Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Stock Market

I keep reading articles on the stock market. There is clearly an ongoing debate about whether now is a good time to buy shares or whether the market has further to fall. Surely though, the authors always imply, if you take the long view, shares always bounce back. I wonder if they really will this time.

I'm reading a very good book at the moment by Sir David King, the former scientific adviser to the uk government and a professor of chemistry at Cambridge. I'm inclined to trust the science in the book and like that it is optimistic. A few points stand out though. They point out that the world's target for temperature increase is 2 degrees C and that this figure has been arrived at from multiple sources and multiple scientists and it's somewhat odd, though convenient, that they agree. This is the temperature increase above which we must not get if we are to avoid the worst affects of climate change. The book explains that, even with a positive outlook we are unlikely to keep the temperature increase below 3 degrees C even if we do everything right. So, we are going to have to be making some adjustments to the way we live. In Europe in 2003, 35,000 people died in a heatwave. It seems now that we hardly noticed it!

10 of the warmest years on record have occurred since 1995.

David King makes the point that we can tolerate different temperature ranges as long as we adapt our behaviour. For example, by not going out in the warmest part of the day or by drinking water before going out.

I wonder to what extent the stock market has factored in a 3 degree C rise in global temperature. I wonder how the stock market reckons with the fact that, if we maintain 3% growth, over the next 24 years we will use more resources than the whole of human history has every used.

Perhaps I am looking for a justification for my own behaviour. My lodger moved out this week and threw a ton of stuff in the regular dustbin (garbage) so I picked through it all and rescued or recycled things - I even ate some of it. Many things I rescued were brand new, electronics, in working order in their packaging; material that was new; serviceable shoes. Well, needless to say I now have a couple of boxes of great stuff for the second hand shops around here. I haven't really thought it through but it seems as though, if I can avoid consuming stuff, even scavenge food, I'm minimising my contribution to this growth thing. I'm not really there yet with thinking this through but it seems right. I share a car and various tools with my neighbour. Today I rummaged in the garage and built a desk from an old one I had 15 years ago, rather than buy a new one. I really must step up my freecycling and reduce my hoarding.

I do wonder at what point the stock market will get to grips with global warming and this problem we have with chasing growth.


Post a Comment

<< Home