“How Prosperity And Catastrophe Can Be So Close Together Was My Obsession.”

Spencer Glendon

A Preview of My Conversation With Spencer Glendon of Probable Futures

I would like to share with you one of the most riveting presentations on climate change that I have ever seen.

It was delivered before a packed house of investors and portfolio managers at the 2019 Sohn Investment Conference at Lincoln Center.

The presenter is Spencer Glendon, a former Partner and Director of Research at the trillion-dollar asset management firm, Wellington Management.

I strongly recommend taking 16 minutes to watch on the YouTube link below — including Glendon’s arresting answer to a question he poses: “When will Florida’s economy fall apart?” Then you’ll understand why I have been so eager to have him join me for a Wavemaker Conversation.


Spencer Glendon’s work has centered on topics ignored in the world of finance but with potential for a seismic impact.

For example, on Glendon’s first major assignment for Wellington, in 1999, he immersed himself in China, whose economy was then relatively insignificant.

After visiting 24 Chinese provinces over several years, he foresaw that China’s economy would grow much faster than most economists anticipated and would put the American middle class at risk.

He explains how he came to that conclusion in our Wavemaker Conversation, which you can receive next weekend by subscribing now for free.

In 2012, Glendon turned his attention to climate change. He quickly learned that the escalating, disruptive impacts of a rapidly warming climate had been predicted with great accuracy in science journals as early as the 1970s and 80s, but were being ignored by investors.

I was working in an environment where if you were right 60% of the time and didn’t even know why, you could get fabulously rich. Whereas the scientists had laid out an explanation for how a system worked and the system had worked exactly as they had foretold and nobody was using it.

After many years working on climate change from his position in the financial world, Glendon has created a nonprofit organization called Probable Futures.

Guided by the understanding that every additional fraction of a degree of warming carries with it the likelihood of even more severe consequences for what life on earth will be like:

Probable Futures aims to increase our chances that the future is good. We offer tools to visualize climate change along with stories and insights to help people understand what those changes mean.

From ProbableFutures.org

Dreams For Our Children

When you read the headlines these days — climate and otherwise — it feels like we are on a runaway train that will flatten the dreams of our children.

But a conversation with Spencer Glendon, although terrifying at times, is an antidote to despair — because of the work he and his team are doing at Probable Futures, and because of his personal story as well.

In our Wavemaker Conversation, Glendon opens up about a devastating illness he faced during his adolescence, and a later diagnosis of a degenerative liver disease. How he has thrived within the limits of those illnesses provides lessons that are empowering for us individually — and as a society.


Michael Schulder: From a Researcher at ABC News; To a Writer at The MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour on PBS; To my five years as a Writer for Peter Jennings at ABC World News Tonight; And 17 years as a Senior Executive Producer at CNN.


Wavemaker on YouYube
Wavemaker YouTube Channel