senator, who has become known as the Oracle, brings to the world's attention some incredible knowledge about man's alarming contribution to the troubling issue of global warming. He predicts a dire and catastrophic climate change that will occur much sooner than anyone thought.
The Oracle, in conjunction with renowned Princeton science professor Richard Compton, convinces the president of the United States that something drastic must be done to counteract the extreme weather that will devastate many areas of the United States. Under the firm direction of his powerful chief of staff, the president creates a master plan that calls for relocating 300 million people to the area surrounding Denver, Colorado. Strict sanctions will eliminate the burning of fossil fuels, and New America goes green.
Meanwhile, talented chemical engineers Michael Reynolds and Rose Haines discover new facts about the vagaries of climate change, learn more about the human natures of the American people, and wonder at the alarming turbulence in the outside world. The master plan may not be enough to save the American people.
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A Truthful Myth
By Roger Colley
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2010 Roger Colley
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSetting the Stage
The last ice age
Not a human could be seen. Rivers-streams of ice. The landscape-frozen solid ground. From the sky-a panorama of white; a massive ice sheet all the way north. This was "New Jersey" fifteen thousand years ago. But the repetitive climate cycle was ending, perhaps all due to the earth's wobbling orbit around the sun. Who knows for sure? The thaw was beginning. Escaping gases from the ground composed of carbon molecules began to greenhouse the planet again, or so we assume. Global warming was again in the air. This was good for America.
* * *
Heeding the warnings, most fled in haste; some stayed in fear, including the retired senator soon to be seen pleading desperately from the rooftop of his historic home. Amid winds and waves of fury, the massive storm was gathering energy-approaching the city. Coastal evacuations displaced a million people-the largest dispersion in U.S. history. Over twenty-five thousand residents hurried to the city's indoor stadium for refuge. The storm's sustained winds reached 175 mph and hit landfall at 125 mph-the highest rated and most dangerous of storms. Catastrophic failures of the city's floodwalls left 80 percent of the city flooded. Nearly two thousand people died in the trauma, seven hundred in the city alone. Three million people suffered without electricity at the peak of the hot summer. Television images of helpless victims being rescued off rooftops by helicopters disheartened the nation. This was New Orleans, August 2005. It was Hurricane Katrina-man's acceleration of global warming? This was bad for America.
* * *
Princeton University, September 2005
Bursting into the library of the professor's home, he shouted, "Conclusive!" and again, "It's conclusive! Katrina proves it! I am now absolutely, positively convinced of it." He spoke in startling words. The former U.S. senator from Louisiana gazed profoundly at his close friend and admired scientific adviser, Richard Compton.
Richard, a renowned science professor at Princeton who was well groomed in matters of climatology, smiled and replied in a soft voice, "My dear boy, please calm down. Sit down. Yes, it just took you some time. You know I have been labeling you the 'Oracle' for some fifteen years-ever since you used your fame to successfully alert America and the entire world to the rapidly rising threats to our health and to our ecological balance from Man's growing environmental pollution. Now here it is 2005-"
"But listen," interrupted the senator. "I-"
"Yes," Richard continued, not listening, "we are in a new century, and we have a new global threat on our hands. And so you are now finally convinced. The planet is in a gradual global warming cycle, and the burning of all these fossil fuels giving off massive amounts of greenhouse gases is greatly accelerating the warming process. Yes, it's true. Man is substantially contributing to climate change, and if we do not reverse the process, the quality of life on this planet will be greatly jeopardized within the next fifty years."
"Richard! No!" exclaimed the Oracle alarmingly. "I'm not talking about the gradual warming theories of you scientists. It's not gradual; it's not fifty years-it's abrupt; it's five years!"
* * *
Two and a half years later, Montecito, California, June 2008
"Oh man, I'd better hurry up. Only twenty minutes for me to get back to my room, get my gown on, and get over there," Michael Reynolds said excitedly to his dad as he hustled to wrestle his computer closed and shut down the curious apparatus sprawled across his lab bench-whirling blades over a wind-powered turbine, a two-foot square solar panel, and a hot, sweating miniature boiler with clear plastic inlet and outlet water pipes.
He needed to be at McGovern Hall at the celebrated Montecito University by 6:00 pm to line up for the anxiously awaited awarding of his master's degree in chemical engineering. The class of 2008 was a smart one, but Michael stood way out in front with his breakthrough thesis describing a much more economical way to desalinate ocean water. "Remember, Dad-it was over ten years ago when Santa Barbara mothballed its new desalination plant due to its high costs. Something new and better sure is needed-a system powered with renewable energy instead of burning polluting fossil fuels, and also with lower costs and higher capacity. Seems impossible to most people."
"Yeah, I'll walk over with you. You're right. Ever since we lost the family farm with that terrible drought, I've been thinking about it, but you've told me that boiling seawater requires a great deal of energy."
"Right, and the resulting pools of highly salty brine waters have to be somehow disposed of efficiently," replied Michael as the two scurried out of the science building.
The global warming alarm had been sounded back in 2006 by the wise man many called the Oracle. His public warnings would convince Michael and hundreds of other engineers that extreme droughts would be taking place in arid areas such as the southwestern United States. Despite the obstacles, somehow technology had to be developed to make desalination more economical. If the snow packs of the Sierras and Rockies disappeared, where would the Southwest obtain its drinking, industrial, and irrigation waters?
"Hey, I hear all these profs are laughing at your ideas, and only the dean likes them. Are they jealous or what?"
"Healthy skepticism." Michael laughed.
It had already been announced that Michael would be awarded highest honor as the dean's choice for the "Most Outstanding Engineer" of his graduating class. It was controversial within the university, yet word of his ingenious methodologies of new ways to utilize wind and solar power, more efficiently power the heating process of salty ocean water, and dispose of waste brine more easily had already reached the Departments of Environmental Protection, Energy, and the Interior in Washington. What a great spot for a smart, young, outwardly confident twenty-four-year-old to be in when the threat of global warming had become one of the key issues facing all the political candidates lining up for the 2008 presidential election. Personable, charming, and handsome, full of exuberance to help his country and mankind, Michael was raring to go.
"Get my degree and get started with that acclaimed construction engineering firm that fervently recruited me," he whispered to himself as he dashed to the auditorium.
Chasing right behind him was his dad, offering fatherly advice. "An inventive engineering career? Fine, but remember that the landscape is littered with good ideas and innovative working prototypes-but most failed at full scale. Michael, don't be arrogant; don't get overconfident. Get it right!"
* * *
New York City, June 2008
Some three thousand miles away from Michael's dash to his graduation ceremonies, Rose Haines and Adriana Sanchez sat back and relaxed in their small apartment in the Soho district of New York City. "This has been a great week, Ad," Rose offered happily, wine glass in hand, as another fun-filled beer commercial came on their new HDTV.
"Yeah, Rose, your graduation party last week was awesome, and we had so much fun acting like silly sixteen-year-olds these past few days, but you know-"
"Well, look, Ad, we still have another week."
"Right, but you go into the U.S. Navy next week, into that fancy job of whatever they have lined up for you, and I still have to do some dumb job for a bunch of greedy bankers on Wall Street."
"But Ad, sweetie, I'm going to be based right here on the harbor, and we'll see each other lots. And besides, you're going to meet a real nice, young guy-not like those older players you've been running around with.
It's going to be right down your alley ... true love next time." The girls had met two years earlier when Adriana, a New York native, advertised for a roommate for an apartment she had just leased. It was her chance as a young twenty-two-year-old to move out of her parents' house in Brooklyn and get her own life going. Rose, on the other hand, had just matriculated into a fine science and engineering university in lower Manhattan in order to earn her master's degree in atmospheric science. She was proud of her undergraduate chemical engineering degree from a small university in her little hometown of Ryder, New Hampshire. But now she was ready for the big time. She was totally convinced that her destiny was to make an important contribution to finding solutions to the imminent threats posed to humanity by the global warming trend that had suddenly become such an important issue.
Answering a "roommate wanted" advertisement and meeting Adriana had been a blessing for Rose. Her new roommate was so experienced and knew the whereabouts of trendy bars, clubs, and restaurants. From the very start, that made the young aspiring engineer/scientist from a small folksy New England town pleasantly comfortable living in the Big Apple. They seemed so conflicted in certain values, yet they were so compatible living together. Shy, fair, pretty, and humble, socially conservative Rose dated some handsome young men from her university and through Adriana's multiple contacts, but serious romance? Neither time nor luck for that.
Flirtatious, socially liberal Adriana, on the other hand, was always in a state of infatuation with the latest "one." Her clear olive skin, big green eyes, long black hair, and beautifully proportioned figure lured them one after another. But the romances never seemed to last long.
"Rose! Right! True love-that's an illusion for dreamers like you."
With graduation, a new expertise in the exciting field of climatology, and an opportunity in the U.S. Navy to study changes in the wind and sea patterns of the North Atlantic Ocean while still based in big-time New York City, Rose was elated, excited, and ready to go. Thoughts of global warming filled Rose's mind constantly. While the so-called low-risk theory of "abrupt" climate change seemed remote from happening, she nevertheless thought we must be prepared for the worst. It was commonly known that even the top prospect to be the next president of the United States was already completely sold on all the UN reports on climate change that had been released over the last fifteen years. In addition, it was also commonly known that he was a great admirer of a former U.S. senator commonly known as the "Oracle." It was the latter who claimed that he was way out in front of the consensus findings of the UN scientists. What was not known to Rose or any others was that he had already privately conveyed his findings to this man who was to be the next president of the United States.
* * *
Washington, DC, June 2008
"Still five months to go until the election, but we have this thing all wrapped up," said the campaign Chief, Thomas Barlow, in a strong, confident voice. It was late in the evening at campaign headquarters on a warm night in late June.
"Look, you know I like to call you 'Chief' because you are a master of the political game, and I have already assured you I will make you my Chief of staff if I'm elected, but let's not jump ahead. We both know that unforeseen events can happen at any moment," declared Paul Jennings, the man with the deep, golden voice who some in his political party called "the Savior." His professional demeanor, his air of confidence seemed to conquer all. Clearly this man felt himself destined to lead the nation to ever more greatness and prayed that this coming election would be his time.
"No, no," countered the Chief, his face the look of a rugged athlete sensing sure victory. "The only unforeseen event is the changing global warming mess. But as we agreed, we are keeping that issue secret for now."
"Okay, let's stick with the game plan. As you tell me over and over again, I am capable of convincing the public, with my gift of what you call 'persuasive oratory,' that I can solve both our nation's current economic problems and our health care problems. But if we alert the public too soon, before there is enough evidence about the new trend and all the bad effects of a sudden increase in global warming...." He paused, and his voice dropped into a somber tone. "We will just scare them too much and potentially damage my credibility."
"Right on," said the Chief quietly. "Let's stay on course. The public may be completely skeptical of predictions of a devastating event forecast for late 2012 or of the Oracle's concerns of near-term global warming impacts ... but let's not reveal that we believe them." The Chief, a man of obvious strong ambition, liked the idea that a crisis of some kind could be the means to catapult him to a position of great political power, even if behind the scenes.
* * *
Paris, France, June 2008
The middle-aged man from the Middle East walked briskly into the hotel lobby looking for a young Frenchman who would also be wearing a red handkerChief in the lapel pocket of his blue blazer. Their eyes met and both nodded.
"Aazim," the Frenchman called. "Come sit over here where it is quiet and we can talk privately."
"Antoine, at last we meet."
Sitting alone in a corner of the large lobby, the two men gazed at each other for a moment as though their glances would accurately size up the other's integrity and somehow the other's intentions.
Antoine spoke first of the subject at hand. "So we both know what each other does for a living. You represent your government in purchasing advanced weapons, and I work for a private bank that negotiates and facilitates such dealings. But isn't this more?"
Aazim leaned forward in his chair and in a direct, firm voice answered his new acquaintance. "This is delicate. Our telephone conversations need to be confirmed. I am discontented. You are too. The Second World War, peace, the creation of the United Nations to prevent more bloodshed, but, you know, nothing but failures since. The world is crazy-we need to stop this madness. I know how."
"Yes," Antoine replied. "We need to stop the killing-once and for all."
After a long pause as the two continued to stare at each other, perhaps searching for and finding that empathetic feeling in their hearts and minds, Aazim continued, "My friend, let's talk."
* * *
Princeton, July 2008, Setting the Science
Richard and the Oracle together again, reviewing their extensive research-three years after Katrina. It was the UN mandate issued in 1988 to create the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (to become known as the IPCC), followed up with its Earth Summit in 1992 that first got the ball rolling. Concerns expressed at that meeting by scientists studying changes in climate conditions called attention to the rising world temperatures over the course of the twentieth century. They labeled it "global warming," an increase in temperature perhaps due to increases in atmospheric gases that trap heat rising from the earth, keeping such radiant heat from escaping into space. These gases are known as "greenhouse gases," or GHGs, and include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor. Since the rate of temperature increase was accelerating during the second half of the century faster than the first half's increase, perhaps man's activities were responsible for the faster warming through greater industrial and commercial use of fossil fuels, deforestation, and pollution.
Scientists engaged by the climate panel, the IPCC, were to provide assessment reports and technical papers at regular intervals. Three years later, in 1995, the IPCC's second assessment report "Climate Change 1995" stated that "climate change will lead to an intensification of the global hydrological cycle and can have major impacts on regional water resources. Models project that between one-third and one-half of existing mountain glaciers could disappear over the next one hundred years. The reduced extent of glaciers and the depth of snow cover also would affect the seasonal distribution of water flow and water supply for hydroelectric generation and agriculture. Climate change is likely to have wide-ranging and mostly adverse impacts on human health, with significant loss of life." Scientists noted that carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere a long time compared to emitted aerosols, which have a cooling effect. Hence, industrial buildup of emitted C[O.sub.2] will last several centuries. They concluded that immediate stabilization of the concentration of carbon dioxide at its present level can only be achieved through an immediate reduction in emissions of 50 to 70 percent and further reductions thereafter.
Excerpted from A Truthful Myth by Roger Colley Copyright © 2010 by Roger Colley. Excerpted by permission.
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