Reg and Syd: That Sucking Sound Is Coming From the Cloud

Reg: Hah! Still think any of this climate change nonsense is going to hurt business, Syd?”

Syd: “Let’s just say, Reg, that I continue to look for prudent investment opportunities in this sector.”

Reg: “Of course, of course! As do we all, for every sector. We will happily take the military’s money for so long as they’re convinced that they’ll have to move or refit bases due to sea levels rising or weather doing strange things. But the consumer sector? They’d better be talking real money, not like these Uber or Lyft or WeWork scams! God, how stupid can people be?”

Syd: “Stupid enough to not know that their actions speak way louder than their words?”

Reg: Exactly!”

Syd: “I thought that’s where you probably were going with this. We’ve already talked about how the millennials said one thing about cars but did exactly the opposite. Now what?

Reg: “Do you stream stuff on your phone?”

Syd: “Are you kidding? Business only! I have a hard enough time keeping up with the miserable level of intrusion I get from that. My son, on the other hand … [sigh].”

Reg: “If your son uses his phone for streaming, and social media, and all of that half as much as my daughter, I will have to offer you my most sincere and heartfelt condolences.”

Syd: “And she’s still doing the climate warrior thing? Sounds like it’s I who should be offering the condolences.”

Reg: “None needed. I have the upper hand, and she knows it. She tries to hammer me with some video about polar bears or something, I just text back ‘so how big a carbon footprint did you need to send me this garbage?’ She gets real quiet, real fast.”

Syd: “The carbon footprint of the ‘cloud’ is as big as that of air travel?? And is growing?!? I knew that Big Data is big, but not that big!”

Reg: “And yes of course, the ‘cloud’ providers are promising to do something about that footprint. Someday. Nice propaganda, that ‘someday’. Makes the ignorant, and the wishful thinkers, believe that ‘someday’ might actually happen at the speed of business. Sorry, hopeful monsters, that ground’s been plowed. Investors aren’t going to be letting snake oil sellers walk away with billions while their money goes down the rathole. Show me where the profit’s going to come from, now, I might be interested. In the meantime, there are excellent reasons why no real decline in fossil fuel use, globally, is projected until 2050, and my portfolios will reflect those realities.

Syd: “No free lunch, is there?”

Reg: “Of course not. You get worried about one aspect of some problem, like climate change, you go to work on it. You think you’ve fixed it, but you find you’ve only shuffled the problem someplace else, and you don’t even know it’s there until it bites you in the ass. Mostly, because you refuse to look until after it’s too late. Now iterate.

“I’ve said repeatedly, the only way that this climate change thing is going to go away is for the human population to, at worst, stop growing, and for each person in the remaining population to use less. On the order, in these United States, of about 2/3rds less energy per person over current levels. Right. Good luck prying those cell phones out of the hands of your grandchildren. Good luck turning off the air conditioning on all those retirees in Arizona and Florida, and, increasingly, in Hawaii, which set a lot of high temperature records last month. Good luck stopping people from traveling when and how they want to. And if you try, and our Donald has gone away, his followers are right there to remind you that they are not going backwards. Not for the likes of hypocrites posing as social liberals. Only if there’s a national emergency will people, for a short while, contemplate making personal standard-of-living sacrifices.”

Syd: “You mean, like the war with Iran that our Donald is picking?”

Reg: “Do not be unworthy, Sydney. Under whose Presidencies have the last two major economic booms occurred and been sustained?”

Syd: “Our Donald’s. And [ptui!] Clinton’s.”

Reg: “The two Presidents since Andrew Johnson who have had articles of impeachment read against them. Don’t you see the service they’re providing us, especially Donald? They provide the sideshow, while we run things to our liking, and are trusted to do so. And war remains the most profitable enterprise possible, especially if those trusting employees of ours can be induced to make the sacrifices that will help society – meaning, mostly, us!”

Syd: “OK, I guess. But I do hope that the Iranians and whomever they get to help them don’t sink any of our nuclear-powered warships, especially our carriers. Speaking of environmental damage.”

Reg: “Sam? A bottle of our finest from the cellar. I can’t think of a better way to help Sydney here get back to his normal, chipper, upbeat, supportive self.”

Sam: “Sounds like your friend’s been beating around the bushes, sir.”

Reg: “Well, don’t you do the same. Off you go.”

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