2018-08-03 13:18 fiction short-story climate Benjamin Brood

This Burning World

It was a consistent 125F in New York City. A few months ago they shipped out all the poor people on buses. You didn't have to leave, but unless you could afford an expensive TeslaCube, you wouldn't want to stay. No one knew where the buses actually went. Somewhere in Upstate and New Jersey probably. After that, you were on your own. There was a secret report on the casualties leaked to what was left of the free press. Somebody did a Prank about it, but it wasn't that funny and it didn't have enough views to get into the Feed.

All that solar didn't help in the end, he thought. Enormous areas of land covered in black panels — by satellite the Earth looks encrusted with black fungus. Still got power, but he wondered if it mattered when the roads had melted and you couldn't go outside. Power wouldn't last anyway, he'd heard, since it was all widely distributed infrastructure made from cheap panels, and there was nobody to maintain it, and too hot to. The power would continue to degrade as usage went up.

Elon Musk celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday showing off his KulSuit in the Kansas Desert, he remembered these used to be called 'space suits'. Shrug, what is old is new again. Crappy Siberian factory stuff anyway, he bet. Musk said something about re-populating Florida. It didn't make any sense, why bother? Since Florida had been abandoned there were those Gods-Earthers who refused to leave and there were horrible stories about what they did down there, and what happened if anybody crossed into their territory. He didn't know how much of that was true, TNN broadcasts were all on the party line.

The "heat island effect" from the megalopolis on the East Coast, China, LA, parts of Europe and so on, meant that it would never get cooler there. A few EU cities tried breaking up concrete and buildings and greening the area to beat the cumulative effect, but it was too little too late. What would you do with all that concrete anyway? And how would you water the new plants?

The next storm season might tear down most of the East Coast, it was just a roll of the dice, just a matter of time. The billions spent on levees back in the 30s didn't make much difference for hurricane Ezekiel. And those other storms, what were their names? Hard to recall. There was a reactionary element in the wealthy urban population now, get what you can get, have as much fun as you can, be ready to checkout.

He was hungry, he remembered apples.