Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Big Freeze, or How I Learned to Love Big Oil

With a number of predictions that the Earth might be heading into a temperature minimum, rather than a much hotter future, I thought I'd reprint a Spoof article of mine from 2012:

This January of 2051 marks the 30th anniversary of the start of the "Big Freeze" which began in the winter of 2020-21.

We know now, and have known for more than two decades, that it was the misguided campaign of "Big Green" in the late 20th century and early this century which led to this near-catastrophe for the world. Only this week, The International Panel for Carbon Combustion (IPCC) published its fourth assessment report. In the Summary for Policy Makers, the message is clear. The Earth is cooling and mankind is to blame. From their headquarters in Beijing, China, their chairman Bernie Oyle (also chief executive of Athabasca Oil Corp., president of Friends of the Keystone Pipelines, and editor of Nature, Fracking News) said "The message is Burn, Baby, Burn!, and if I can make a few yen out of saving mankind, who's to blame me?". World leaders are due to meet next month to ratify and sign the Alberta Protocol, which commits nations to a 10% year-on-year growth in greenhouse gas emissions. China is so far the only nation meeting its obligation in advance of the summit, to be held on one of the huge BP oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

97% of climate scientists who can stop their teeth chattering have said that the evidence for Anthropogenic Global Cooling is irrefutable. The slowing of growth in greenhouse gas emissions in the second decade this century, reinforced by a reduction in cosmic rays and solar radiation triggered a "tipping point", after which global temperatures plummeted. Carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere declined further as the oceans cooled, and they absorbed even more of the trace gas essential to life on Earth. Several forms of geo-engineering are already widespread, including "cloud-seeding" to induce precipitation and thin the cloud to "let the sun shine through". NASA has already deployed two giant mirrors in space to reflect solar radiation onto northern and southern extremities of the Earth. Twenty more are planned, with five already in construction.

Worldwide, government subsidies for production and sale of electric vehicles have been increased after it was discovered that they indirectly cause more CO2 emissions than any other form of transport, and are the least efficient in energy use. In the US, the EPA is lobbying the Black House (formerly Disneyworld, Florida) and Congress to introduce legislation to further reduce fuel efficiency below the current 10 miles-per-gallon enforced. Corn and other grain-based generation of CO2 was stopped in 2029, as world food production declined with decreasing CO2 levels, but the growth in cellulistic (plant-matter) use has increased, as forests are felled for burning, and more land is cleared for food production.

The iconic Polar bear is under threat. Populations in Maryland, northern California and Britain are said to be in decline as the sea ice is too thick for them to dig holes to catch fish and inattentive seals. Plans to use Air Force planes to bomb holes in the ice were abandoned after it was realised the bears are difficult to see against the ice. There is some good news - Penguin populations in Australia are doing well, after numbers declined during the long trek from Antarctica 20 years ago.

Perhaps it's fitting to end with a round-up on "climate refugees", and with news of one of the smallest nations in the world - Tuvalu. The 30-metre drop in sea levels has been a disaster for the people of Funafuti, which used to be an atoll with a central lagoon, but is now a large island with a depression in the middle. The port facilities are high and dry, and tourists shun the island, especially the capital, where they face a 10-minute taxi ride to the sea in one direction, and an hour-long ride in the other. To highlight the plight of the islanders, the president recently held a cabinet meeting on the top of Mount Fongafale, a 34-metre-high hill in the centre of the capital. He is in negotiation with the president of Bangladesh, which has increased in area by more than three times, to send incoming climate refugees to Tuvalu, to attempt a similar strategy to that employed on Guam. There, the combined weight of several hundred thousand refugees and their vehicles has resulted in the island sinking by 10 metres, allowing several of the fishing ports to be dredged to operate at high tide.

Cuba has recently erected a 10-metre-high fence across the land bridge to Florida, to help stop climate refugees entering the country illegally. The fence is fronted by the existing 50-metre-wide shark-infested moat. The Coast Guard patrols the northern shores to intercept and turn back "boat people", mainly from Texas and Louisiana. Mexico has reinforced its border with the states of California, Arizona, and Texas. Regular patrols by the Mexico Immigration Force in trucks and helicopters are backed up by unmanned drones. These are fitted with infrared cameras said to be able to detect a "greenback" (as illegal immigrants from the USA are known there) from 20 km at night. "Using GPS, the drone locates the greenbacks precisely, and we can activate a ring of land-mines around them" says Eduardo Chavez, senior MIF commander. "If they heed the warnings broadcast by the mines, we go in and pick 'em up for deportation. If they don't we just replace the mines they set off".

Finally, a campaign I support totally, and which, in a small way, can "make a difference" - Earth Hour. Citizens of the world should do their bit to support the campaign, by together turning on all the lights, electrical and gas appliances in their houses, and running their vehicle engines. After all, it's only once a week, and energy is cheap, so remember each Friday between 8 and 9 PM - Earth Hour!

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