twenty years ago, the prime environmental subject was “global warming,” because there was a big hole in the ozone layer (which has healed itself). In essence, Charlie is saying that climate change can be dealt with by the wealthiest nations of the world as we go forth through the decades.

This reminds us of the summit held in 1898 by the city managers of London, New York, and Paris. The biggest environmental problem was horse manure expelled from the animals. Here is how the writer, Eric Morris, explained this in his piece, From Horse Power to Horsepower:

In 1 8 9 8 , D E L E G A T E S F R O M A C R O S S T H E G L O B E gathered in New York City for the world’s first international urban planning conference. One topic dominated the discussion. It was not housing, land use, economic development, or infrastructure. The delegates were driven to desperation by horse manure. The horse was no newcomer on the urban scene. But by the late 1800s, the problem of horse pollution had reached unprecedented heights. The growth in the horse population was outstripping even the rapid rise in the number of human city dwellers. American cities were drowning in horse manure as well as other unpleasant byproducts of the era’s predominant mode of transportation: urine, flies, congestion, carcasses, and traffic accidents. Widespread cruelty to horses was a form of environmental degradation as well. The situation seemed dire. In 1894, the Times of London estimated that by 1950 every street in the city would be buried nine feet deep in horse manure. One New York prognosticator of the 1890s concluded that by 1930 the horse droppings would rise to Manhattan’s third-story windows. A public health and sanitation crisis of almost unimaginable dimensions loomed.

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