Anticipating that the share of the world’s population over age 65 is growing, entrepreneurs are thinking about what business opportunities will be available from such predictable trends. The net effect of these investments will be that seniors will have an improved quality of life relative to previous cohorts. Similar forward looking logic applies in the case of climate change adaptation .
When I speak about my climate change book, undergraduates ask me; “You mean that climate change will cause technological innovation that will help us to adapt to climate change?” I respond that there is “missing link” to their logic leap. The anticipation of climate change and the havoc it could cause, leads some for profit firms to make costly investments now as they anticipate future profits from selling to desperate people down the road. From a law of large numbers, several of these innovations efforts will succeed. Ideas are public goods. In a world of 7 billion people, we need 1% of 1% of innovators to step up.