Elena’s Story, part two

Today’s post is a continuation of my mini-autobiography of Elena Llewellyn, one of the main characters in Building Houses of Cards, the second book in my The Road to Environmental Armageddon trilogy about the hazards of ignoring the climate change threat. Part one of Elena’s story is here.

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Elena’s Story (continued)

The six years from December 2026 until December 2032 were the happiest of my life. They made up for my four years at a Swiss finishing school and the London School of Economics. I spent those years fending off my uncle’s well-meaning but misguided attempts to marry me to a European aristocrat. I rejected the bastions of a bygone aristocratic era and the life of a socialite and sought a serious role in Uncle Gareth’s grand adventure.

I regained my uncle’s trust and developed an active and growing role in his grand plan to save the world. During the first seven months of 2027, I lived a romantic adventure. I became a modern-day Mata Hari, ferreting out critical secrets and winning the affections of my dream lover.

From 2027 to 2032, Dan applied his scientific expertise to the tricky task of stabilizing temperatures. He also manipulated reflectivity to minimize extreme weather events. I applied my economic and philosophical training in the political arena. I struggled to understand the changes we were seeing in America. Together, we lived our fairy tale romance.

The movers and shakers in the Company of Gentlemen Entrepreneurs in the first decades of the twenty-first century were Europeans. Their governments supported them. The launch in 2025 was led by Germany, Britain, and Japan. By 2030, the United States and China had assumed major roles. The nanoparticle reflector program became part of their battle to dominate world commerce and diplomacy.

Between 2032 and 2036, the denizens of planet Earth sleepwalked into the future. The nanoparticle seeding program managers gazed into their crystal balls. They made esoteric computations and manipulated the world’s weather. They created an extended period of stable temperatures and placid weather. The focus in the second half of the 2030s should have shifted into the second part of Uncle Gareth’s grand plan—the shift from fossil fuels to other forms of energy. This didn’t happen. Was it the calm before the storm as the Americans and Chinese ratcheted up the intensity of their Battle of Titans?

By 2040, we’d reached a critical point in our grand plan to control global warming. The Company of Gentleman Entrepreneurs initiated it in 2020. Many experts played key roles. Together, we stabilized global temperatures at two degrees above preindustrial levels. We kept them steady for fifteen years.

Dan, more than anyone else, deserved a medal, or perhaps the Nobel Peace Prize, for his management of the nanoparticle seeding program. His team stabilized temperatures, and he fine-tuned the seeding to reduce extreme weather events. The 2030s saw fewer hurricanes, droughts, floods, and wildfires than we’d seen for decades.

Those fifteen years should have given humanity time to wean itself from its dependence on fossil fuel-based energy. They should have provided an opportunity to build a robust global economy based on other energy sources. That part of Uncle Gareth’s grand plan didn’t happen. Europe and Japan were the main proponents of that shift to cleaner energy. Their influence waned as the political and economic cohesion of the European Union disintegrated. As we move into the 2040s, global cooperation falls into disarray. It becomes obvious humanity will not reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

The program to control global temperatures was the first victim of our failure to work together. It should have been a crutch. A temporary phase on the road to a future with slowly decreasing carbon emissions. We observed the opposite, and the stresses became unmanageable.

China and the United States must accept blame for this failure. Each sought domination of our highly integrated world. The Americans defended their model of freewheeling capitalist democracy. The Chinese offered a new world order based on their totalitarian model of state-controlled capitalism.

Their Battle of the Titans relied on cheap energy. Everyone and everything became hostages in their epic clash. Our efforts to control carbon emissions were trampled. The world would never recover.

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There you have it: Elena’s perspective on a global environmental engineering program she and her uncle Gareth Llewellyn contributed to for many years. Unfortunately, it went very wrong, and the consequences were draconian.

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