Post World War III
As devastating as the COVID-19 pandemic is to our health and to the health of our economy, there is yet another pandemic that we are experiencing with implications that may be far more severe and that of course is being brought on by the crisis: global warming and climate change.
Here is a story told from the future….and it might just happen
N.B. This blog appeared many months ago before the world entered into the turmoil that is the COVID-19 Pandemic.
AFTER THE WAR
It’s the year 2040 and a degree of peace and prosperity is returning to the world. The war was brutal. It started in earnest somewhere around 2024 and even today while it’s now much less disruptive, it continues to be an ongoing effort. It wasn’t the war to end all wars as they said of the first great war, it was literally a war to save all humanity, in a very real sense, to prevent our very extinction.
As you’ve probably figured out by now it wasn’t a traditional war of one people against another, it was a war against climate change and global warming. And don’t get me wrong. It was a real war with real victims. Whole industries, those culprits or perpetrators of global warming were shut down, effectively destroyed, and millions upon millions of people lost their jobs. Some compared it to the great depression, but it was worse and lasted much longer.
Who started the war? Well it was our Leaders; not only our political leaders, it included leaders of industry and many of our foremost thinkers. And it was not limited to the West (Europe and the Americas) where it started, but leaders in developing countries (China and India) and underdeveloped countries (Africa) came on board…and they probably suffered more than we did. And when we think about it, it was a good thing that they figured out that they had to go to war, notwithstanding the incredible change and damage and sacrifice they were about to inflict.
World War III started very slowly. Leaders imposed significant carbon taxes and Industries were penalized for excessive and uncontrolled burning of fossil fuels.
There were minor insurrections around the world in response to a so called “restriction in freedom to operate”. Then in 2023, it happened… the perfect storm (please excuse the use of the phrase), but that’s exactly what it was.
In the U.S., massive fires throughout California and a five-day, Level 5 hurricane in Florida (it was named hurricane Donald) brought America to its knees. Financial claims, for those events alone exceeded 3 trillion dollars and every major insurance company, and many financial institutions declared bankruptcy. There were riots in the streets as millions of private individuals lost their life savings, including 401 pensions.
In India, a major typhoon permanently wiped out 80% of their rice industry and food riots occurred almost non-stop around the country.
China declared permanent martial law as continuous droughts in the central planes forced 300 million people to flee to major urban centers which were already overwhelmed.
Europe continued to be “invaded” by economic and environmental immigrants and political refugees from across Africa and social, political and economic unrest became the order of the day.
The major world leaders all agreed. The world was in crisis and without a major intervention, human life on Earth was in grave danger, i.e. our very extinction was a real possibility. Without dissent, there was consensus amongst the world’s leaders that we had to go to war to combat climate change. And this war would entail a total economic effort to stop forces resulting in climate change. In fact, just as important, they would to make every effort possible to reverse it. These efforts would have to far exceed the total industrial efforts that the United States, Britain and Canada undertook to defeat the Germans in World War II where as much as 45% of the GDP of those countries was directed towards winning the war.
And wage war they did. First, they declared that ALL fossil fuels would be banned within 3 years, both their mining and their burning. Thousands of different energy-based industries were closed down around the world and 600 million people were put out of work. The impact on the agricultural industries was especially dramatic as many foods (e.g. meat) became very expensive and very scarce.
But the leaders had a plan. They began investing heavily in alternatives, in industries which would put people back to work, in industries that were not dependent on fossil fuels and in new industries that would even reverse the effects of climate changing and global warming by actually removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide and methane. But for more than a dozen years the impact of the war against climate change continued to have devastating effects around the world.
Unemployment was enormous. There were food lines everywhere and civil unrest was rampant. But the world leadership persevered, they continued to invest heavily in technologies that would stop the proliferation of greenhouse gases and actually reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
By 2030, there were signs that a corner had been turned. These investments alone created many tens of millions of jobs and developed new technologies. Some weren’t that innovative. It just took a “declaration of war” to see those technologies implemented.
Entire new energy industries emerged. We get 50% of our energy directly from Solar Power and we’ve developed very effective batteries to store that energy. We get 40% of energy from nuclear power as 10,000 small, efficient and safe nuclear power plants have been installed around the world. Wind energy and tidal power supply the rest.
Traditional agriculture has disappeared. All foods are now produced in factory laboratories through a process called cellular agriculture. Digital printers are used to make the food look and taste pretty much as we would like it to.
And critically, we’ve developed techniques of carbon capture and carbon use that have resulted in a net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and a real observation that global warming and the devastating impact of climate change are being reversed.
The war is over, humanity won and in so doing we became much more effective stewards of the environment.
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Image courtesy of the Los Angeles Times