Global Cooling: Profitable Contrarian Investing?

by: Cam Hui, CFA

Global Cooling: Profitable Contrarian Investing?

I have penned a new monthly newsletter for the folks at Qwest Investment Management, entitled Global cooling: Profitable contrarian investing (pdf)?

Here is the abstract:

While it is critical that we take seriously our collective responsibility for the health of our global community, scientists today are debating the real cause of global warming and most recently the cooling trends. Prudent investors should monitor these debates as they may have an impact on their portfolios. For example, if scientists conclude we are now going through a global cooling phase, this would certainly impact pricing and/or demand for certain agricultural and energy commodities and subsequently affect portfolios.

This is a controversial topic. For those readers who would label me a denier, I would reply that I stand in the same camp as Phil Jones of the CRU when he stated in a BBC interview that:

It would be supposition on my behalf to know whether all scientists who say the debate is over are saying that for the same reason. I don't believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this. This is not my view. There is still much that needs to be undertaken to reduce uncertainties, not just for the future, but for the instrumental (and especially the palaeoclimatic) past as well.

Notwithstanding Al Gore's latest op-ed in the New York Times, I remain agnostic about whether the Earth is warming or cooling, or what the possible causes of any warming trend is. As an investor, however, we have to be aware that the consensus may be shifting and the big money can be made by correctly going against the crowd, especially when the crowd turns in your direction.