Sometimes, a warming planet can be good for business


At this time a week ago, with the bitter cold squeezing us for every thing we’re worth, it looked like the iconic Madeline Island Ferry on Lake Superior would call it a season. The ice was thickening and people were encouraged to move their cars to the mainland.

It hasn’t been that warm since but it’s been warm enough to change the outlook a bit.

The ferry is on a “take it as it comes” routine and now says it will operate at least through Wednesday, but it appears an increasing possibility that the ferry could operate this winter without interruption if it makes it through the next few weeks.

“How often does that happen,” I asked on Facebook today.

The response:

Bob, We had our first winter of non-stop operations in 1998, in 2002 we had a 1 week shut down and in 2006 we had a 2 week shut down. We also had a non-stop winter of operation in 2012. Climate change is have a very dramatic impact on the length of our operating season.

  • Jennifer Steffen

    Global warming will be devastating for businesses around the world in the long-run. This seems a flippant title regarding the most serious problem that humanity has caused, and will have to face. Have some long-run vision.

  • BJ

    //This seems a flippant title

    Yes it is. Ding, Ding. Sarcasm bells are going off.

  • Bob Collins
  • Jack Wolf

    About 10 years ago, I began to notice that most climate change reports and scientific papers use less than realistic emission scenarios in their calculations. Since these emissions are long lived, this has led to a deepening concern about the climate situation and its impacts, in my lifetime, and in your lifetime.

    This important talk by Dr. Anderson, link below, at the 2012 Cabot Lecture clearly points the finger at scientists for not accurately reporting how bad the climate situation is. He also explains why we cannot meet the 2 degree C (3.8 F) target set by the world’s government and its impacts on us today. His talk is timely in light of the recent report from the World Bank that found:

    “Even with the current mitigation pledges fully implemented, there is roughly a 20% likelihood of exceeding 4°C by 2100. If they are not met, warming of 4°C could occur as early as the 2060s.”

    Globally, we are nowhere close to meeting our mitigation pledges and long lived CO2 emissions continue to accumulate in the atmosphere at an accelerating rate. It’s like civilization has collectively said: Screw it. Dr. Anderson is very animated and I think you will find it enlightening.

  • Ted

    Sorry Bob, I’m with Jennifer on this one. Would you use a flippant title about Newtown? Katrina? Truth is, climate change has already cost many times more lives and livelihoods than those tragedies, and it’s just getting started. Lighten up? That’s the last thing we should do about a global crisis that literally threatens life as we know it but continues to go virtually unaddressed.

  • Bob Collins

    I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that a headline about a ferry continuing to operate through the winter really isn’t comparable to the slaughter of 26 people in Connecticut.

    If you really believe that the headline dismisses all aspects of climate change, if you really believe that it suggests all aspects of climate change should be treated as comedy, then, really, I have nothing for you here.

  • andy

    There’s nothing flippant about this headline. It’s the truth. I once lived near Bayfield and when the ferries aren’t running, they aren’t making money. There is no toll that the ferry company collects when driving your car on the ice road to LaPointe on Madeline Island. So yes, in this case, a warming planet is in fact helping this particular business. Lighten up folks.