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20/20 Hindsight Vision
[ Issue 159 Page 10 ] Wednesday, December 27, 2017, 22:48:55 Yehhyun Jo Head of Society yehhyunjo18@kaist.ac.kr

I recently came across an interesting map while browsing through the Internet in the continuing quest to pass time until death. Created by the British journal New Scientist, this world map presents a hypothetical model of an Earth that is four degrees Celsius warmer. According to the map, most of the living space that we currently occupy will be inhabitable, and as a result, we will be forced to move to the northern and southern extremes of the planet, and a significant portion of our population will disappear. The red, brown, and orange are inhabitable, and only the green is habitable land. I ran out of space in the newspaper so go take a look at the map on the following website (or Google Search “big think global warming map”): http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/what-the-world-will-look-like-4degc-warmer.

The Fall of Rome

Our good friends in the New World recently decided to abandon some of humanity’s most valued assets by setting the concept of logic on fire. As the red, white, and blue flames burn the coal that drives “The Donald”, the rest of the world watches, horrified, as 2017 set new records for extreme weather conditions.

America has backpedaled on progress, reversing their commitments to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change by pulling out of the Paris Accords, removing restrictions on nonrenewable energy production, and appointing climate-change deniers to influential positions of power.

“Zhina” to the Rescue?

Affectionately called “Zhina” by the POTUS, China has recently stepped up their efforts to become the largest player in the renewable energy market. They currently operate the largest solar energy farm in the world, and are investing heavily into electric vehicles. Along with Europe and India, China reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement and demonstrated their firm resolve to double down on carbon emissions in light of America’s withdrawal.

Despite China’s famous flexible work ethics and unquestionable transparency (quite literally unquestionable — I believe you disappear like a bunny in a magic trick if you do), the message that they are sending to the rest of the world is clear; China is at the helm now. The only problem with this is that China is still a developing country and their manufacturing sector is unlikely to shut down anytime soon. India faces similar problems with its rapid industrial growth.

On the other hand, a green Europe is on the horizon, with several European nations already completely independent of nonrenewable energy sources. They do this in typical European fashion, combining efficiency and practicality with a hint of irony and hypocrisy; they subsidize renewable energies with the huge profits earned from selling their oil and natural gas to developing countries. The nations of Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway owe their current wealth and development to their massive oil businesses of the past.

Realistic Hope

A recent article published in the scientific journal Nature featured a collaborative work by a number of climate experts that outlined some major goals to achieve in the next three years if the Paris Agreement was to see any potential of success. According to this report, “By 2020, renewables would have to make up at least 30% of the total electricity supply of the world; all existing coal power plants would have to be in the process of shutting down; all cities should increase the percentage of zero-emission buildings at a rate of 3% per year; electric vehicles should be 15% of all new car sales globally [that number is at 1% today]; and heavy industries should cut down their emissions by half.” This is just a portion of a longer, more detailed list that requires major improvements in almost every sector.

For starters, with “The Donald” in charge of the most powerful and emission-heavy country in the world for the next three years, we can exclude America from this plan. Next, most developing and underdeveloped countries will have to be removed as well since they simply do not have the technology nor the infrastructure to support this plan. So if the world consisted only of Europe and their continued supply of oil money from poorer countries, I guess this plan could work.

Future Map

Humans were never very good at manipulating the future. We can predict, assume, extrapolate, and calculate, but our vision is always blurred by the present. We are animals of hindsight, the only sense we truly possess and utilize to its maximum potential. So let’s just use this new map of the future to select our new home. Which will you choose: Western Antarctica, Siberia, or Greenland?

Good Advice

For all those climate-change deniers (don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you), if this sarcastic, cynical, satirical, and rather offensive article did not convince you, I’m not shocked. But please do invest all your money into real estate in the Maldives, the Solomon Islands, the islands of Kiribati, Seychelles, the Torres Strait Islands, Micronesia, Palau, the Carteret Islands, Tuvalu, Bangladesh, Florida, and any other coastline hotspots you can find. You won’t regret it.

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