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Fashion wakes up to climate change

The New York Times offers up a fairly strange article on how climate change is forcing fashion retailers to hire meteorologists to help predict and manage the effects of global warming on sales.

Shifting seasonal temperature patterns, along with more highly variable weather, have been wreaking havoc with demand for winter clothing. So it makes sense that climate change is on designers’ minds.

What doesn’t make sense is hiring a weatherman to help with the problem. Climate and weather are two very different things, and it’s not clear to me what useful information a meteorologist is going to provide. I can predict with great accuracy that the global temperature will rise over the next three decades. But no one can tell you what the weather this February is going to be like.

One designer has gone so far as to take out insurance against unseasonably warm temperatures. This actually does make sense. You can’t predict the weather, but you can hedge against its swings. As climate change increases the amount of “weird” weather we see, expect to see more businesses insuring themselves against extreme events.

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