Heavily Weathered

Bruce Sterling has a way of being so right, he throws out asides in his books that for many writers would be centerpieces. In the spirit of the times, I’ve been re-reading “Heavy Weather”, his 1994 book about the impact of runaway CO2 on climate. In it, the world’s economies have been fragmented and balkanised by crypto currencies replacing State-sponsored central money systems that people simply lost faith in. More currently, it’s set in a near-future Texas of 2031 (seemed much further away in 1994!) that has been devastated by repeated extreme weather events – storms, floods, tornado swarms and now there’s a new kind of tornado brewing, a Prigogine-type of discontinuity (more specifically, a Poincaré–Andronov–Hopf bifurcation) in the possibility of the evolution of a storm’s upper bound violence, given the extra energy retained by CO2 within the complex weather system. Very 1990s, but also sadly evoking last couple of week’s events – especially as the many of the tracks for Irma now predicted have it hitting the U.S. coast, some even along the Texas Gulf Coast.

There is this extract:
“When do you think the human race conclusively lost control over its own destiny”?

“I’d have to say 1968. Maybe 1967. If you look at the CO2 statistics, they had a chance to choke it all back right there, and they knew well they were screwing the environment. There was revolutionary potential in the period, and even ~political will, but they squandered the opportunity in the drugs and the Marxism and the mystical crap, and they never regained the momentum”.

“The 1940s thing. I don’t think humanity ever really recovered from the death camps. And Hiroshima too. After the camps and the Bomb, any horror was possible, and nothing was certain anymore. People never straightened up again after that, they always walked around bent and shivering and scared. Sometimes I think I’d rather be scared of the sky than that scared about other human beings. Maybe it was even worth heavy weather to miss nuclear Armageddon and genocide”.

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