“Ministry Of The Future”–a climate change novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, plus, Finland passes world’s most ambitious climate target law. A Texas company and a Harvard researcher want to “de-extinct” the wooly mammoth to combat climate change?! And, listeners’ call to action.
“Ministry Of The Future”–a Climate Change Novel, Finland Passes World’s Most Ambitious Climate Target Law, Reviving the Wooly Mammoth to Combat Climate Change?! Listeners’ Call to Action
MINISTRY OF THE FUTURE, A CLIMATE CHANGE NOVEL BY KIM STANLEY ROBINSON
The Ministry for the Future, by novelist Kim Stanley Robinson is a science fiction tome depicting the deadly effects of extreme heat, but with a hopeful ending. The Ministry for the Future is a Zurich-based, UN-founded organization run by Irish ex-diplomat Mary Murphy, and its mission is “to advocate for the world’s future generations of citizens, whose rights, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are as valid as our own.”
The book opens in the near future, during a historic heat wave in Uttar Pradesh, India. As day after day passes without a drop in temperature or humidity, the electric grid eventually gives out, turning life into an inferno for everyone who lives in the north Indian state. Desperate, many rush to the nearest lake, hoping it will offer some relief—but its water is scorching, too. By the end of the heat wave, more than twenty million people are dead. Not very hopeful sounding, is it?
In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Stanley talked about why his (ultimately hopeful) novel takes place only a few years from now with that stark and horrific opening.
“As a citizen, looking at the news about wet-bulb temperatures, I began to realize that the crowd that advocates for adaptation and says, “Oh, well if we get a 3-degree Celsius rise, we’ll just adapt to that. We can adapt to anything,” they were wrong on that. We actually might quickly hit temperatures that will cook people. It struck me the danger that we’re in needed to be emphasized.”
Wet bulb temperature is a measure of heat plus humidity. At a wet-bulb temperature of 95 degrees, human organs begin to cook from the inside.
Robinson says he set the book within the next few years because he wanted to create a plausible, believable future history. He added, “My whole notion of utopia has come down to just survival of the many species that are in danger. If we dodge the mass extinction event, we can cope with everything else that might happen later.
Publishers Weekly called The Ministry for the Future, “A breathtaking look at the challenges that face our planet in all their sprawling magnitude and also in their intimate, individual moments of humanity.”
DEEPER DIVE: GatesNotes, Rolling Stone, Wet Bulb Temp Explained, Ministry of the Future
TEXAS COMPANY AND A HARVARD SCIENTIST HOPE TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE BY “DE-EXTINCTING” THE WOOLY MAMMOTH
Speaking of crazy-ass science fiction, or in this case, reality that’s stranger than crazy-ass science fiction, Colossal, a Texas company in the applied genetics business, teamed up with Harvard scientist George Church to “de-extinct” the wooly mammoth in an effort to combat climate change.
Their logic is based upon the same conclusion that the white Zimbabwean ecologist Allan Savory discussed in his 2013 TED Talk, “How to Green the Desert and Reverse Climate Change.” As reported by The Climate Daily, Savory believes grasslands hold the potential to sequester enough atmospheric carbon dioxide to reverse climate change.
And the key to reviving grasslands is using livestock, bunched and moving, as a proxy for former herds As the herds move, they urinate and defecate and trample said poop into the grasslands, fertilizing it, mimicking nature. It’s a concept that has been adopted by ranchers around the world in the last 25 years.
Harvard scientist George Church believes the mammoths would be useful in knocking down trees and creating more spots for grasslands. In winter, the moving herds of elephant-like creatures would then pack the snow deeper, acting as an insulator.
He and Colossal aim to make this happen in the Arctic…Is it just me, or mightn’t it be easier to just breed more elephants?
Might be too late for that. According to the Colossal website, it’s already in the process of the de-extinction of the Woolly Mammoth. The gene sequencing is done through CRISPR. The researchers think they are 4-6 years out from their first calves.
And why does this matter to us? Honestly, I got nothin. Church and Colossal this is a surefire way to prevent the permafrost from melting. But it’s so wacky, and so far-fetchiado, it might just work!
DEEPER DIVE: CBS News, Colossal, TED Talk, Dolly the Cloned Sheep
FINLAND UPS THE ANTE, PASSES MOST AMBITIOUS CLIMATE TARGET LAW ON PLANET
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a tragedy on many levels, including for the climate. One bright spot in all this is that Russia’s aggression motivated Finland to accelerate its energy transition.That nation just passed a law aiming to be the first developed country to reach net zero, in 2035, and net NEGATIVE – absorbing more CO2 than it emits – by 2040.
In 2019, the Finnish Climate Change Panel released its report, “An Approach to Nationally Determined Contributions Consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement and Climate Science: Application to Finland and the EU.” Based on those findings, the panel determined what its country’s share of the remaining 420 gigatons of CO2 emissions humans can emit before exceeding 2 degrees Celsius (about 4 degrees F).
The panel also calculated Finland’s share of the global population, its ability to pay to reduce emissions and its historic responsibility for causing climate change. And thus the target was set. It’s believed to be the first target to have been set in this way.
The target will be met without relying on international carbon offsets- and making buildings more energy efficient and less reliant on fossil fuel heating.
Why does Finland’s lead-taking law matter to us? In an interview with Climate Home News, Finland’s environment minister Emma Kari, said it best. “High income countries have to take a progressive and active role when it comes to tackling climate change.”
DEEPER DIVE: Climate Home News, Finnish Report, ZeroTracker, Statistics Finland
THE CLIMATE DAILY LISTENER CALL OUT CHALLENGE
Recently, one of our listeners shared her story of how listening to the climate daily helped her deal so well with her climate change overwhelm, that she got out and started working with the local community based group. Then she challenged us to ask you all to share any stories you might have of how listening to the climate daily might have inspired you into action, so we can share them with the world.
Remember, we’re all about sharing stories of people taking positive action to combat climate change. And that’s you listeners. You can hit us up on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at #wetheclimate or Jeffrey at The Climate dot org or Maude at The Climate dot org, too.