Xconomy Bookclub: “Windfall” Looks at the Business of Climate Change

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unlikely savior in Israeli water entrepreneurs.

Those entrepreneurs have become experts in desalination because of the nation’s arid climate. Decades later, that expertise led to the development of the IDE All Weather Snowmaker, a $2 million device that can shoot out 35,000 cubic feet of snow in 24 hours at any temperature on any day of the year, Funk writes.

The first one was deployed in Zermatt, the village below the Matterhorn, on the Swiss-Italian border. “We managed to sell snow to the Eskimo,” Avraham Ophir, IDE’s CTO and executive vice president said in the book.

As all of this is happening, financiers on Wall Street and elsewhere are creating new teams of analysts and investment products focused on water, or a lack thereof. For Goldman Sachs market analysts, water is the “petroleum of the next century.” Summit Water Development Group is a hedge fund focused on amassing water rights in Australia and the American West.

Funk also writes about other “fixes” underway to combat the effects of climate change illustrate the limits of what being innovative can do. A steady flow of “environmental refugees” from Bangladesh because of flooding into the Indian state of Assam has prompted officials from the larger country to build a wire fence along the international border. Enamul Hoque, a local leader Funk interviews, seems to acknowledge the project’s futility. “The fence will not be enough to stop them,” he says. “But still we must complete it. Because otherwise, there is nothing.”

“And for the poor, absolutely nothing happens,” Atiq Rahman, an environmentalist and executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies in Dhaka, tells Funk.

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