Author Topic: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?  (Read 11793 times)

Fuzz

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Hi all:

I'm curious how people are factoring in climate change to their FI plans? It seems to me that once the planet really gets cooking--say late 2020s and 2030s--that the 4 percent rule may not hold up. Or your rental property in the Southwest isn't worth anything. For me, I'd have a hard time relying on an asset that depends on the Colorado river. So that means, no counting on spending the next 30-40 years in a home where the water source was the Colorado river. Same thing if the home was at sea level in a hurricane zone.

In the narrow sense, we talk about FI like it's designed to hedge against all risks. We assume that the stock market goes up in the long term and  that 4 percent is a good withdrawal rate. We tell ourselves this is all historically very sound, and that we've figured it out. I have two analogies that make me question how "resilient" our FI assumptions are.

First analogy: look at Japan from 1995 to 2007, the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Decade_%28Japan%29 lost decade or lost 20 year period. Has anyone run a counter-factual scenario where you retired in Japan in 1995 with a low cost index fund of Japanese equities? GDP shrank and the stock market went down for 20 years. I bet a 1990s era early retiree in Japan is hurting now. Responding that holding Japanese equities means you weren't diversified, sort of assumes away the problem. Japan was the number 2 economy and had 30+ years of huge stock market gains at that point. Holding a broad based Japanese equities index fund was probably a cutting-edge and smart move at that point.

Second analogy: consider the bomb shelters that people made in their yards in the 1950s and 1960s. The fact that we never had a nuclear exchange with the USSR doesn't mean that those people were wasting their money. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, you could make a good case for the expected value of a bomb shelter. That is, you could make the case that the value of a bomb shelter was greater than the probability of a nuclear attack times the cost of the nuclear attack without a bomb shelter.

I'm thinking out loud here, but my basic thinking goes: the big goal of FI is resilience and independence -> FI equates resilience and independence with the 4 percent rule -> the 4 percent rule assumes the stock market will behave as it has in the past -> but, the stock market may not behave as it has in the past due to climate change. And, (1) we can find examples of big, diversified stock markets that haven't gone up; and (2) people hedging against risk in non-traditional ways, like bomb-shelters.

So has anyone (1) considered the effects of climate change on their FI plans and (2) done anything weird to hedge against it?
« Last Edit: May 24, 2015, 12:18:17 PM by Fuzz »

forummm

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2015, 12:31:24 PM »
I think one of the huge costs of climate change is that we don't have a lot of certainty about what will be changing and where. This means we are going to misallocate resources. I don't have any idea how it's going to affect market returns or property values in the coming decades. I don't know how anyone could prepare for it other than being good consumers of information and having frugal tendencies that could get them through leaner times.

Maybe people built too many bomb shelters in the 50s, but the economy did well then.

Maybe we all just have to pay triple for our water or something. Who knows.

Another Reader

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2015, 12:40:13 PM »
The climate has been changing since the planet was just a condensed ball of rock orbiting the sun.  There is evidence for and against significant climate change in the near term.  Climate change is outside my personal control, so I will deal with it and the known probability of a massive earthquake in Northern California in the next 50 years in the same way.  That means keeping an eye on the consequences and doing some minimal planning and preparation as the situation evolves.

Annamal

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2015, 02:20:47 PM »
Steering clear of ocean-front property (which is a good idea anyway if you live in a geologically unstable area)?




forummm

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2015, 02:31:17 PM »
Steering clear of ocean-front property (which is a good idea anyway if you live in a geologically unstable area)?

Yes, I'm doing that. But also because it's too expensive.

Abe

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2015, 02:55:19 PM »
I think solar panels will eventually be a good investment as a hedge against fluctuating energy prices for running a house. Transportation costs when retired are fairly low except for long-distance vacations, so not too worried about gas prices. Regarding the 4% goal (wouldn't say it's a rule), I would take that as a baseline goal to achieve. I don't think resiliency in FI is equated with that.

I would avoid buying in areas that already have extremes of precipitation (too little or too much) and temperatures as they are predicted to have more significant swings through the seasons. It will be difficult to hedge against the financial costs of droughts or floods, and insurance will be much more in this areas.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2015, 03:01:35 PM »
This is something I've thought about a lot. I live in Southern California, and the drought conditions we are in now are likely a return to the natural state of this area.
I've thought about the possibility of needing to sell my home hete and buy somewhere better situated for climate change....it's hard to find good predictions, but the Minnesota/Michigan areas keep coming up. I'd prefer Oregon or Washington state but not sure they are drought proof.

Have thought about the advisability of owning enough land to grow your own food and keep some chickens, although I suppose in a true crisis you would still be vulnerable to thieves.

Have also wondered what the timing of such a move would be....buy land now for use 20 years from now while remaining in So Cal?  Sell and move ASAP once I retire in a few years?  Stay put but watch the R.E. market closely in hopes of being able to get out in time??

Also, diversification from the stock market....current house is amenable to taking in room mates if needed,  perhaps invest in a rental property?

Basically, this is a "black swan" question, and some of the answers are the same regardless of what type of disaster you foresee-  epidemic, deflation, political chaos,  natural disasters. Diversification is key, not just within the markets but also having other types of investments such as property, and a self sufficiency skillset.

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2015, 03:18:04 PM »
I'd look beyond simply climate change.  I've been accused of being a pessimist, but I tend to think there's a realistic chance of all I talk about happening in the next 100 years, to some extent or another.

There's an awful lot of stuff that is currently considered "normal" that is really an oddity of the last 200-300 years of extensive fossil fuel utilization, and that "endless growth" seems to be coming to an end, rather quickly.

We're at or past peak oil, a lot of countries are approaching peak coal (though that's based on some excessively optimistic estimates of recoverable reserves), we've been playing some truly spectacular debt-bubble games as a world, and are pretty much, in every way possible, trying to accelerate our drive to the brick wall of "Living well beyond what we can sustain becoming unsustainable."

Water is likely to be a major issue going forward, as anyone paying attention to California or Lake Mead might have noticed.

I think there's a good argument to be made that standards of living will be dropping significantly over the next century, even for those with decent resources, and I'd expect an awful lot of market shocks that may or may not ever "recover" to full value.  It's hard to look at the split between the stock market and the actual reality of America (and a lot of other nations) as anything except the mother of all investment bubbles, driven by a combination of dirt cheap debt and extreme bubble blowing behavior by the Fed (and associated other central banks).

What does this mean for FI and long term planning?  Good question.

I think it means that if your plan is, "Invest in index funds and travel the world," you might have a rough time in another 50 years.  If you've got another 10-20 years left in your expected life, you're probably fine.  But that's not really where most of us are.

What I think it does mean is that a reasonable long term plan (and I'm using 50-100 years as the term here, since this is relevant for many of us, and for our children, if you choose that path) involves looking at the likely storms on the horizon and figuring out what, if anything, you can do about them.

One entirely reasonable approach is to ignore them, keep doing what you're doing, and accept that if things go south, you want to be first to die.  It's a valid way to look at things, if a bit of a cop out and, to me, not very satisfying.

I think a much more reasonable way forward is to look at how civilizations decline (since that's what this is - the decline of a civilization, just a really big, global, western industrial civilization), make some guesses, and plan for that.

I personally think this looks like being increasingly self sufficient in critical areas like food/water, and most importantly, developing useful skills that will be in demand during the transition to an early salvage economy.

If your idea of a great place to live is a cheap apartment in a city, that's all well and good, but you are utterly dependent on an awful lot of external systems for your survival.  Food, water, waste disposal, power, etc - you cannot create any of those on your own.  And, if things go terribly south, you can't escape.

If, on the other hand, you've got a few acres with a well, septic, backup ways of getting water (hand pump, solar pumps, etc), and a good garden, you can ride through a lot of the early shocks and disturbances that go along with decline.  It's probably a good idea to get your garden going before you need it, since it generally takes new gardeners 4-5 years to really get the soil going and get good yields, but intensive gardening can feed a family on surprisingly little area (or, if not fully feed, significantly supplement other food sources).  Maybe it's worth looking into permaculture and aquaponics - both look promising as long term ways to provide for at least some of one's food needs.

Useful skills are also going to matter.  If things continue rattling their way down the backside of the slope of progress, being able to make do with less and fix things is going to be of great value.  Unfortunately, we live in a very disposable society, and that's going to cause problems for a lot of people.  But if you have practical, hands on skills in things like small electronics and appliance repair, automotive repair, gardening/food production, canning, solar heat production, and other things that will be in demand, you should be in a good position to provide for yourself and your family, even if investments don't go the way we all would like them to.

Humans have lived for an awful lot of years without the things currently considered "needs" - we pretty much need clean water, food, shelter, some heat (note that this is NOT 68 degrees, year round), and social interaction.  The rest are nice-to-haves.

I think that, in general, the Mustachian way of life is going to work fairly well through the decline.  A lot of the key aspects (be out of debt, live on less than you produce, better living through badassery, doing without, etc) are perfectly lined up to be less optional aspects of a declining civilization, and, to borrow a quote of John Michael Greer's, there's an aspect of "Collapse early and avoid the rush" going on that will be very valuable going forward.

This is, in general, where I'm trying to go with my life.  The whole ebike thing I've been playing with lately (and rebuilding battery packs) is partly because I think they're neat and a great way to get around the Seattle metro area less miserably than driving, but partly because they may very well matter in the future - an electric cargo bike consumes a tiny fraction of the power of a truck, and can haul a lot of load incredibly efficiently for longer distances than most people can do with pedal power only.  Same for gardening - knowing how to turn local soil into a high yielding garden without serious fossil based fertilizers will be a valuable skill.

And if I'm wrong?  That's why I have money in index funds and other interest-bearing accounts.  A few acres with a big garden and a nice workshop is useful if things decline, and if not?  Well, it's still a pretty damned fine place to live, in my opinion. :)

Syonyk

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2015, 03:21:35 PM »
Yes, I'm doing that. But also because it's too expensive.

I know some very cheap ocean front property in Washington - it's a little place called Wash Away Beach.  And, yes, it's actively washing away.  :)

I think solar panels will eventually be a good investment as a hedge against fluctuating energy prices for running a house.

They'll help some.  But running an off grid house is not easy, and involves radically rethinking how you deal with energy.  Of course, if you like that path, go for it!

A better initial step is solar thermal - hot water heating, and possibly some air heating, through solar energy.  It's a lot more efficient than solar electricity, and hot water/heat in the winter are more valuable to humans than electricity.

Have thought about the advisability of owning enough land to grow your own food and keep some chickens, although I suppose in a true crisis you would still be vulnerable to thieves.

Theft is a problem, though can be largely reduced by working in a similar-minded community that includes, as an aspect of their community, some concept of protection, and plans to secure the area against intruders if needed.

SailAway

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2015, 03:27:02 PM »
Sort of. We plan on selling everything, buying a sailboat, and literally sailing away when we retire in 2026. DH jokes (not funny) that it's a hedge against rising sea water. There's actually so little sea ice now that the northwest passage is open. We're looking forward to our little footprint sailboat loaded with solar and wind generators, and very little diesel.

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2015, 03:32:08 PM »
Sort of. We plan on selling everything, buying a sailboat, and literally sailing away when we retire in 2026. DH jokes (not funny) that it's a hedge against rising sea water. There's actually so little sea ice now that the northwest passage is open. We're looking forward to our little footprint sailboat loaded with solar and wind generators, and very little diesel.

Why any diesel at all?  I know a few people with sailboats (and one with a tugboat...) who have eliminated the diesel entirely in favor of a small electric motor and a larger lithium-based battery pack (I'm going to suggest LiFePO4 here, for long cycle life and safety).  They charge with solar, and generally aren't using the motor terribly often anyway.  I think one of them was able to pay for an awful lot of his solar electric system with profits from selling his reasonably high demand diesel plant.

Also, be sure you bring the relevant Stan Rogers album if you're going to sail the Northwest Passage. :)

Fuzz

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2015, 03:40:52 PM »
There's an awful lot of stuff that is currently considered "normal" that is really an oddity of the last 200-300 years of extensive fossil fuel utilization, and that "endless growth" seems to be coming to an end, rather quickly.
...

I think there's a good argument to be made that standards of living will be dropping significantly over the next century, even for those with decent resources, and I'd expect an awful lot of market shocks that may or may not ever "recover" to full value.  It's hard to look at the split between the stock market and the actual reality of America (and a lot of other nations) as anything except the mother of all investment bubbles, driven by a combination of dirt cheap debt and extreme bubble blowing behavior by the Fed (and associated other central banks).

What does this mean for FI and long term planning?  Good question.

I think it means that if your plan is, "Invest in index funds and travel the world," you might have a rough time in another 50 years.  If you've got another 10-20 years left in your expected life, you're probably fine.  But that's not really where most of us are.
.

That's what I was trying to get at. Lots of good ideas in the thread.

I agree that thinking through your needs (energy, clean water, heat, mobility), and how to get them without depending on the stock market (solar panels, solar exchangers, e-bikes, etc) is the logical extension of mustachian thinking. But it sort of reminds me of a Steve Colbert bit during the financial collapse where he advised everyone to invest in goats. At the time, he was making fun of the Fox News enthusiasm for gold. But there is something to the idea of having skills and way to produce your own goods, without sounding like you're about start a compound in Northern Idaho.


And if I'm wrong?  That's why I have money in index funds and other interest-bearing accounts.  A few acres with a big garden and a nice workshop is useful if things decline, and if not?  Well, it's still a pretty damned fine place to live, in my opinion. :)

Agreed.

SailAway

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2015, 03:49:31 PM »
Sort of. We plan on selling everything, buying a sailboat, and literally sailing away when we retire in 2026. DH jokes (not funny) that it's a hedge against rising sea water. There's actually so little sea ice now that the northwest passage is open. We're looking forward to our little footprint sailboat loaded with solar and wind generators, and very little diesel.

Why any diesel at all?  I know a few people with sailboats (and one with a tugboat...) who have eliminated the diesel entirely in favor of a small electric motor and a larger lithium-based battery pack (I'm going to suggest LiFePO4 here, for long cycle life and safety).  They charge with solar, and generally aren't using the motor terribly often anyway.  I think one of them was able to pay for an awful lot of his solar electric system with profits from selling his reasonably high demand diesel plant.

Also, be sure you bring the relevant Stan Rogers album if you're going to sail the Northwest Passage. :)
Heh. DH is currently researching electric motors and battery packs. We have a few years and the technology is improving. He'd be really excited if we could eliminate diesel altogether. Our current sailboat (very small) actually has an electric motor. Would be nice. Neither of us is really keen on going to diesel mechanic school. (We've considered lots of angles to be as self-sufficient as possible.)

KungfuRabbit

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2015, 03:59:36 PM »
There is money to made everywhere.

You want to hedge your risks against climate change?  Buy stocks that profit from it.

starlight

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2015, 04:17:10 PM »
1) I think that the desert southwest, major earthquake zones, hurricane, and coastal flooding real estate is going to carry more risk and would best be avoided going forward. 

2) The best way to prepare for the worst effects of climate change is living as economically efficiently as you can. This will leave you better prepared than most if costs of energy, food and water rise. 

3) Stay out of debt and diversify investments.

4) There is a lot of waste of energy, food, water in the current system. So, if it becomes obvious across the political spectrum that we have a existential problem on our hands here in the U.S., we will act quickly to conserve resources. 

5) Political instability, mass migration, resource scarcity and war will become the worst crisis if and when the sh*t hits the fan, if crops fail, and drought, famine and flooding start killing more people.  Yet, ultimately those with money or in better position geographic areas will start to feel the sting and the wealthy will be forced to give up luxuries and the poor gain necessities. 

Our current system of over indulgence and lack of concern for the environment does look non sustainable.  Its just a matter of time before our species will either chose to stabilize and become more sustainable or have nature do it for us.  How long it will take, I don't know.


Syonyk

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2015, 04:18:27 PM »
But there is something to the idea of having skills and way to produce your own goods, without sounding like you're about start a compound in Northern Idaho.

I agree.  There's nothing wrong with a compound in Montana (actually, with their recent water absurdity, there is), Utah, Nevada, etc... :p

DH is currently researching electric motors and battery packs. We have a few years and the technology is improving. He'd be really excited if we could eliminate diesel altogether. Our current sailboat (very small) actually has an electric motor. Would be nice. Neither of us is really keen on going to diesel mechanic school. (We've considered lots of angles to be as self-sufficient as possible.)

There are a few options for electric motors, just avoid brushed motors for the most part (though, if you stock spare brushes, there's not much to go wrong with them and the controllers are nothing more than a switch).  I'd suggest having the ability to resolder parts on your controllers, and the tools to do that onboard.

Battery tech is definitely getting better, though if you can spare the space, LiFePO4 really is a good chemistry for an awful lot of uses - it has a longer cycle life and a longer calendar life than almost any other chemistry out there, just at the cost of energy density.

You can save a lot of space by getting rid of the diesel & fuel tanks. :)

You want to hedge your risks against climate change?  Buy stocks that profit from it.

How do you hedge your risk against the stock market, as a thing, no longer existing?

Syonyk

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2015, 04:19:36 PM »
Our current system of over indulgence and lack of concern for the environment does look non sustainable.  Its just a matter of time before our species will either chose to stabilize and become more sustainable or have nature do it for us.  How long it will take, I don't know.

Every other civilization in the history of the planet that has badly overshot their resource requirements has collapsed.  Do you have any real reason to believe this one is any different?

forummm

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2015, 04:24:12 PM »
This is something I've thought about a lot. I live in Southern California, and the drought conditions we are in now are likely a return to the natural state of this area.
I've thought about the possibility of needing to sell my home hete and buy somewhere better situated for climate change....it's hard to find good predictions, but the Minnesota/Michigan areas keep coming up. I'd prefer Oregon or Washington state but not sure they are drought proof.

The real water problem in CA is the agriculture industry (80% of CA water usage). I think residential water issues will be fine. In the worst case you're paying, say, 3 times as much for water (which is still not much money) because every drop comes from desalination. But what is more likely is that California cities will move towards recycling most of their water. Once it's recycled, it's actually cleaner than the water going into your tap (which is also super clean). But people have an "ewww" reaction to it. Well, any water or Coke or anything you drink has some recycled waste in at least some portion of it--the recycling just happened more slowly.

Syonyk

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2015, 04:28:37 PM »
Desalinization requires immense amounts of energy.

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2015, 04:31:46 PM »
Our current system of over indulgence and lack of concern for the environment does look non sustainable.  Its just a matter of time before our species will either chose to stabilize and become more sustainable or have nature do it for us.  How long it will take, I don't know.

Every other civilization in the history of the planet that has badly overshot their resource requirements has collapsed.  Do you have any real reason to believe this one is any different?

I think technology is developing quickly enough that we're already getting ourselves out of some of these resource problems. CA is going to 33% renewable energy in the next 5 years. And their vehicle fleet is more and more electric. Batteries are getting cheaper and cheaper. I own 2 electric cars and no gas burner. We only need a very small amount of land dedicated to solar panels (like on people's roofs) to be 100% solar as a country, including transportation energy. Solar, wind, and batteries. Throw in the legacy hydro, and that's all you need. It's quickly getting cost competitive too. Something like 12% of homeowners in HI have solar on their roof because it's dramatically cheaper than their utility rates. This is the future and we will get there, even if it takes 20 years.

forummm

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2015, 04:33:54 PM »
Desalinization requires immense amounts of energy.

It absolutely does. But it's also really conducive to solar and wind power to provide that energy. Even if they are a little intermittent, the plant doesn't need to run at full speed the whole time. Storing up water is a great way to avoid needing batteries and fossil fuel.

Recycling water is much less energy intensive. I think that's where the cities will go before too long.

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2015, 05:54:23 PM »
Our current system of over indulgence and lack of concern for the environment does look non sustainable.  Its just a matter of time before our species will either chose to stabilize and become more sustainable or have nature do it for us.  How long it will take, I don't know.

Every other civilization in the history of the planet that has badly overshot their resource requirements has collapsed.  Do you have any real reason to believe this one is any different?

I was thinking about how after jumping formally into the war in 1941, the way most everyone in the U.S. sacrificed and worked toward the common goal of defeating the enemies of time.  I suppose a monumental catastrophic event could bring people together across the political spectrum in a mass effort to minimize waste of resources.  Will it be too late to mitigate the worst effects?  Maybe, but better late than never. 

The thing that gives me hope is the realization of all the waste we currently have in the system and that large gains toward sustainability are possible given the proper motivation.

forummm

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2015, 06:25:03 PM »
Our current system of over indulgence and lack of concern for the environment does look non sustainable.  Its just a matter of time before our species will either chose to stabilize and become more sustainable or have nature do it for us.  How long it will take, I don't know.

Every other civilization in the history of the planet that has badly overshot their resource requirements has collapsed.  Do you have any real reason to believe this one is any different?

I was thinking about how after jumping formally into the war in 1941, the way most everyone in the U.S. sacrificed and worked toward the common goal of defeating the enemies of time.  I suppose a monumental catastrophic event could bring people together across the political spectrum in a mass effort to minimize waste of resources.  Will it be too late to mitigate the worst effects?  Maybe, but better late than never. 

The thing that gives me hope is the realization of all the waste we currently have in the system and that large gains toward sustainability are possible given the proper motivation.

Good leaders can seize on opportunities to do exactly this. 9/11 would have been a great opportunity to reform US foreign policy and energy policy for the better. Instead we decided to spend trillions of dollars creating more terrorists. But another opportunity for improvement will come along.

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2015, 06:27:01 PM »
I think technology is developing quickly enough that we're already getting ourselves out of some of these resource problems. CA is going to 33% renewable energy in the next 5 years. And their vehicle fleet is more and more electric. Batteries are getting cheaper and cheaper. I own 2 electric cars and no gas burner. We only need a very small amount of land dedicated to solar panels (like on people's roofs) to be 100% solar as a country, including transportation energy. Solar, wind, and batteries. Throw in the legacy hydro, and that's all you need. It's quickly getting cost competitive too. Something like 12% of homeowners in HI have solar on their roof because it's dramatically cheaper than their utility rates. This is the future and we will get there, even if it takes 20 years.

We're pushing the resource problems to other countries, certainly.  China being the usual example, and one country that is burning through coal at an utterly immense rate to power the factories that ship stuff to the US on container ships.

We'll see.  Most of the research papers done on the subject of "moving to fully renewable resources" indicate that in order to have a reasonable chance of doing it, the transition needs to start ~20 years before peak oil.  That would have been the late 70s/early 80s.  We can still do some of the work now, but the likelyhood of a smooth transition over to renewables is less and less every year.

California may manage to get some percentage of their current energy needs to renewable, but that doesn't count the embodied energy in manufacture (most of which is not done in California due to their banning of many common materials), and it especially doesn't count the energy needed to handle the water crises that's coming.

The future you see with wind, solar, batteries, etc, is possible.  I just don't see it as being likely.  I'm willing to give the wildcards (Elon Musk is currently one hell of a wildcard) a chance, which is why I still keep some resources in the current system, but "power at the wall" is such a tiny part of the energy use involved in modern industrial society that, while necessary, it's not a sufficient condition to keep things going.

There's also the financial system, which right now functions to enable a lot of the alternative energy work.  If it freezes up or craters, as overextended, debt-based financial systems have historically tended to do, the long term funding for renewables may dry up.

We'll see.  I'm less optimistic about the future, just having seen what happened in the past, and seeing how dysfunctional our current political systems are at anything faintly resembling long term planning.

It absolutely does. But it's also really conducive to solar and wind power to provide that energy. Even if they are a little intermittent, the plant doesn't need to run at full speed the whole time. Storing up water is a great way to avoid needing batteries and fossil fuel.

Recycling water is much less energy intensive. I think that's where the cities will go before too long.

Recycling water is nice for that which can be recycled, though an awful lot evaporates off lawns & pools & such.  And then there's agriculture, which is it's own nasty problem.

As far as desalinization plants and renewables, that's certainly theoretically possible, though I don't think the numbers work terribly well.

According to http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/environment/2014/08/21/usgs-estimates-vast-amounts-water-used-california/14400333/, California uses ~38B gallons/day (1.43846e8 cubic meters).

To provide 30% of that through desalinization (which is probably as good a guess as any for the shortfalls in CA currently), at 3kwh/m^3 (about the best you can do with reverse osmosis, according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desalination), takes (by my math) 429 GWh/day, or a 24-hour sustained rate of ~18GW.

According to http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/total_system_power.html, California's total power consumption in 2013 was 296,628 GWH - or a sustained rate of (296,628 / 365 / 24) = ~34GW.

So to provide 30% of CA's water use through the most energy efficient desalinization process available would require another 50% of CA's current energy use, as a rough order of magnitude.

That's "Significant."

I was thinking about how after jumping formally into the war in 1941, the way most everyone in the U.S. sacrificed and worked toward the common goal of defeating the enemies of time.  I suppose a monumental catastrophic event could bring people together across the political spectrum in a mass effort to minimize waste of resources.  Will it be too late to mitigate the worst effects?  Maybe, but better late than never. 

The thing that gives me hope is the realization of all the waste we currently have in the system and that large gains toward sustainability are possible given the proper motivation.

Why do you think we're so different from other civilizations that were in the same boat and died off?

mozar

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2015, 07:14:50 PM »
I have factored it into my life plans, and FI factors in as well. When I was looking to buy the cheapest houses in my area were in a 100 year flood plain. I thought heck no, all bets are off with climate change. I bought a house at the top of a hill. I bought in a co-op community which self governs. They've got it together and I think we will be more resilient than most. We have gardens for everyone to use and connections to local farmers. All of the main co-op buildings are on solar.  I live near NASA which also means lots of engineers living nearby.
But I think the shtf topics are interesting. No matter what, the rich always survive more easily than the poor. That's my takeaway.

When society "collapses" historically that meant that people just moved somewhere or had fewer kids. From what I've read, the worst thing that has ever happened in history is the native american holocaust. Where 40-60 million people started dying quickly (because of exposure to smallbox). To live in the era, when everyone you love is dying must have been horrific.
In terms of governments it seems like every few hundred years a government will just up and decide they're not doing this anymore. When the Roman empire collapsed, my understanding is they could no longer sustain their military. Nobody died though. Just meant that all of the sudden there was no government. People still denominated their money in Roman currency for a few hundred years after that. Even the "collapse" of the dinosaurs took thousands and years. Many dinosaurs were born and died before the last ones died.
Decline will seem slow to us. But in hindsight will be very fast.

Syonyk

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2015, 07:29:07 PM »
The interesting factor this time around is that we literally cannot feed the world's population without extensive fossil fueled agriculture (for fertilizer, tractors, transportation, etc).

I mean, we've gone so far insane that turning one's front yard into a garden is against an awful lot of HOA clauses. :/

FIKristen

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2015, 07:36:29 PM »
We've factored it into the equation from an ethical point of view by trying to make sure our sources of income contribute as little to climate change as possible.  We've invested in highly energy efficient rental properties, complete with solar panels.   We actually get higher rental income because the rentals are green too, and the maintenance and utility expenses are lower, which is good for us and the tenants.  We we expect to get slightly higher profits when we eventually sell too (some recent studies have found that properties with solar panels sell for 3-8% more than standard comps.)   

Kris

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2015, 04:18:23 PM »
We plan to remain relatively flexible in our plans by not buying property and traveling lightly (a carry-on suitcase each plus a box of items that we'll ship around from place to place -- and our cat, which is another story...).  We will, I am sure, take climate change and the resulting severe weather scenarios into account when choosing places to settle (e.g., no hurricane zones). Beyond that, we haven't thought more about it, as we recognize that it is not possible to anticipate everything.

Abe

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2015, 04:42:57 PM »
I think our quality of life in the future will be similar, unless one equates it with owning a bunch of junk and driving or flying hundreds of miles on a whim. The very energy intensive industrial sectors (metal production, concrete production) may decline as their costs rise and people adjust by not building as many roads, bridges or skyscrapers. Rather than collapse, I think US society will return to the early industrial era where most people rarely left their county, travel across the country requires a lot of planning, and we ate what could be grown in our area. As costs of non essential things rise, people will just have to buy less of them. Apple won't be able to churn out hundreds of millions of iPhones, but essential technology infrastructure will probably be preserved. To think society will fully collapse implies all these for-profit companies will just roll over and die when fossil fuels become expensive, rather than investing in renewable energy because they have no other choice. That seems unlikely. Overall our quality of life will be similar but in important ways better than the early 1950s. Our technology and communication abilities makes us significantly more resilient than pre-industrial societies.

Left

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2015, 04:47:58 PM »
Isn't factoring in being a snow bird also factoring in climate? :) summers up north and winters down south

Syonyk

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #30 on: May 25, 2015, 06:08:37 PM »
Rather than collapse, I think US society will return to the early industrial era where most people rarely left their county, travel across the country requires a lot of planning, and we ate what could be grown in our area.

Look at how many people were in the US during that era, and look at how many people the US has to support now.  Also factor in the utter destruction of our fertile farmland - it's reasonable, at this point, to call soil "a sterile sponge to support the plant roots and hold fertilizers."  Returning to that era will take a lot of time and, more than likely, a lot fewer people.

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...but essential technology infrastructure will probably be preserved. To think society will fully collapse implies all these for-profit companies will just roll over and die when fossil fuels become expensive, rather than investing in renewable energy because they have no other choice. That seems unlikely.

Essential technology infrastructure will be preserved... why?  We can't even keep our roads and bridges intact in the US, the power grid is an aging nightmare, but we're sure laser focused on keeping Wall Street happy.  Some companies will re-focus eventually, but the phrase, "Too little, too late" is likely to apply - switching a country over to a renewable grid is not a trivial project, and requires a lot of resources that are, at least currently, provided through fossil fuels (look at the various mining operations for an idea of just how much diesel goes into a solar panel).

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Overall our quality of life will be similar but in important ways better than the early 1950s. Our technology and communication abilities makes us significantly more resilient than pre-industrial societies.

We'll see.  I think the technology and communications will be first to fail as it becomes either economically or technically infeasible to keep them running as things downsize.

forummm

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2015, 07:45:55 PM »
Wow, I am way less pessimistic than some of you. I think that expecting technology and communications to fail is wildly outside of the realm of reasonable possibilities of climate change consequences. Nuclear war, sure. But not climate change. Climate change could kill most of life in the ocean, could make certain areas more fertile and other areas less fertile, could make getting water more expensive, etc. Some heavily populated coastal areas could become underwater. The richer nations will be able to handle it--it will just be very suboptimal. The poorer nations could have a lot more trouble dealing with things.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2015, 07:49:42 PM »
I'm pretty pessimistic. It just so happens my natural love of gardening and interest into expanding that into homesteading at a larger scale is the perfect hedge (in the regions we're examining).

Syonyk

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2015, 08:33:13 PM »
Wow, I am way less pessimistic than some of you.

Do you have any reasons for your beliefs?

I can point to the utter destruction of previous civilizations and the utter loss of almost all their information, their language, etc, to back my views.  And that's civilizations that documented stuff in stone!  A CD or DVD is utterly useless without a sufficient technology base except as a shiny bauble.

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I think that expecting technology and communications to fail is wildly outside of the realm of reasonable possibilities of climate change consequences. Nuclear war, sure. But not climate change.

What time span are you considering?  I'm looking forward 100-150 years, which I won't be around for.  And are you considering everything else building up, or solely climate change?  If climate change were the only problem, it would be one thing, but combined with debt, peak oil, radically reduced EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) values, and the utter inability of our political system to think long term, it looks a lot more bleak.

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Climate change could kill most of life in the ocean...

You do realize this is almost certainly followed by the end of humans and an awful lot of other life, right?  50-80% of the oxygen is produced by the ocean, depending on who you ask.

vagon

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2015, 11:44:05 PM »
Anyone who has done project management will tell you the follies of trying to accurately predict months ahead, let alone decades or more.
That said I dont see anything inherently wrong with becoming self sufficient.

It is the same philosophy behind regularly investing in an index without timing the market or picking specific stocks.
You can invest in skills and risk measures across the board without spending large sums on supplies/stockpiles or trying to pick a specific parcel of land.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2015, 05:14:50 AM »
You do realize this is almost certainly followed by the end of humans and an awful lot of other life, right?  50-80% of the oxygen is produced by the ocean, depending on who you ask.

The residence time of oxygen in the atmosphere is 4,500 years. Phytoplankton is not going to be eliminated by global warming. This is not a reasonable concern.

forummm

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2015, 06:17:00 AM »
Wow, I am way less pessimistic than some of you.

Do you have any reasons for your beliefs?

I can point to the utter destruction of previous civilizations and the utter loss of almost all their information, their language, etc, to back my views.  And that's civilizations that documented stuff in stone!  A CD or DVD is utterly useless without a sufficient technology base except as a shiny bauble.

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I think that expecting technology and communications to fail is wildly outside of the realm of reasonable possibilities of climate change consequences. Nuclear war, sure. But not climate change.

What time span are you considering?  I'm looking forward 100-150 years, which I won't be around for.  And are you considering everything else building up, or solely climate change?  If climate change were the only problem, it would be one thing, but combined with debt, peak oil, radically reduced EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) values, and the utter inability of our political system to think long term, it looks a lot more bleak.

Quote
Climate change could kill most of life in the ocean...

You do realize this is almost certainly followed by the end of humans and an awful lot of other life, right?  50-80% of the oxygen is produced by the ocean, depending on who you ask.

I've done a lot of research on climate change and energy. I'm not a historian, but I think empires tend to have been destroyed by war, or by being subsumed by a stronger power, or by evolving into a less-coordinated structure. I don't know how to use the word "civilizations" in this context. It appears that humanity has gotten only more and more advanced in technology as time as gone one.

I'm thinking more about the next 50-80 years. I have little chance of being alive beyond that. And predicting chaotic systems that far into the future is folly anyhow. Debt is just money we owe to ourselves. I'm not sure why you are panicking about it. Who cares when oil peaks? We will stop using it before we run out of it. I don't think you understand how the economics of renewable energy are improving and have improved. They are cost-competitive with gas without subsidies in many places. And improvements are still being made. If we had any reasonable system to internalize externalities of fossil fuels, renewables would instantly be the cheapest option and would be installed everywhere. The EROEI is positive.

Plants make a lot of oxygen. I'm not worried about oxygen levels anytime in the near future. The ocean is more of a carbon sink at this point, and may lose that ability over time as it becomes more saturated.

Baron235

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2015, 06:55:33 AM »
Wow, I am way less pessimistic than some of you.

Do you have any reasons for your beliefs?

I can point to the utter destruction of previous civilizations and the utter loss of almost all their information, their language, etc, to back my views.  And that's civilizations that documented stuff in stone!  A CD or DVD is utterly useless without a sufficient technology base except as a shiny bauble.

Quote
I think that expecting technology and communications to fail is wildly outside of the realm of reasonable possibilities of climate change consequences. Nuclear war, sure. But not climate change.

What time span are you considering?  I'm looking forward 100-150 years, which I won't be around for.  And are you considering everything else building up, or solely climate change?  If climate change were the only problem, it would be one thing, but combined with debt, peak oil, radically reduced EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) values, and the utter inability of our political system to think long term, it looks a lot more bleak.

Quote
Climate change could kill most of life in the ocean...

You do realize this is almost certainly followed by the end of humans and an awful lot of other life, right?  50-80% of the oxygen is produced by the ocean, depending on who you ask.
This is hilarious.  No one knows what will happen in 10 years and you are calling someone out saying your prediction for a 100 to 150 years is more accurate. 

Bottom line, become financial independent and try to become self sufficient as possible. 


MetalCap

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2015, 07:46:17 AM »
Anyone who has done project management will tell you the follies of trying to accurately predict months ahead, let alone decades or more.
That said I dont see anything inherently wrong with becoming self sufficient.


Yet as PM's we do so all the time.  We have projects scheduled out years in advance and they perform at least 60% more efficiently than those that are unplanned.  It is way better to take the factors and variables in to account and have a plan ahead of time than forge ahead without a plan at all. Altering the plan is way easier than making it up when you're already elbows deep in it.

On a micro level, that means identifying your weaknesses and shoring them up (mechanical repair knowledge, water/energy conservation, etc).  On a macro level it means planning for the effects and attempting to avoid, stop or reverse these effects.


Syonyk

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2015, 08:02:15 AM »
I've done a lot of research on climate change and energy. I'm not a historian, but I think empires tend to have been destroyed by war, or by being subsumed by a stronger power, or by evolving into a less-coordinated structure. I don't know how to use the word "civilizations" in this context. It appears that humanity has gotten only more and more advanced in technology as time as gone one.

"Destroyed by war or subsumed by a stronger power" is something that happens once they've already effectively disappeared/been gutted, and there's not much left to take over, so a weak power from the outside can do it.  Others just disappear quietly into the night as their agricultural base degrades and they leave the cities to go seek the ability to survive elsewhere.

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I'm thinking more about the next 50-80 years. I have little chance of being alive beyond that.

Totally fair.  I'd like to at least ensure my kids have a decent understanding of what's going on in the world, so I like to think a bit longer.

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And predicting chaotic systems that far into the future is folly anyhow.

Making short term predictions (5-10 years) about civilizations is hard.  History shows that the longer term arc of civilizations is reasonably constant throughout history, if varying a bit on the time scales, but general trends show up and can be used for prediction.  The long story arc of civilizations radically overshooting their resource base is very similar between civilizations.  We've just managed to do it in a truly spectacular fashion.

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Debt is just money we owe to ourselves. I'm not sure why you are panicking about it. Who cares when oil peaks? We will stop using it before we run out of it.

Each of those, standing alone, is probably not a civilization ending problem (though they're very significant in how our economy functions).  Combined, adding in the damage climate change will do, and various other factors, it looks a whole lot more like the "perfect storm" is coming, and the end result is likely not going to be a smooth transition into something sustainable at a current energy consumption level.  Humanity will stick around, but Detroit is a better picture of the mid-term future for a lot of cities than is Star Trek.

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I don't think you understand how the economics of renewable energy are improving and have improved. They are cost-competitive with gas without subsidies in many places. And improvements are still being made. If we had any reasonable system to internalize externalities of fossil fuels, renewables would instantly be the cheapest option and would be installed everywhere. The EROEI is positive.

I'm familiar with the economics of renewable energy and the improvements being made, and I'm also familiar with the extreme difficulties of successfully integrating variable, distributed power sources into a stable power grid that's designed to be centrally powered by fossil fuels.  We'll see.  The most likely path for a lot of areas is smaller micro grids that are less reliable than the current grids, but still provide some benefits of electricity.

That the EROEI is positive, I don't argue.  I will, however, point out that we built our civilization on much, much higher yielding energy sources, and we've got a lot of those assumptions baked in.  If we're spending 25% of the output of our civilization on energy production (for a 4:1 source, which is within the range of a lot of actual renewable output as opposed to nameplate capacity), that's a huge change, and we'll see how things adapt to it.  I'm not sure people are going to be willing to do that for long, but I could be wrong.

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Plants make a lot of oxygen. I'm not worried about oxygen levels anytime in the near future. The ocean is more of a carbon sink at this point, and may lose that ability over time as it becomes more saturated.

Near future?  I agree.  Long term future?  We'll see.

It's also entirely valid to write me off as a weird pessimist who doesn't see that we have Technology(TM), so things will of course be better!

I think it is within the realm of technically possible to make a major transition to renewables, and maintain some (not all, but some) of the energy-intensive lifestyles we currently live.

I also think it's politically very, very unlikely for that to happen, as it requires a significant expenditure of real wealth on infrastructure, and our political system has proven utterly incapable of long term planning.

sunday

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2015, 08:37:47 AM »
Climate change and uncertainty about the global sustainability of the near future is one of the big reasons we're not having kids. I'm pretty sure the current situation can hold out for at least another 40-60 years while we're here, but if it really gets that bad before then, I figure I can always voluntarily check out.

kallinan

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2015, 09:00:45 AM »
Hi all:

I'm curious how people are factoring in climate change to their FI plans? It seems to me that once the planet really gets cooking--say late 2020s and 2030s--that the 4 percent rule may not hold up. Or your rental property in the Southwest isn't worth anything. For me, I'd have a hard time relying on an asset that depends on the Colorado river. So that means, no counting on spending the next 30-40 years in a home where the water source was the Colorado river. Same thing if the home was at sea level in a hurricane zone.

...

I'm thinking out loud here, but my basic thinking goes: the big goal of FI is resilience and independence -> FI equates resilience and independence with the 4 percent rule -> the 4 percent rule assumes the stock market will behave as it has in the past -> but, the stock market may not behave as it has in the past due to climate change. And, (1) we can find examples of big, diversified stock markets that haven't gone up; and (2) people hedging against risk in non-traditional ways, like bomb-shelters.

So has anyone (1) considered the effects of climate change on their FI plans and (2) done anything weird to hedge against it?

Am I considering the effects of climate change?   Yes.

We are making sure that we're comfortable with the temperatures we currently live with, and then even if we have to add 5 degrees to it.   We're also considering water supply.  While rain & snowfall from year-to-year can be wildly unpredictable, the stresses put on a water system are fairly predictable.  Ergo, we're not moving to Arizona anytime soon.

Am I doing anything weird to hedge against it?  No, FI is the "weirdest" thing we're doing.  Because having a big stash of cash is a great hedge against the world doing crazy shit.   Yes, the stock market can crash.   But outside of that, it allows us to react and make changes that wage slaves & paycheck-to-paycheck livers can't.

If I really let my fears take hold, I'd learn a couple builder trades (plumbing, electrician, etc.), build a fortified house in southern Oregon, buy a couple guns and wait for the coming apocalypse.  But I'm actually too much an optimist for that.  I think that while climate change & stuff might get bad, humanity will start to put its impressive resources towards such problems before we actually destroy the world.

So for me, choosing a cheap, cool (in both sense of the word) place to live that has ample water and having a big 'stash is my current plan.

And also remember, Mustachianism is more than just about FI.  If I had to work again for a bit?   No big deal.   I've done it for years, I can do it again.

forummm

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #42 on: May 26, 2015, 09:28:58 AM »
Instead of quoting the long post, I'll just respond to the fossil fuel oriented electrical grid. The intermittent nature of solar and wind power is an issue. In addition to doing things like balancing load to meat supply (such as with water pumping and water treatment as mentioned above), grid storage is now economical in many places and will be increasingly so. Tesla has reservations for the next year+ of production of its Powerwall, and only within days of announcing its existence. Much of that demand is from utilities. It's cheaper in some cases to build huge batteries locally to store cheap electricity than to build new powerlines to bring higher capacity into dense areas. This kind of grid storage is a key part of making a renewable grid more feasible. And batteries are only going to continue to get cheaper (8-10% per year recently), lighter, more efficient, etc. Tesla's Gigafactory will produce more kWh of batteries than the entire world did in 2013. That's a lot of economy of scale waiting to happen.

Kaminoge

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #43 on: May 26, 2015, 09:39:42 AM »
I'm watching as many seasons as possible of "Preppers"... that counts as being prepared right?

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #44 on: May 26, 2015, 09:49:01 AM »
Great discussion.

Absolutely, consideration for climate change, peak oil, the long decline, etc. plays into our life. I wouldn't say that I am actively worried, but we have made a number of investments in renewable energy, water harvesting, and on-site food production that are a nice buffer against ecological uncertainty. The biggest investment is just in time and knowledge: I am a passionate gardener, and the more time I spend growing my own food, the more comfortable I am with my ability to do so in sub-optimum conditions. We also practice food storage. This isn't anything crazy, but I buy beans in bulk and have an extra 5 gallon bucket in the garage. That kind of thing.

I feel like having a food stache and a money stache gives us greater resilience and helps keep us anti-fragile in our approach to life. I wrote a post that was a bit of a thought-experiement on what climate change means to gardeners last year (http://www.nwedible.com/what-does-climate-change-mean-for-gardeners/) and my take-away for us was that our geographic location (Western Washington, not at sea level) is actually a pretty good place to hunker down and ride out whatever may come.

My inlaws recently moved up here from Central Cali, and one of their drivers was the water issue. There are so many low-cost ways that water could be more effectively managed in CA, but I honestly don't see major improvements happening any time soon because it's such a political quagmire.

Syonyk

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #45 on: May 26, 2015, 10:04:13 AM »
Instead of quoting the long post, I'll just respond to the fossil fuel oriented electrical grid. The intermittent nature of solar and wind power is an issue. In addition to doing things like balancing load to meat supply (such as with water pumping and water treatment as mentioned above), grid storage is now economical in many places and will be increasingly so. Tesla has reservations for the next year+ of production of its Powerwall, and only within days of announcing its existence. Much of that demand is from utilities. It's cheaper in some cases to build huge batteries locally to store cheap electricity than to build new powerlines to bring higher capacity into dense areas. This kind of grid storage is a key part of making a renewable grid more feasible. And batteries are only going to continue to get cheaper (8-10% per year recently), lighter, more efficient, etc. Tesla's Gigafactory will produce more kWh of batteries than the entire world did in 2013. That's a lot of economy of scale waiting to happen.

We'll see what happens.  Energy storage is economical right now because of peaking costs, which are quite high.  I don't know if it's feasible once a grid has substantial surpluses and is running negative power costs (as happens over in Europe on occasion with windy nights).  The deployment of EVs may help with soaking this energy, which would be useful.

However, as you note, there are occasional wildcards like Tesla (or, more specifically, Elon Musk, who functions to his own drummer and cares about long term sustainability).  I don't know how much impact they'll have, but it's certainly a major factor to consider.

Jack

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2015, 11:14:27 AM »
Desalinization requires immense amounts of energy.

It absolutely does. But it's also really conducive to solar and wind power to provide that energy. Even if they are a little intermittent, the plant doesn't need to run at full speed the whole time. Storing up water is a great way to avoid needing batteries and fossil fuel.

Recycling water is much less energy intensive. I think that's where the cities will go before too long.

Not to mention, if all else fails, there's always fission. It's politically unpalatable, but it works just fine.

My FI plan is to buy acreage, including a stream, in the Appalachian mountains and build a (mostly) self-sufficient homestead, ideally powered by micro-hydro (i.e., a water wheel). I'm tempted to go ahead and buy it now (in case SHTF sooner, rather than later) but don't want the drag on my finances. My parents are currently trying to decide where to move, and I'm trying to gently persuade them to buy something suitable for me to inherit...

Meanwhile, my wife and I are investing time in learning useful DIY skills (cooking, gardening, home / auto / bike repair, knitting & sewing, etc.) and learning to live as efficiently as possible in our current house in the city.

I hate to say it, but I have to admit that I'm not too incredibly worried about my family -- I don't doubt that global warming will cause huge problems worldwide, but I suspect people in places like Bangladesh will suffer the brunt of it (with things like massive famines and other catastrophes) while we in the US will merely have to deal with a slightly lower standard of living. The main danger to rich westerners would be if our countries get involved in wars over resources.

By the way: for those of you who like thinking about these sorts of things, read the novel "Alas, Babylon." It's pretty good.

Eric

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2015, 01:18:50 PM »
Jacob at ERE has climate change factored extensively into his plans.  You should do some searching over there if you're interested in the subject. 

As for myself, I don't think it will be that big of deal.  (meaning it won't have a huge impact on daily life)  I wouldn't want to plan to live in SoCal or Phoenix long term, but other than picking a non-desert climate, there's not much to do.  Make sure my insurance is up to date in case of natural disaster and maybe factor in a slightly higher budget for food and water.  Sure, some things will change, and we'll adapt, as we always have.

You want to hedge your risks against climate change?  Buy stocks that profit from it.

How do you hedge your risk against the stock market, as a thing, no longer existing?

Or as an alternative, the sea level could rise a handful of inches, and the stock market could cease to exist.  Poof!  Pardon my optimism, but Hahahahahahahahaha

forummm

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #48 on: May 26, 2015, 01:25:45 PM »
Desalinization requires immense amounts of energy.

It absolutely does. But it's also really conducive to solar and wind power to provide that energy. Even if they are a little intermittent, the plant doesn't need to run at full speed the whole time. Storing up water is a great way to avoid needing batteries and fossil fuel.

Recycling water is much less energy intensive. I think that's where the cities will go before too long.

Not to mention, if all else fails, there's always fission. It's politically unpalatable, but it works just fine.

Or fusion--someday if the science works out.

Syonyk

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Re: Is in anyone factoring in climate change to their FI plans?
« Reply #49 on: May 26, 2015, 01:34:56 PM »
Fusion has been 5-10 years away from being commercially viable for the past 50 years.