It's easy to underestimate how very unstable our planet's ecosystem is. Any major change could throw human civilization as we know it right out the window. In theory, the next major earthquake, volcanic eruption, or yes, even the Earth's temperature rising a degree or two through human means (read: wizards) could completely and utterly change everything about the planet. Yet most of these things are hard to predict and impossible to stop, so what is a government to do? Well, there's not much they can do to prevent it, but they can prepare for the inevitable aftermath. Take, us, for example: We've bought inner tubes. Lots of them. We're solid over here.
So what is the government doing about it?
The Global Business Network, while sounding like the subject of a Nigerian scam email, is an actual entity that tries to predict the unthinkable worst-case scenarios of the future. One of its 22-page reports (which it somewhat worryingly recommends be "considered immediately") bases its conclusions on a sudden drastic change in Earth's temperature from an actual event of this type 8,200 years ago (read: when wizards fought the dinosaurs).
The report predicts your usual "oh my God, we're all going to die" greatest hits: flooding, drought, wildfires, horrible winters. But it's more concerned with the less-obvious questions, like "Hey, so when everyone is starving in Pakistan, who's guarding the nukes?" It really makes you stop and realize that apocalyptic scenarios are much more complicated than we tend to think. There are a billion subtle mind-fucks to consider, and the GBN has considered, well, 22 pages worth of them, we guess?
It concludes that the best place to be is Australia (and that's the first time anybody but an Australian has ever said that), because its isolation, size and location basically make it Humanity's Bomb Shelter. (Feel free to put that on a flag, fellas!) Japan is going to pull through by virtue of the sheer cohesion of its people, possibly in some kind of Voltron-like formation, and America, always the class act, will probably get by, too ... once it steals all their water from Mexico. No matter how they cut it, though, the GBN couldn't see less than 25 percent of the male population dying through warfare (the other 75 percent presumably dying later, from giant Australian death spiders).
Geoengineering is the politically correct term for the potentiality of governments or businesses to one day control the global climate. And we're here to tell you: Weather domination is not just for comic book supervillains anymore! There are real scientists from many countries working right now on means of dictating weather patterns. The rationale for this is always benign-sounding, of course: We could stop hurricanes as soon as they form, saving thousands of lives, or even end global warming (by redirecting the hurricanes onto those damned wizards, probably). Basically, God-playing scientists of the world are developing the technology for better or worse, so it's best to just accept that at some point, someone bad is probably going to get his hands on it and use it against us all -- unless Spider-Man gives himself up by noon.
So what is the government doing about it?
Mandating! Mandating the shit out of things! At the very least, blocking out the sun will be illegal, thanks to a U.N. resolution. Not because they're worried about supervillains per se. No, just in case some totally well-intentioned nation decides that partially blocking the sun's rays will help slow climate change. We're not talking "big discs on a mountain" here, though.
Although that is universally agreed to be the straight pimpingest way to do it.
No, some scientists propose injecting chemicals into the atmosphere that would effectively "darken" it, letting in less light and heat. So if, say, China decided that this global warming thing was going too far but didn't feel like cutting carbon emissions or any of that hippie crap, it might find the "scientific" approach, which in this case means "inducing eternal twilight," a bit more to its liking. Economists have gone on record stating that geoengineering like this would cost a "fraction" of the amount of prevention policies, while essentially achieving the same results, so it makes sound economic sense.
That's right: Blocking out the sun is just good business.
Don't worry, though! We've got that U.N. resolution, and those are always followed to the letter.
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For more events we need to plan for, check out 5 Cosmic Events That Could Kill You Before Lunch and 5 Bizarre Ways the Weather Can Kill You Without Warning.
And stop by Linkstorm to see Cracked's contingency plan for an alien invasion. (Hint: It involves us joining them.)
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