Climate Chaos and Greenhouse Summer

It’s not coming, it’s already here.  Robert Heinlein wrote a story called The Year of the Jackpot in which all the shit hits the fan, it wasn’t about climate change, but 2023 is definitely it.  I wrote a novel called GREENHOUSE SUMMER, but it wasn’t it either, it was set a century or so later than this beginning of the long-term Climate Chaos, and 2023 is not just the year of the jackpot either.

The Greenland ice cap is melting, likewise the Arctic Ice Cap,, likewise the ice cover of Antarctica. The worldwide ocean is already hotter than it has ever been in human memory and still rising. The Gulf Stream is weakening, North America, and much of Europe is in flames, as are scattered islands.

And so forth. And this is only the beginning of a climate chaos which will certainly last for at least a century and probably much longer.  Indeed, in longer terms, the climate of the Earth has always been chaotic and always will be. Ice Ages come and go, hot ages come and go, not only does the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere come and go, as did the coming of planetary oxygen which almost destroyed the biosphere itself.

It has been mathematically proven that we cannot know what the weather anywhere on the planet more than five days in the future will be because there are too many interchanging random factures changing to predict at any given time,   just as in simple theory you might think you could know where a ball in a roulette wheel would end up if you knew every physical facture, in the math of the real world, it cannot be possible to predict.

Then too human time, which we measure in hours, years, centuries, even millennia, moves much faster than planetary time, which evolves much slower, in multimillion years, billions of years for the biosphere.

And while we can now evolve, devolve, or even destroy the biosphere in human time with our technologies, believing that, for instance, nuclear explosions or atmospheric pollutions, which we create ourselves, are all powerful, for better or worse, planetary powers may be slower, but they are much stronger over planetary time.

Volcanoes, changing oceanic movements, mountain ranges rising and falling, the very continents in motion, coming together, falling apart, if we could see it in planetary time, we would realize that not merely the biosphere, but the very planet itself is alive.

But this does not mean that our faster-moving technologies cannot or do not cause planetary powers to move faster than planetary time. Nor does it not mean that we ourselves have no moral responsibility for the mess we have made in human time. If our technologies have made it, we can and therefore must, use what powers we do have to do the best we can to fix it.

But it is too late to stabilize the current planetary Climate Chaos we have set in motion.  What we must do, the only thing we can do, as the animals and plants of the biosphere, can only do, is learn to live with it, to evolve within it, or perish.

This is what the peoples of my imaginary novel GREENHOUSE SUMMER do, or at least try to do. But while absolute sovereignties have gone the way of communism and capitalism, there are still competing localities, just as animals and plants have always competed for turf, and there are local winners and losers as human technologies compete in changing local climates.

The moral and philosophic question is whether can the inherent local winners do what must be done so that humanity, the very biosphere itself, can together survive on planet Earth.

And while GREENHOUSE SUMMER is a story centered on that question in the future, the Climate Chaos that we have now set moving in human time is already with us, nor will it ever become otherwise even in planetary time.  So has it always been, and so will it always be.


Norman Spinrad
1 rue de la Bucherie
75005 Paris
My asteroid: Normanspinrad
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