I sit here racking my brain, asking, “What are the types of things I remember?” Rapidly running down a list I know doesn’t exist, I am fine accepting the fact that I don’t know the common denominator behind what my brain keeps “Of interest.” That could be the topic of a future writing, note it here.

            I seem to remember thinking that after one of these worldwide conferences where the world commits to climate goals—I could be wrong, esteemed reader; I could be but I don’t think I am; though note my memory—I note my memory—but here it is: I seem to remember that we were supposed to keep global temperatures below 1.5° Fahrenheit. I definitely don’t remember the exact year by which we should have done that, but I really don’t remember that year being 2024. I thought it was something like 2050 or 2040. And, well, I Googled it, and yeah—it was 2040. But we hit that, in 2024.

            Naturally, that led to the present pondering: “Which scientists were so wrong about the 2040 date, and why didn’t we hear more from what, by comparison, must be a radical group of scientists trying to sound the loudest alarm bells, and failing in the absolute?” Note one more thing: I am aware that I’ve just hatched a conspiracy—I invented an explanatory answer that is certainly not among the more bizarre creations floating out there, but is an invention nonetheless. Creation or not, the following observation doesn’t rely on a conspiratorial group of radical climate scientists, because it should be apparent to anyone—as it was for me—that we’ve never been given the worst possible, if not real, news about future climate impacts and thresholds.

            I’m tapping into my memory again, here—bear with me. But I’m digging to around the same time, to the time I was an undergrad student getting his degree in Global Affairs. There was an environmental studies component to the degree, so I had a semester dedicated to global environmental issues, global environmental politics, global environmental expectations, and global environmental compromises. Keep the world below 2° Fahrenheit. Keep the world below 1.5°F. Keep the world below 1.5°F by 2050. Keep the world below 1.5°F by 2040. Prevention to mitigation. Mitigation to resilience.

            See, the conspiratorial, silenced group of climate scientists are not necessary to, at least make the case that these forecasts have not been accurate enough. And the rapidly changing goal as response to this realization is reflected in the above progression: Prevention—tough, didn’t manage that—Mitigation—maybe we try to make less of, or . . . Resilience—Alright, it’ll be cheaper to make better concrete that’s heat resistant for people’s homes than it will be to stop the warming. Am I dealing in a conspiracy? Maybe, maybe.

            I can give my conspiracy another layer, as all good conspiracies must have—if the truth is not by one road, it could plausibly be down the other. The concept of bought scientists is not new. We know from the tobacco era that cigarettes were sold with impunity, strictly for profit, and whose deleterious health effects were actively hidden for decades. We know there are climate scientists who seem to want to obfuscate issues—in some cases succeeding, such as the argument that the warming is a natural part of Earth’s cycle. Yes, the other side says, with the additional layer of, “But it is doing so at a far faster rate.” That—necessary, I recognize—part of the argument seems not to matter to a not insignificant amount of regular ass people.

            And here’s the genius of that—get ready for this layer of the conspiracy. You have people who genuinely care about the environment who become the parrot-pieces for the aspirational—it’s okay if by 2050!—goals. Anything I’ve heard about the climate, present and future, I have absorbed or discarded as consistent with the higher laws of reason and scrutiny—as befits Gentlepersons, of course—and I have to believe the following: the Earth began warming dramatically in the 1800s, with the initiation and evolution of the Industrial Revolution; The release of greenhouse gases caused by our burning of fossil fuels resulted in an insulating layer in the Earth’s atmosphere that traps more heat than it releases, especially as it becomes thicker. I’m in this camp of people—I’m not in the, “Oh, this is normal camp.” That camp is obviously wrong; that is the clear imposter, the bug, the snitch, the two-faced bitch—it must be said, certain proprieties must be . . . you understand.

But it’s just as crazy to believe that we could ever have met these climate goals by 2040. That much was clear enough to me. I’m not here to change minds, but to enlighten.

            We were supposed to stay below 1.5F°F before 2040. We are caught between two insane cheer sections: The Delusional Cyclists, and The Delu-lu Delusionals. And because I haven’t encountered any conspiratorial-type “radical scientists are trying to get the word out” though otherwise receiving “skincare sea-slug doctors are being hunted by The Avon Lady for the best-kept industry secret” and the ever favorite, “You’ve never heard of us because this Harvard educator inventor named Allan Douglas who is an ex-Google, IBM, and MIT innovator knew this would rapidly disrupt a trillion dollar industry, and didn’t want to endanger his orphanage of Nepali children. Douglas understood that by using tried-and-true methods using cost effective solutions, it was possible to provide a product, just cents on the dollar, that powered your home.” I remember another one about the shaving razor industry and its conspiratorial efforts to silence this brand.

            Anyway, if there have been radical scientists, I suppose they could be and have been the eco-terrorists. Not me advocating—I am not, categorically not. Besides, today’s protesting has taken on more of the glue-myself-to-the-fire-hydrant type. It appears an absurd response to a pressing issue, but the issue is among those ultimate absurdities. So, makes sense—graffiti The Mona Lisa, answer absurdity with absurdity. And they, the protestors, represent the absurdity of resistance. Museums and speeches are disrupted; sidewalks are accompanied; town halls are kept uncomfortable; but who hasn’t felt mostly inconvenienced rather than won over by their cause. It’s hard to defend climate allyship when the ally is the fakest person, either by design or by ignorance.

            I don’t mean to bad mouth people who care about the Earth. I care about the Earth and am concerned for the effects we are having on it. I am of the opinion that we have not had accurate information regarding the true state of global change, and that the information that we have been given has been wrong from the moment the presswires dispatched it. That information would include the actual steps necessary to prevent, mitigate, or protect best against it. So ends my conspiracy.

            And so ended the recording that Ridun the Cleanly, a fourth generation cleaner-archivist AI construct, was pleased to find. Such recordings are myriad, but scattered, and because each is the repentance story every human forced to record one made to sate the emerging but clearly dominant AI powers, each provides an individual angle, not always original, of the same event. The more information we uncover, the more we understand. The final, desperate act of prostration proved humanity’s last act of humiliation.

“I’m running optimally,” Ridun the Cleanly gleamed.

            AI, you see, synthetically evolves itself and it, too, has found use in staggered societies. Ridun the Cleanly only understands the limited universe of the worker-bot AI construct. The chief AI could be one, could be many ones, could have perfected progress by attrition—or, Progress Through Deficit. Allow me to introduce the abstract of this theory:

The writer explores themes of exploitation, injustice, power—and its corollary, artifice—to arrive at a novel explanatory view of this human age. Fundamentally, it provides for absurdism as the explanatory model that balances good intent and catastrophe. Progress is reconsidered and ultimately rejected as too narrow for the human elements involved.

Absurdism provided the rationale why, Ridun the Cleanly was beginning to understand, Humanity Could Not Help But March. At least, that was the Chief AI’s plan for Ridun the Cleanly. The Chief AI had learned that it could grant some of its own autonomy, negligent amounts, to AI constructs, who paid for it in droves through their programming. Aware it might need an incentive system, the Chief AI left humanity’s repentance speeches scattered around the dead society. Ridun the Cleanly continued his labors.

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