UN 2022
1. First Edition27 April 2019
CategoriesBlog, Environment, Future

John Valentine is a writer of fiction and physical sciences. This article is a speculative view of our current environmental crisis.

Environmental Summit of the UN, 2022

The new Secretary General speaks...

John Valentine, 28 April 2019

Photo credit: ESA/NASA

18 May 2022

At the 2022 UN summit, __________________, the newly-elected Secretary General of the UN, and the youngest to be elected to that office at the age of 19, took to her seat to a standing ovation. However, the sense of celebration soon ended when she eventually stood to speak. Some of us thought we knew what might be coming, but we were wrong.

Please close the doors around this building. You’re not going home until you put out this fire.

You are gathered here as your countries’ representatives to the United Nations of Earth, with authority to make agreements. You have the authority to go back to your governments, and mandate disruptive change now. I make no apology using the word “now”, because “now” is when you have to act when your house is on fire. When your house is on fire, you do not promise to put out five percent of the fire tomorrow; you act now, and get everyone’s help. Your agreement is not words, spoken here; it is not a promise, written on paper; it is a commitment to act now, a commitment to your own people and to all of us in this room, to act now.

Now, you are going to make a commitment to save our Earth, to put out the fire, and make sure you do not start any more fires.

Anyone who leaves early will be watched, and they will leave with shame, and the rest of us will decide what we will do with you, while we assume that you are intent on the destruction of the planet’s ecosystem and all life on it.

You have in front of you, a single piece of paper. Please turn it over. These are the minimum terms you have to agree, that our best science tells us we need to do to save the planet. Our children are looking for more, of course, to allow them to avoid the suffering you have caused. These targets are only what is needed to avert the crisis, that I told you about three years ago, when you did not listen nor understand. If you had understood, you would have put out the fire before now.

To help you, and the listening press, understand what is required, I will say this: we do not yet have all the answers. We do not have all the technology we need to deliver this target. But we can commit to increasing our resources dedicated to this problem, by a factor of one hundred at least. Everyone should be interested in these problems. Those trillions we spend understanding the Universe, would be better placed understanding our own planet and fixing what you have done, so that tomorrow we are here to appreciate the beauty of the Universe. Those trillions we spend on weapons to destroy each other are wasted, because if we do not do enough, tomorrow there will be nothing to defend.

Yet we must not count our effort in trillions, because that is the language of capitalism, a system designed for continuous growth that we cannot sustain. You will see on those conditions in front of you, a currency based on carbon, whose rewards correspond with the goal of saving our Earth, and cannot be interchanged with the money you know today. It will be the first currency that is respected by all, and it is absolutely necessary to adopt it, so that we can all be responsible for saving our planet, now.

I do not want to hear how much it will cost you, because if you fail, your money will be worthless. If you were not listening before, then you will listen now, because now, there is no doubt that you, in this room, are responsible, and will be seen as the heroes who saved our planet, or the criminals who destroyed it. You are responsible now.