Game Over

Part 29 of my third global warming science fiction novel “Last Week”. Link to Part 1: “Back To Paradise Era”.

CHAPTER 8  GAME OVER

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14 2023 9:12 A.M.

“So, let’s get that World-saving business done,” Angel said. “I’ll probably be finished by noon.”

“Yes,” Satoshi said. “You probably will.” He had given up on objecting to her constant optimism about her mission.

“Okay. First order of business is explaining the danger of Moros 27 and the necessary course of action to humanity in one short blog post. I’ll use the fact that I’ll die tonight as a rhetorical device to get some attention,” Angel said. She started typing:

“Hello, humanity. This is the last day of my life. I will be dead tomorrow. I’ll disappear completely in the early hours of the morning.

“For those of you who might not be familiar with my story: I’m Princess Angel. I came back last week from the 24th Century with a one-way time machine to warn humanity about how horribly global warming will play out. And also of the fact that a 400 km asteroid called Moros 27 is heading for impact with Earth in 2327.

“As a side effect of the time travel, I had only one last week to live. Once that week is over tomorrow, I will disappear without trace from your World. And I won’t just go back to my 24th Century World. I’ll die. I’m on a suicide mission giving my life to warn you. So, listen. It’s important.

“There will be billions dead from drought, heat waves, storms, hunger, and wars caused by global warming. And while humanity fights to clean up the mess caused by the greed and stupidity of your generation, we will neglect to build our defenses against the asteroid risk. We’ll have nothing to deflect Moros 27. It will completely fry the planet.

“Many of you will not care because you think that this will be the problem of later generations. You’re wrong. The historical record shows that the major problems of global warming will start spiraling out of control already in the 21st Century. Many of you will live to see it. And many will live to die from it.

“Also, many of you will not believe me. The fossil fuel companies have been quite successful in their public relations campaigns. As well they should be, considering the amount of money they put into them.

“Fortunately, the solution to all of this is really simple. And it doesn’t even depend on understanding that there is a problem. Even the minority that thinks all the scientists are wrong will have no reason to object.

“The problem is that humans burn too much fossil fuel. The solution to that problem is making fossil fuel more expensive. Basic market theory suggests that demand will go down that way. Also, the transition to renewable energy sources, which will happen anyway sooner or later, will be done much faster.

“So, how is fossil fuel supposed to get more expensive? Should there be a price on carbon emissions? Should that price go up over time?

“That certainly is one idea. It works, though it needs legislation to make it happen. But the solution is even simpler, and it needs no new law at all. I call it ‘Buy&Hoard’. It is really very easy.

“Just set up a fund that invests in buying fossil fuel. Make them buy the fuel, and hoard it. This is like the Strategic Oil Reserve, just on a much bigger scale.

“Take the oil off the market for a couple of decades. Do that on a large scale and oil prices will go up. Again, basic market theory. Removing supply from the market will move prices up.

“That in turn will increase the value of the oil or other fossil fuel the fund has bought. It’s a virtuous cycle. Buy fossil fuel, take it off the market, increasing prices, making a guaranteed profit on the deal. Repeat that to increase prices even more, increasing your profits even more.

“The way to do this without worrying about storing a lot of oil as in the Strategic Oil Reserve would be to just buy the fossil fuel right in the ground. Buy the rights to some resource or other. And then let the fossil fuel stay right in the ground, where it needs to stay to counter global warming, and make the biggest profits in history by doing this. You can of course always sell all the fossil fuel you want from these resources as raw material for the petrochemical industry.

“Of course there is no need to actually transfer the rights in any such resource to do this. For example, Non Standard Oil owns the Canadian tar sands. They could just announce tomorrow that they won’t sell one barrel of oil from that resource for the next thirty years. Guess what that would do to the price of oil? And guess what that would do to the value of their tar sands resource?

“So, there you have it. Have the fossil fuel stay in the ground, and make money from doing so.”

Angel published the blog post and pointed to it with a Tweet directed at Theo Birnbaum and Roberto Romero. It would be interesting to see if and how they reacted to that.

“That’s it? You think that will solve the problem?” Satoshi asked.

“It sure will. Once Buy&Hoard gets critical mass, it becomes a feedback loop. Fossil fuel will finally get close to the value it should have, considering that it takes millions of years to form. Of course I’m counting on you to help in the early phases. It shouldn’t be too difficult. A couple of billion dollars should be enough for the initial investment. You’ll attract trillions in private capital in no time,” Angel said. “Let’s talk a bit to Alexandrina Heathershaw now.” Angel started typing again. This it was time another blog post, and also a comment on Alexandrina’s blog.

“Hi, Alexandrina. This is my last comment for you. I’ll be dead tomorrow.

“Listen. I’ve just announced the solution for global warming on my blog. It will save billions of lives and enable humanity to have some resources left for deflecting the large asteroid heading for collision with Earth in 2327.

“I understand you don’t think that global warming is real. You and most of your readers think that I am wrong. Of course I know the exact historical record of the next three centuries. I already told you that your position is wrong, and I even showed you how New York will drown under a 60 meter sea level rise.

“But you may be not convinced. You may think that I’m not really from the future. Again, that would be wrong. But I don’t count on your changing your views. Most people don’t change their opinions easily.

“You see, the beauty of my solution is that it depends in no way on even understanding the problem. You can invest in Buy&Hoard because it will guarantee a massive profit. You can invest because it will leave more of the precious fossil fuel reserves for future generations.

“I would like you to acknowledge that fact. While I disagree with your position on global warming, I respect your intellectual integrity.

“Best of luck with the rest of your life. You’ll need it, considering the unfortunate global warming effects already locked in. Kind regards, Princess Angel.”

Angel published the text on her blog and as a comment on Alexandrina’s blog, and announced it on Twitter. “Two down, two to go,” she said.

“Two to go?” Satoshi asked.

“I’ll do another two posts for Theo Birnbaum and Roberto Romero,” Angel said. “Then I’m done with this World-saving business.” She started typing again.

“Hi, Theo. This is my last blog post for you. It will briefly discuss the role Greenpeace could play to get the solution for global warming to critical mass.

“I recall that you kindly came to the meeting I set up at Senator Nutt’s office last week. While she didn’t seem to be convinced that my presentation showed the historical record of New York sinking under a 60 meter sea level rise, I hope for more support from your side. I really am a Princess from the future, and that sure is the real record.

“I’ll be dead tomorrow, so I won’t be able to look after this myself, but if you kindly cooperate, there will be an independent expert evaluation of the Glaring Glasses. And it will of course show that these are impossible to build with 21st Century technology. That in turn will prove that I am really a Princess from the 24th Century. Maybe we can even get Senator Nutt or someone else from the fossil fuel lobby side to choose some expert or other.

“So, what would I like for Greenpeace to do to help? There are three things.

“For one, I would like you and your organization to read and understand what I have proposed. This is the solution to global warming. It really is. I understand that Greenpeace is concerned about the problem. So you should be interested in the solution.

“Second, I would like you to help spread the word. The main impulse from Buy&Hoard will need to come from private capital. Once this gets to scale, the way the solution is set up guarantees large profits for anyone involved early on. Just like with the Bitcoin network. But it needs to get to critical mass. And your help in spreading the word would be most valuable.

“And third, there may be some need for lobbying efforts. One of the beautiful aspects of Buy&Hoard is that it doesn’t require buying politicians to enact some legislation or other. It can be easily done within the existing legal framework, since it will all be a matter of market forces at work. All you need is the freedom of contract on fossil fuel reserves.

“But there might be an antitrust angle. Some people may argue that this kind of solution is not compatible with antitrust law. Especially if fossil fuel companies like Non Standard Oil get on board with Buy&Hoard. They might be accused of artificially raising prices.

“In that case, it might become necessary to defend them against such attacks. Greenpeace could help with that. I realize that you don’t normally consider helping the fossil fuel industry part of your agenda. But this is different. It is the miracle you have been waiting for.”

Angel posted this, and addressed Theo Birnbaum directly in a Tweet announcing the post. Then she started typing again, the last step in her big plan to save the World.

“Hi, Roberto. It’s Princess Angel from the 24th Century. We met last week at Senator Nutt’s office. I hope you recall my presentation on New York getting sunk by sea level rise. Thank you very much for your kind blog post reporting on the experience.

“Contrary to what you assert in that blog post, I am really a Princess from the 24th Century. I really am. It’s not just a clever metaphor. I understand you like to research rhetorical devices. And it is true, even if I were not for real, it would be an interesting way of framing this debate if I just pretended to be back from the future with a warming warning for humanity. But this is for real.

“I hope you have read my solution to global warming. Buy&Hoard. You are very smart, so you will understand that this will work. It will mean that this little global warming problem will be solved within a couple of years, which in turn means that you will be out of a job. I am sorry for that. I really am. But you will need to find something else to write about.

“In that case, I would like to ask you to kindly consider writing about the other threat. The asteroid that will hit Earth in 2327. Humanity needs to develop the ability to deflect this space rock, or solving global warming won’t change much. We would be fried anyway.

“Kind regards, Princess Angel.”

Again, she posted that and notified Roberto Romero with a short Tweet.

“So, I’m done,” Angel said. “The rest is up to you guys. The solution is out there. There is no way it won’t get noticed. If you help with getting a couple of billion dollars in initial investments, it will reach critical mass. It will work. I am sure. Which of course means that my father and everyone else I knew in the 24th Century will never be born,” Angel said. A tear formed in her eye. “Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, that’s it. Let’s have some fun for the remaining time of my last day.”

Satoshi gave her a light kiss and wiped away her tear tenderly.

“Thank you for your sacrifice, Angel,” Satoshi said. “I’ll take it from here. Your sacrifice will not be in vain.”

Link to part 30, Glaring Glasses Root Authority Transfer

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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