Corporate-Funded Climate Modelers Could Save The Mathematically Lost Boys

"Peter Pan playing the Pipes." Image credit:Wikipedia

Environmentalists, government regulators, and captains of industry all rely on mathematical modeling to gain insights into how the future might turn, were a regulation passed, an investment made, or a market strategy taken. The method is a half-century in the making.

In the mid-1970's - 40 years ago - mainframe computer renditions of the Streeter-Phelps Equation were used to allocate wastewater discharge permit limits for US industries and municipalities alike: you read the output, negotiated with stakeholders, and took your best shot at the future. Somehow we all survived. Same for air quality: air pollution controls and permit limits were based on variations of the Gaussian air pollutant dispersion equation, first derived in 1947. Doing the corporate math.
Whether it's a home-brewed spreadsheet or an industrial process or a marketing model, business relies on formal mathematics to operate and to monitor results and satisfy investors. A bank can't hardly even sell a 'derivative' anymore based just on a back of the envelope calculation.

What would the founding fathers say?
Which brings us to the present-day Republican Party schizophrenia over mathematical projections of the future. They love their Ryann-budget spreadsheet projections, Competitive Enterprise Institute-style, but can't stand a UN-style IPCC climate model. They worship their loosely characterized Independence Day era heroes while demonizing a thousand or so peer reviewed modernists who portrayed a future at risk from over use of Colonial Era technology (coal burning).

In short, the former Party of Business has become the party of the Mathematicall Challenged Lost Boys. What does business see in a shared future with the boys?

The Peter Pan solution.
Republicans own policy from Island USA, through broadcast media and political brilliance. At a higher level, however, lobbyists plot strategy and elected officials execute. Party affiliation matters little.

As happened with the Montreal Protocol and with air and water and groundwater modeling before, leaders of industry could, if they wished, direct the oncoming climate-action train in their investor's and society's best interest. Let the lost boys follow the lead.

To achieve this, corporations would need to create a shadow IPCC. Would not cost much money in comparison to the spending by the shadowy entities following on the US Supreme Court Citizens United decision; but, expensive still, for sure. (The Shadow eventually would have to reattach with with the IPCC, once a consensus has been achieved on what is real and what is not.)

Who'd play the lead role?
CNN Money presents the list.
Wal-Mart rules the Fortune 500 for the second year in a row -- beating Exxon Mobil decisively.


  1. Wal-Mart Stores

  2. Exxon Mobil

  3. Chevron

  4. ConocoPhillips

  5. Fannie Mae

  6. General Electric

  7. Berkshire Hathaway

  8. General Motors

  9. Bank of America

  10. Ford Motor

Have fun at the fireworks in Pirate's Cove. It's Independence Day.

Tags: Corporate Responsibility