CARBON CREDITS

Everything had fallen into place.  Children had been educated to the dangers of man-made global warming.  He had helped convince the masses that a crisis was imminent.  The science was settled, the debate over.

Following a series of inconvenient scandals, popular support had fallen apart.  Like an arctic ice cap under a polar bear, it had melted away – the support that is, not the ice cap, and that was part of the problem.  The scientific consensus was dissipating like so much greenhouse gas, leaving behind an unpleasant odor.

In addition, he had become an object of ridicule.  His carbon credits empire was tumbling down around him in a manner reminiscent of the walls of Jericho.  Sometimes he wished he could push a button and make the deniers explode.

He had gone into self-imposed exile.  One day, while lost in contemplation, a luminous being appeared before him.  The creature held a hockey stick with its shaft parallel to the ground and the blade pointing up toward the heavens.

“I am Michael, the Spirit of Science.”  The apparition turned the hockey stick so that it pointed down toward the earth.  “Do you understand what you see?”

“How can I understand?  I’m not a scientist.”

“You have spoken wisely.  The hockey stick is truth, but it was turned in the wrong direction.  The danger is not global warming.  A new ice age is coming and you’ve been chosen as the apostle of global cooling.”

After this epiphany, the solution was obvious: a worldwide program of uncap and trade.  Everyone would be required to produce greenhouse gas.  Those who exceeded their quotas would receive carbon credits they could trade to those producing insufficient quantities.

He could circle the globe in his private jet, spewing carbon and spreading the gospel of global cooling, secure in the knowledge that he was saving the planet.  Now, when he turned on all the lights in his palatial mansion, he’d be acclaimed a hero, instead of being labeled a hypocrite.  But first he needed to contact the directors of his carbon credits company.

The above story is an example of what is called “flash fiction”.  It was originally written for a science fiction flash fiction contest sponsored by New Scientist magazine.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Anyone interested in using this elsewhere should please contact me by clicking on “leave a comment” to request permission.  Be sure to include your e-mail address so I can send you a response.

Your humble servant,

Yushud Choosewisely, ordinary American

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