Guest Commentary by Bob Bunting – It’s Getting Hotter

Bob Bunting, a friend, meteorologist, and accomplished professor, has offered his insight on climate change via this guest commentary, It’s Hot and Getting Hotter – The Case for Adaptive Strategies for a Warming Planet. We appreciate his perspective and invite you to join the conversation.

David R. Kotok
Chairman and Chief Investment Officer
Email | Bio


It’s Hot and Getting Hotter – The Case for Adaptive Strategies for a Warming Planet

By Bob Bunting

As humanity contends with a hotter planet, more volatile weather, and higher sea levels, adaptive strategies offer a win-win approach for now and for the future. Where climate change is concerned, to fail to act is to plan to fail; but by proactively implementing adaptive strategies we can spur economic activity in the present, preserve property values and lifestyles, and help to ensure a viable future.

Bob Bunting

Back in the late 1970s and 1980s I was fortunate to be a scientist and executive at both NOAA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, NCAR. During this period the signal on manmade climate warming emerged from the noise. The first global atmospheric climate model went into use at NCAR. The early runs with and without the impulse of greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere by humans produced stunning contrasts. Without human greenhouse gas inputs, the model forecast little change in global temperatures; but with the impulse from mankind, the climate forecast indicated a troublesome warming during the 21st century. From that time onward, people fractured into climate-warming advocates and deniers. Led by remarkable consensus among scientists worldwide, the climate-warming forecast has seeped into the collective consciousness.

The NY Times Magazine recently featured a comprehensive review of what happened in Washington during the climate-warming realization period prior to 2000. The article detailed how and why the opportunity to limit climate warming was missed. At the time, many perceived a dramatic rollback of the carbon footprint of humans as hurting the US and other developed economies while simultaneously allowing developing counties to continue dirty development with old carbon-producing technologies.

Realizing that this difficult tradeoff was unlikely to be adopted, NCAR leadership began promoting the adaptive idea that climate warming presented a great economic opportunity for a technology-rich America and other advanced Western countries. Imagine developing India and China, whose goal was to turn the lights on for a few billion people, receiving cleaner-burning power plants and other more efficient technology from the West, thereby leapfrogging past their existing and soon-to-be-built dirty, high-carbon/high-sulfur coal power plants. Given the present state of affairs in 2018, it is clear this adaptive message fell on deaf ears! We can’t undo the past, and significant global warming is already baked into our future, so where can we go from here? Our message of 40 years ago is still the most effective one I have heard. Climate warming is not a theory but an unfolding reality. We estimate that the global temperature has increased about 1.1°C, or about 2°F, since 1880; and sea level has risen approximately 10 inches.

It’s Hot and Getting Hotter Graphic-2_1 - Sea Level Rise
Humankind can best deal with the consequences of climate change in an adaptive way that limits losers while maximizing winners. The imperative of slowing down, ending, and/or mitigating greenhouse emissions has received all the headlines. Meanwhile, unfortunately, the adaptive message has been lost. In addition to curbing emissions, we need to prepare for climate change that is already in the process of happening. I hope to move your thought in the direction of adaptive strategies because these strategies put us on the critical path to lasting solutions. But before we move forward, we need to grasp where we are now in the climate-warming scenario.

In the face of the rises in both global temperature and sea level, we continue to debate what is causing the global changes we have observed. The troublesome truth is that anthropogenic climate change is underway, and limiting additional greenhouse gas inputs from CO2, nitrous oxide, methane, etc. is critical to limiting the magnitude of the warming over the next few centuries. Even if miraculously the world could stop carbon emissions today, the Earth would continue to warm, and sea levels continue to rise until at least 2060. By then our children and grandchildren will be as old or older than we are now! It is in the best interest of our generation and the next few generations to focus on adaptive measures that can mitigate many of the impacts that we see now and that will increase over time. Humans must learn to address longer-term threats posed by climate change and act to protect future generations.

Adaptive strategies are at least part of the answer. For those of us living along the coast, managing sea level rise, for example, could well preserve our way of life now and for the next 50 years and probably beyond. We can, for example, preserve the value of our real estate, limit insurance premiums, and enhance the enjoyment of our adult and/or senior years. These and other benefits make adaptation personal and align with human instincts of self-interest and preservation.

Think, too, about the economic opportunities for small and large businesses that provide the adaptive solutions we need. Using the coastline as a continuing example, coastal engineers will design shoreline protection against additional sea level rise; providers will make or deliver materials to selectively harden and soften the shoreline to manage the rise and buffer more frequent and dangerous storm surges; consultants will help government on local, regional, and national levels to bridge the gap between need and implementation. We know that 80% of the world’s 7.5 billion people live close to the shore, and in Florida alone $6T of real estate is on the beach!

Moving inland, agriculture is likely to be an area where adaptation will pay large returns as the climate warms. The grain belts are located in many interior regions of the major continents. The US grain belts in the Midwest and plains, for example, will probably endure more frequent droughts and changes in the prime growing season. Drought, if not countered by adaptive strategies, could result in lower average crop yields. Adaptive strategies could include adjustments of planting and harvesting dates, changes in crop varieties, planting drought-resistant plants, separating fields with windbreaks, intermingling plots for grazing with those for planting, and developing alternatives for crop insurance.

I could go on, because there are hundreds of adaptive strategies in many economic segments that would mitigate the worst impacts of likely climate changes while enhancing economic activity. This is why I predict that adaptive climate change mitigation will become one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative business categories of the 21st century. We ought to help business see this opportunity and catalyze it for everyone, and the sooner the better!

So what is holding us back? One thought is that scientists necessarily present a range of outcomes and not precise forecasts, given the many uncertainties of making long-range predictions. The result has been a range of outcomes from 2°C to 6°C in temperature rise and 8 inches to 6.6 ft. of sea level rise by 2100. Given this large range, the impact could be quite manageable (but still significant) at the low end of the range and catastrophic at the upper end.

If you take away only one thing from this missive, it should be this. By 2100 the most likely range of temperature rise is, in my opinion, an additional 1.2–1.5°C rise in temperature and about 10–14 inches of further sea level rise. In order to reach these numbers, the current rate of sea level rise will have to advance from about 1 inch every 10 years to double that rate over the next 50 years. While these numbers are not pleasant, they portend real-world impacts that can be managed if we stop arguing about whether climate change is natural or manmade and start acknowledging that either way, the climate is warming and sea level is rising now.

It isn’t productive to wait for a 100% consensus as to the reasons for climate change. In the limited sense, who cares why? We all need to care about and address the adverse impacts no matter who or what is responsible. We buy insurance all the time for outcomes that are far less certain than climate warming and sea level rise. This is the message I have carried to business leaders, local government officials, and national congressional leaders in my sphere of influence. You can help by doing the same!

Bashing the media is not my intention, but the media becomes part of the problem when they hawk worst-case and least-probable scenarios. Sensationalizing promotes fear and creates a “deer in the headlights” syndrome that results in inaction. Showing, for example, how NYC could be underwater in 50 years without also classifying such an occurrence as about a 1% probability event is not helpful. Headlines presenting the worst-case and lowest-probability scenarios are both devastating and depressing because they tend to delay implementation of adaptive strategies. When people feel they have no options because they are going to be underwater, they are more likely to flee rather than to adapt. While climate warming has a fat-tail risk that should not be ignored, that risk also shouldn’t be the driver of paralysis that it has become.

If, however, the most likely scenario is presented, i.e., one with, say, an 80% chance of happening, society would be encouraged to move forward and to maintain our assets and lifestyle by taking adaptive measures. It is vitally important that we switch gears now while we still have affordable and viable options. It isn’t too late!

A final piece of the puzzle is quite encouraging. Knowledge is advancing at such a rapid pace that 50 years from now we may well have ways to sequester carbon and reverse climate warming. In my short lifetime, I have witnessed an incredible and increasing rate of change in human knowledge and technological progress, as I am sure you have. The knowledge tsunami is accelerating and is a cause for great hope and an affirmation that it isn’t too late.

Buckminster Fuller introduced his knowledge-doubling curve in 1982, about the same time as climate warming became a worldwide concern. With the help of IBM, the curve was modified and is shown below.

It’s Hot and Getting Hotter Graphic-3_1 - IBM Knowledge
I don’t have the data to show exactly where we are on the knowledge curve today, but I think the overall point is well made. Adaptation to climate warming and sea level rise is not a hopeless activity. It is as necessary part of a wider solution that is sure to come as our knowledge grows exponentially. We can and must give humankind the chance to solve the climate crisis. We need to get to work now on doing just that by implementing adaptive strategies! Please bring this message forward, and I hope you will!

Bob Bunting is a scientist, entrepreneur, educator and the author of a financial newsletter at bobsstocks.com.


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Florida Keys Devastation After Hurricane Irma

SNN, The Suncoast News Network, accepted Cumberland Advisors’ offer to accompany us to the Florida Keys and document the dire conditions that so many residents and the fishing guide community that we hold dear endured and continue to struggle under.

Immediately after Hurricane Irma’s eye passed over the Florida Keys, massive damage to the Lower and Middle Keys was apparent where hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed by high winds and a huge storm surge. Multimedia Journalist, Nadine Young, captured the lingering effects months after Hurricane Irma had passed.

This first hand perspective was eye opening and our hope is that the public will have a greater awareness of the devastation, power, and consequences hurricanes have over our coastal areas, territories, and our neighbors in the Caribbean.

See Bob Bunting’s description of what he saw on our trip together along with a gallery of photos we assembled to document what we experience here: Key West, Bob Bunting

Bob will also be at USF Sarasota-Manatee on February 22, 2018 for “Cuba and the Caribbean: What Now?” The event lasts from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and features congressmen, a former diplomat, and other notables.  Details can be found here, please join us: http://usfsm.edu/event/cuba-and-the-caribbean-what-now/

This trip and the devastation that occurred to Big Pine Key and other parts of the Florida Keys will be discussed at the event Cumberland is helping to sponsor at USF Sarasota-Manatee, called “Cuba and the Caribbean: What Now?” Details can be found by using the preceding link.

In addition to SNN’s videos below, we present footage from Brian Dombrowski‘s webcams that captured Irma as she rolled into Key West. While you take notice of the boats ripped from their mooring and washing out to sea, note that the surge and storm were even more powerful at its epicenter over Big Pine Key, culminating in a 10 foot surge based upon waterlines we saw firsthand among damaged homes.

 




Cuba and the Caribbean: What Now?

Recent changes in US policies toward Cuba have reinvigorated debate over US-Cuba relations. How will these revised policies affect American business, trade, and travel, as well as the well-being of the Cuban people? What does the future hold? Please join Cumberland Advisors, the Global Interdependence Center (GIC), the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and our panels of leading experts as we discuss money payments, tourism, policy, security, Puerto Rico, and the state of US-Cuba relations and the outlook going forward on Thursday, February 22, 2018, in Sarasota, FL.

Please be our guest.

The discussion lineup is a first-class assemblage with valuable and varied perspectives to share.  Jorge Duany, director of the Cuban Research Institute and professor at Florida International University, and Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel, senior partner at Havana Strategies, and a leading expert on US–Cuba relations, and David Seleski, president and CEO of Stonegate Bank (the licensed banker to handle transfers and money payments between Cuba and the US), will also speak. A bipartisan panel discussion with Congressman Carlos Curbelo, who serves Florida’s 26th Congressional District, which includes the Florida Keys, and Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands will be moderated by Ben White, a CNBC political correspondent and journalist from Politico. Finally, a former US ambassador to Cuba, Vicki Huddleston, is on the program.

Please join us.

Economic and financial issues will be thoroughly discussed. Sara Banaszak of Exxon Mobil, who has expertise in the energy sector along with others will weigh in on everything from Puerto Rico Electric Power, to offshore drilling, to national constraints.

Should the money be spent to transform Puerto Rico’s power grid into a more stable, efficient, and less vulnerable system consisting of batteries and solar arrays? Should the old system simply be updated in the interest of time/money? Or a hybrid solution?

Eugenio Alemán carries the Latin connection; he is senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities. And to round out this discussion we add Steve Kay, director of the Americas Center, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

This full day is designed to inform a broad range of people — tourists, travel agents, investors, policy wonks, and weather-forecasting folks. And those who wish to think about the government’s responsibility and actions in the hurricane-damaged parts of Florida or Texas or Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico or Cuba or elsewhere in the Caribbean, this program will touch on that too. The event is only $50 and includes a Cuban inspired lunch.

Please come.

Speakers for the “Cuba and the Caribbean: What Now? event include:

Karen Holbrook – Executive Vice President at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and Sr. Advisor to the President at the University of South Florida. She is currently serving as the Executive Vice President at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and Sr. Advisor to the President at the University of South Florida. Prior to this position, she served as the Interim president at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, after leaving the University of South Florida where she was Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation, then Senior Vice President for Global Affairs and International Research. Before coming to USF, Dr. Holbrook served as president of The Ohio State University from 2002-2007. She was also the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost and professor of cell biology at the University of Georgia, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Florida, and associate dean for research and professor of biological structure and medicine at the University of Washington, School of Medicine.

David Kotok – CIO of Cumberland Advisors. He cofounded Cumberland Advisors in 1973 and has been its chief investment officer since inception. David holds a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. in organizational dynamics from the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.

Stephen Kay – Center Director of the Atlanta Fed’s Americas Center. Dr. Kay is part of the financial markets team. His research focuses on political economy and public policy in Latin America. His articles on pension reform in Latin America have appeared in the Journal of Comparative Politics, Foreign Policy Journal, Journal of Aging & Social Policy, Journal of European Social Policy, Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, International Social Security Review, Latin American Politics and Society, Social Security Bulletin, and the Atlanta Fed’s Economic Review. Dr. Kay is a coeditor of Lessons from Pension Reform in the Americas (with Tapen Sinha, Oxford University Press) and an author of Social Security in Latin America: Pension Reform and the Challenge of Universal Coverage (with Carolina Felix and Tapen Sinha, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). He has testified twice before committees of the United States Congress on pension reform in Latin America. Dr. Kay received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California and his doctorate in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Donald Rissmiller – Founding Partner of Strategas. Donald has been the firm’s chief economist since 2006, directing its macroeconomic research effort. He oversees Strategas’ high-frequency econometric forecasting and thematic economic research. Mr. Rissmiller’s research has been consistently recognized by Institutional Investor magazine in their annual survey: he was ranked best up and coming economist in 2008, and was third in their 2009 All-America Independent Research Team survey. He is frequently quoted in the financial press.

Partners for this event include the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and the Global Interdependence Center who’s mission is to encourage the expansion of global dialogue and free trade in order to improve cooperation and understanding among nations, with the goal of reducing international conflicts and improving worldwide living standards.

For a list of sponsors and a link for registration, please visit USF Sarasota-Manatee’s website.

USF Sarasota-Manatee: http://usfsm.edu/event/cuba-and-the-caribbean-what-now/

Event Details
Date: Thursday, February 22, 2018
Time: 08:00 AM – 03:00 PM

Event Location
University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, Selby Auditorium
8350 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34243

Bob Bunting, a friend and accomplished professor whose expertise includes hurricanes, joined our small, fact-finding group on a trip to Key West and five other Keys that were hit by Hurricane Irma. Here is his narrative of the trip, which he has agreed to share with our readers. We thank Bob for joining us and reflecting on his findings: http://www.cumber.com/key-west-bob-bunting/

SNN, The Suncoast News Network, accepted Cumberland Advisors’ offer to accompany us to the Florida Keys and document the dire conditions that so many residents and the fishing guide community that we hold dear endured and continue to struggle under. See their news footage here: http://www.cumber.com/florida-keys-devastation-after-hurricane-irma/

CubPhotos of Cuba from 2017 and of Florida Keys after Irma.




Key West, Bob Bunting

Bob Bunting, a friend and accomplished professor whose expertise includes hurricanes, joined our small, fact-finding group on a trip to Key West and five other Keys that were hit by Hurricane Irma. Here is his narrative of the trip, which he has agreed to share with our readers. We thank Bob for joining us and reflecting on his findings.

Hurricane Irma - Florida Keys

UPDATE – September 10, 2018 – Bob Bunting reminds us that one year ago, Hurricane Irma terrified citizens of Florida as the largest evacuation in US history and moved 6M people before the storm struck with 140 mph wind gusts at Marco Island before traversing the center of Florida. Had the storm moved 50 miles west, a knockout blow to Florida’s West Coast would have changed life as we know it. Now on the first anniversary of Irma, there is another massive storm named Florence that could have a catastrophic impact on the Mid Atlantic states after a weak hurricane season in 2018. It just takes one!

UPDATE – February 22, 2018 – Bob spoke,  at “Cuba and the Caribbean: What Now?” The full event ran from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and Bob participated in a presentation moderated by WWSB’s Chief Meteorologist Bob Harrigan. Focus was severe weather and it was held at the Selby Auditorium at USF Sarasota-Manatee.

A video of the day’s talks is available here: Cuba and the Caribbean: What Now?

On Monday, it was my privilege to accompany David Kotok, a small group of thought leaders and the press to Key West in the wake of Hurricane Irma. David, an avid fisherman, was concerned about the recovery of a small but important group of people who are professional fishing guides. As an atmospheric scientist and a former senior manager not only at NOAA but also at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, I was intrigued. Much of my life has revolved around studying, researching, and predicting severe weather events, especially hurricanes. When I was five, Hurricane Carol struck and damaged my childhood home, scaring my family. That was the moment I knew I wanted to be an atmospheric scientist. As life evolved, other interests have entered, but all have leveraged patterns and predictions as the baseline.

My takeaways from this personally impactful visit to Key West and the lower Florida Keys are far-ranging, and David asked that I share them with you.

With Hurricane Irma leading a record September for hurricanes in the Atlantic, the media was “all hurricanes, all the time.” But how quickly we forget disasters as the news cycle becomes shorter and shorter in the age of social networking, tweets, and 30-second sound bytes. The communications revolution seems to have reduced people’s ability to focus, and as a consequence very little is ever reported about the aftermath of serious disasters like Irma and Maria. That is too bad, in my view. Our visit was rich and impactful and much more interesting and educational than what we are exposed to in the daily blur. How I long for in-depth reporting.

Expectations of the government’s role in disasters have certainly changed over time. Government was created to protect life and property as its first and most important mission. It is not the government’s job to repair all the damage and rebuild once the initial disaster recovery phase is over. This is what I was told when I was forecasting severe weather events for NOAA.

The expectation of a bigger, more costly government role is hurting actual recovery processes. The real recovery structure starts with government, but the handoff after the initial phases is to a complex network of organizations, helpful volunteers, and storm victims, each with different strengths, weaknesses, and time frames.

Upon our arrival at the still lightly damaged Key West International Airport, our host Doug, a leader of professional fishing guides, began an all-day tour. He masterfully guided us as we observed how the hurricane and its aftermath had impacted the venerable and important economic subgroup of professional fishing guides.

Our first stop is a great-looking fishing retail store in downtown Key West. The owner laments that he is waiting for customers who are not coming because their impression is that there has been great damage to Key West.  Key West, 30 miles southwest of where Irma’s eye made US landfall, did sustain damage, but most repairs are complete and the town is open for business.

Next we see Doug’s house, further north and closer to ground zero where Cat 4 Hurricane Irma roared ashore.  As we pull up to his home heavy damage is evident, and the sights and sounds of workmen rebuilding create a memorable scene. Doug says he is experiencing a “too long” lull in business and explains with a half simile that he is “self-insured.” Sadly, while the hurricane was bad, the lingering perception created by media hurricane coverage continues to amplify the negative economic impact some two months after landfall.  The fish, not knowing any of this, are reported to be biting strongly.  Too bad the fishermen are not enjoying themselves here on this nearly perfect day!

Now it’s on to Big Pine Key – ground zero – some 12 miles further north.  It’s two months since landfall and we see massive damage, piles of debris, boats strewn along the roadways, one painted with “Do Not Remove.” Then more visuals, including, wrecked cars, every conceivable household item, piles of broken mangroves, and mangled street signs, one reading “Do Not Dump: $500 Fine,” next to a field of small American Flags.  Goosebumps!

This is where John, a guide with a wife and two young children, once lived. John did not want to join us in his ruined neighborhood where we met the Millennial philanthropists. He and his family are in temporary housing supported by cash philanthropy of the Guides Trust Foundation. But meet him we would at the end of this memorable day!

Money plays a critical role in recovery, but actual human assistance should not be underrated. On Big Pine Key we fortuitously crossed paths with a group of Millennials that were highly motivated to help. Going house to house, helping folks in need and sleeping in a nearby church, these young people were having a wonderful time with one another while doing great service. What a human interest story and one that has been totally missed by the media, which has long departed. BTW, this Y generation is often talked about as being both entitled and spoiled.

While I can attest to those attributes after having taught about a thousand of these young adults in my entrepreneurship classes at the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business, it is also fair to say that they are focused on helping the world be a better place. They should get credit for that! The cadre of young adults on Big Pine Key are building self-esteem and perfecting the ability to communicate socially without devices. This experience will serve them well in a 30-second-soundbite and multi-megabyte world!

All of this is “good news,” and we need to focus on more on it. The media outlet news cycle seems to recognize only political controversy and deviant behavior, while real news stories like this one are not of interest. Having met thousands of people, my guess is that 95% of them are caring, helpful, and good-to-great human beings. Such is the case in Key West, where people have pulled together in the face of great adversity and have become closer, more optimistic, and grateful!

I have questions running though my mind. Isn’t it ironic that gratitude sprouts when times are tough? What ever happened to in-depth reporting? Is it a victim of rapid communication and our multitasking society? Is the communications revolution really increasing communication or making us more remote because human interaction is not needed and perhaps not wanted? I continue to ponder.

After lunch at the No Name Cafe we stop at National Key Deer Refuge. The park ranger assures us that the wildlife and biota are all recovering nicely but says they had to truck in water for the deer because after the storm the water was too salty. Interesting!

As we head back toward Key West, iguanas are darting across the road.  They somehow found their way to the lower Keys and seem to be flourishing on the hibiscus. We pull into a small waterway, where John, the guide without a home, boats in and begins talking with us.

Still worried but not afraid, he is bubbly and optimistic about his family’s future and displays solid determination despite many issues with business and rebuilding his home.  After two months, he still waits for FEMA and the insurance companies to get to his case. His children are in a new school and the family is comfortable, thanks in part to a gift from the Guides Trust Foundation. I am struck by his clarity, resolve, and gratitude in what is a nightmare situation. His children are not afraid of hurricanes but wonder when the next one will hit. John says he has experienced three hurricanes in the past 18 years or so.

He says there is only one thing he hopes will not go back to its pre-storm condition, and that is the connection he now has with his coworkers in the guide business, not just on the Keys but all over.  I realize that John has gained something special from the disaster that took away his home, damaged his livelihood, upset his kids’ schooling, etc. Watching him, I wonder why society is so averse to experiencing setbacks that provide such meaningful learning and growth.

Hurricanes are ever-fascinating, so magnificent in organization, scope, and awesome power – but so scary when they are headed toward you! To see the gradient of damage from downtown Key West to Big Pine Key was amazing, even to someone who has flown into hurricanes. Destruction was contained in Key West but almost beyond belief in Big Pine Key just 29 miles away, where a 10-foot storm surge and 130 mph winds created an unearthly scene. As an atmospheric scientist who is one because of a hurricane long past, I am certain I followed the right path.

The piles of debris are memorable. The fact that we humans lead lives that are defined in part by artificial “needs” and the consumption a lot of stuff hit me. I am told that 1.2 million cubic feet of debris has been removed from the area north of Key West, and it looks like millions more are still waiting for removal. It will take time.

It is remarkable how well the infrastructure did in the face of the storm, even on Big Pine Key, confirming that hurricane-prone areas need to be built using methods and materials that ready them for storms. A few weeks after Irma, Maria hit Puerto Rico. The impacts were similar, but the outcome was different.

Clearly, investments in infrastructure in the Keys have provided a strong backbone, but Puerto Rico lacked that advantage. My takeaway is that governments can function well at strategic levels if the people running them are capable, honest, and motivated to protect. After all, this is the #1 function of government.

As we took off in the Twin Air for our trip back to Sarasota, I looked back at the runways and a view of the beautiful Keys just before sunset. I am ever more clear as to how what happened on Big Pine Key could have happened on Longboat Key/Sarasota, where the forecast was for a Cat 5 hit with a 10-foot storm surge. A very small change in path happened as Irma moved over Big Pine Key – that jog to the north drove Irma inland east of Longboat/Sarasota by about 30 miles… the same distance that separates Key West from Big Pine Key! So grateful!

In closing, I am surprised at how much this trip inspired me. First we saw devastation, then we observed that the initial government-led recovery, followed by a complex web of nongovernmental help backed by individual and organizational philanthropy and victim self-help, seems to be working – more proof, in my opinion, that we can do anything we want once we decide what we want to do. What a Good News story!

Bob Bunting
CEO, Waterstone Strategies
bobsstocks.com

Pledges to the Guides Trust Foundation can be made through their website: http://guidestrustfoundation.org/memberships-donations.cfm

See pictures online at www.cumber.com/key-west-bob-bunting/


Links to other websites or electronic media controlled or offered by Third-Parties (non-affiliates of Cumberland Advisors) are provided only as a reference and courtesy to our users. Cumberland Advisors has no control over such websites, does not recommend or endorse any opinions, ideas, products, information, or content of such sites, and makes no warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of their content. Cumberland Advisors hereby disclaims liability for any information, materials, products or services posted or offered at any of the Third-Party websites. The Third-Party may have a privacy and/or security policy different from that of Cumberland Advisors. Therefore, please refer to the specific privacy and security policies of the Third-Party when accessing their websites.

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Cumberland Advisors Market Commentaries offer insights and analysis on upcoming, important economic issues that potentially impact global financial markets. Our team shares their thinking on global economic developments, market news and other factors that often influence investment opportunities and strategies.