Too much weather is bad for businessDecember 5, 2012: 5:00 AM ET
Reduce carbon emissions? Move away from seacoasts? Or hunker down and wait for the next big blow?
FORTUNE -- I think we can all agree that there's far too much $!@#$ weather going on around here. It's one thing when you read about it or see it on YouTube or TV, the $!@#$ weather causing distress for people in faraway places. You can feel bad for them, send money to the Red Cross or Sean Penn, and feel good about living in a locale where people consider weather something you only occasionally have to think about as more than a serious inconvenience. But every year it's pretty clear that we're all getting a lot more $!@#$ weather to contend with. In the '90s we had black ice. More recently there are new, massive superstorms. The $!@#$ weather is developing into a serious problem, because now it's getting in the way of business. And as a very mediocre President once said, the business of America is business, not the $!@#$ weather.
The other day I had stuff to do in Los Angeles and then had to go to New York. In Los Angeles a fine mist is considered a reason to be two hours late to work. That morning it was really raining. Nobody was going anywhere. "It's raining!" people would cry out to one another, as if Krakatoa had just exploded. This is probably the place to offer my theory that our $!@#$ weather is moving south. Seattle, for instance, now has Vancouver's climate. It's as cold as San Francisco in L.A. these days, and if you want L.A.'s old weather you have to go to San Diego. I think Mexico is pretty much the same as it was, except it has no government. But that's not weather-related, I don't think.
In L.A. the airport was reporting huge delays and canceled flights because of the $!@#$ weather in New York, which by then had actually graduated from "weather" to a full-scale act of God. I finagled a ride on a redeye NetJet. That got me where I was going and expanded my carbon footprint to the size of Sasquatch, but what can I say? I had work to do!
But you can't work when there's too much $!@#$ weather around, can you? In New York I was the only person who could get into the office, which had no heat, no light, and worst of all, no e-mail, so I went home and did nothing at all for an unconscionable amount of time. I hate doing nothing. The business of America is not doing nothing. It's doing something. A week later we had snow. Snow!
So that brings us to the question of our day. Forget the economy. What are we going to do about the weather?
We could reduce carbon emissions and begin to address the greenhouse effect. Unfortunately this is not likely to happen. The people who might favor this line of attack are Democrats, and they can't get anything done without the Republicans, who view the weather as a partisan issue. On a personal note, I find it almost impossible to reduce the emissions that I'm responsible for. I'm sure you're the same. So let's move on.
We could all move away from what are clearly endangered areas. If you live close to sea level, pack up and go. But where? The Midwest has drought and an increase in tornado activity. Canada is very cold and still belongs to the Canadians, at least for the time being. Besides, it's amazing how when people are presented with the obvious fact that their environment is no longer viable, they just say ho hum and stay there. Hence the amazing sight of multiple houses on stilts in San Francisco and the continued existence of New Orleans in the same place.
Or we could simply lock ourselves into hermetically sealed offices and wait for the next big blow. Oh, wait. We've already done that. Works for me! You too? Good. In the meantime let's have lunch.
This story is from the December 3, 2012 issue of Fortune.
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