Last weekend, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a new report. According to the IPCC, the total cumulative future human production of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels must be limited to no more than one trillion tons, or the Earth will be ruined.
“With this latest report, science has spoken yet again and with much more clarity. Time is not on our side,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. “Leaders must act.”
If the IPCC is correct, the situation is indeed dire. Humanity today produces about 33 billion tons per year of CO2 from fossil fuel use. So, at our current rates, held level, we have 30 years of fossil fuel utilization left to us. But if ongoing modest global economic growth is factored in, our current fossil-fuel powered civilization has only twenty years left during which it can be allowed to exist. That’s it. After 2034, no one anywhere can be allowed to use any fossil fuel: No coal, no oil, no natural gas, nothing.
This program could be difficult to implement. Eliminating fossil fuels will send the world economy back to its productivity circa 1700, when it could only support about 700 million people, barely one-tenth of the current number. So ninety percent of humanity will need to be eliminated. That might be unpleasant. But science has spoken, and the imperative for decisive action has been placed before us by Ban Ki Moon himself, which is to say, right from the top.
So the question is: how can we get the job done?
One way that readily suggests itself is nuclear war. We have enough nuclear weapons to wipe out humanity several times over, or so we have been told for decades. Why not finally put our long dormant arsenal to work, and use it to save the planet?
Unfortunately, this just won’t work. Contrary to all those bland assurances about our capacity for global overkill, we never had any such capability, and the situation now is even worse. In fact, as a consequence of successive disarmament moves implemented since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. nuclear arsenal has been reduced from 22,000 warheads in 1989 to just 4,766 today. If we optimistically assume that each one of these could be made to account for 100,000 people (roughly the take at Hiroshima), then at best we might expect to bag some 477 million, a small fraction of the 6.5 billion we need to get.
But the situation is even more hopeless if we look at the problem as one of targeting territory, rather than people as such. Thus, if each bomb, very optimistically, could be assumed to wipe out 100 square miles, with no waste of firepower through overlap, then, using our total arsenal, we could only eliminate people from some 477,000 square miles of territory, less than one percent of the land surface of the Earth! Nor can fallout be relied upon to help much, as the liveliest radionuclides perforce have very short half-lives and the weather might easily take much of them away from land before they could have significant effect.
The sad fact of the matter is that we don’t even have enough nukes to wipe out ourselves, let alone ninety percent of humanity. And while we might get some help from the Russians, Chinese, and others, at best they could double or triple the total yield, which would still leave us far from the necessary goal.
Of course, rather than trying to plaster territory, we could use our arsenal to wreck every major city on Earth, including all the national capitals, which would send the world into total anarchy. But that would hardly do, because without governments, who would stop people from using fossil fuels?
So we need another answer, one that shuns the quick, easy, but ultimately ineffective path of nuclear havoc. Instead, if we really want to not only exterminate ninety percent of humanity, but insure that the survivors can be kept in perpetual serfdom and technological stasis, we must seek for a more thoughtful, orderly, and systematic method.
One such approach that has received some attention is that set forth by Adolf Hitler, a German statesman who achieved some prominence in the 1930s and 1940s. According to Mr. Hitler and his associates, who were known as National Socialists, or Nazis, if a nation were properly organized and its citizens duly instructed that their sacred duty was to rid the world of other, inferior, people, then such a nation could be turned into an effective and efficient instrument for global depopulation. This was actually tried, and while the program did achieve some results on a regional level, it ultimately proved unsuccessful when several of the countries targeted for conquest became annoyed and banded together to crush the Nazis instead. In retrospect, this result was predictable, as the kind of tribal arrogance required for the implementers of such a program has a way of turning everybody else off.
So we need something better than Nazism, with broader appeal, something that everyone can buy into. In this respect Communism has a lot to offer. You don’t need to be a member of any particular race or nation to become a Communist. Anyone can join the Party, an important feature of the movement which makes it both more attractive and potentially far more lethal than Nazism.
But that said, there are many versions of Communism, and we need to be very selective in choosing the right one if we are to use it successfully as an essential tool in implementing the IPCC plan. Moderate, pussy-footing versions, such as that administered in the Soviet Union by Josef Stalin between 1923 and his death in 1953, simply won’t do. I’m sure that there may be some die-hard Stalin fans reading these lines who might take exception to this harsh evaluation, but we need to face the facts. Mr. Stalin ruled the Soviet Union for three decades, and despite all of his much vaunted gulags, purges, and holodomors, only succeeded in killing between ten and fifteen percent of the population. That’s less than half a percent per year, a rate far too low for IPCC purposes.
If we want to get the job done, a much more appropriate model would be that set by Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge associates in Cambodia. During their administration, which lasted from 1975 to 1979, these gentlemen managed to rid their country of forty percent of its people, for an average of 10 percent per year. And not only was this figure in the appropriate range, but those eliminated were well-selected, starting with the most educated first, and working down from there to the literate and semi-literate. In contrast, Mr. Stalin foolishly thought he could keep much of the Soviet Union’s technical and artistic intelligentsia alive, and while he did take some measures to control new publications, he failed utterly in the necessary task of obliterating Russia’s traditional literary culture, thereby leaving segments of the population with powers of thought that ultimately contributed to the undoing of the Soviet Union itself.
So, following the more successful model pioneered by Mr. Pol Pot, here are some groups that should be eliminated first to help save the planet from further fossil fuel use.
- All people with engineering knowledge of how to acquire fossil fuels of any type from the Earth.
- All people with knowledge of scientific principles that would allow for the recreation of the engineering techniques for acquiring fossil fuels.
- All people with knowledge of how to read languages whose books contain forbidden knowledge of the types identified in points 1 and 2, above.
- All people older than twenty years of age.
The arguments supporting points 1,2, and 3 above are self-evident. Point 4 is necessary because everyone older than 20 has personal memories of past weather that tend to undermine general belief in an ongoing climatic catastrophe. If the public loses this faith, the entire program will become impossible to implement. Therefore, such potentially subversive elements clearly need to go.
Some might object that this program, noble and necessary as it might be, is impossible, since if any nation refused to take part it would quickly acquire an unbeatable military and economic advantage over all the others. Thus, rather than saving the planet, the result by Darwinian selection would only be world rule by climate change deniers. But there is a way to avoid such a catastrophe: we simply need to abolish national sovereignty. Instead, all countries need to place themselves under UN governance. This would prevent any cheating, and, as an additional advantage, preclude disruption of the program by such unplanned events as retrograde action by voters.
As a final note, I would like to answer critics who might complain that since I myself am a member of every single one of the groups 1-4 whose elimination I have identified as necessary, above, my insistence on remaining alive and well-off constitutes some form of hypocrisy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The simple fact of the matter, obvious to all who are not blinded by envy, is that if ninety percent of humanity is to be eliminated, someone is going to have to do the eliminating, and clearly, as one of the wise few who can see what needs to be done, and lay out plans accordingly, I should be one of the latter rather than the former. I’m sure that nearly everyone at the IPCC and the UN feels the same way.