by H.E. Taylor
|Chapter 71||Table of Contents||Chapter 73|
No Miracles, April 30, 2059
All that winter and spring, the sunshield count slowly increased. We passed 3,000, but nothing changed on Earth. Methane levels were still rising. Drought, flood and fire were constant. Grain reserves were less than a week, and some challenged those statistics, claiming they were just to make us feel good.
The demand went out for more sunshields. Brahmaputra got more money. That meant more factories and railguns to be built on the moon. Some 150 people in Hipparcus were running three plants, with two more under construction.
In mid-February, a hurricane formed in the Southern Atlantic. Cyclonic storms require a sea surface temperature [SST] of at least 28 degrees C to sustain themselves and previously those conditions had not existed in winter. The storm swept across Cuba as a Category 3 hurricane, then picked up strength in the gulf becoming a strong Category 4 before hitting Texas. Hurricane Alia retraced the path of Jacy which had devastated Houston decades before.
Questions came in to UNGETF about whether the sunshield could be used to control ocean temperatures. There was a lot of that sort of thing. The agricultural interests were always pulling on our coattails too.
Individual sunshields could function in several modes. They could refract the light, reflect it or absorb it in photovoltaic cells. Most of the shields were of the refract or reflect kind because they had not even been started to build the Earth-side infrastructure to capture and convert the microwave beam. A land claim by the Inuit over the projected site on Cornwallis Island was dragging its way through the Canadian legal system.
Rhamaposa had insisted, and for once the Ecological Mandate Council had listened. “One problem at a time. Fix the climate before starting a huge construction project on Earth. Build in the capability, but that’s all.”
UNGETF passed the query about controlling SSTs along to Carillon, but that was as far as it went. They didn’t report back to us. We got technical data, nothing about administration or policy.
As for the agricultural sector, they complained to UNGETF as if we controlled the day-to-day weather. We couldn’t do anything about energy, fertilizer or other inputs, but we got to hear about them as well. There were more predictions of famine and mass starvation.
Countries in different parts of the globe wanted us to undertake mutually exclusive operations. The debate over control of the shadow between the Asian Union and European Union had gone public. Debate, controversy, conflict — call it what you will. Relations between the EU and AU were not very good. Russia was trying to broker talks, without much success.
Controlling this thing was going to be a full time job and Carillon was going to be in the hotseat. They would get blamed for every unnatural weather event.
I was very glad I was not involved in the political wrangling.
Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor
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Last modified December 23, 2013