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-Page Essay #

4: Solution to the Anthropogenic Warming


You have been appointed Minister of the Global Environment in administration of Zaphod


, Philosopher King of the World. Historical note: Zaphod [or one of his descendants (or

possibly one of his ancestors; there is ambiguity as a result of time travel)] subsequently


Emperor of the Universe as described in Douglas Adams’


Guide to the Galaxy

. Your portfolio

in the Beeblebrox administration is to solve the problem of Anthropogenic Global Warming. You can

redirect resources, establish or terminate entire industries, or impose any regulation or sanction. You

have unlimited abi

lity to tax or

to subsidize. You are term limited to a decade

. There is, however, an

unlimited liability clause in your contract. A decade after you leave office there will be a worldwide

referendum on your job performance. The electorate will choose among

three options: a) Lavish

pension allowing you to live in


; b) Dignified but austere obscurity (think witness protection); or

c) Termination with extreme prejudice. Plan wisely!

You will need to prioritize reform of the industries and technologies

that produce the most

greenhouse gasses. Do you want to limit coal burning to metallurgy? Switch electrical generation

entirely to natural gas? Solar? Wind? Nuclear? Carbon sequestration? How about cars? Should we


or tax them? Make them all gas or plug-

in hybrids

, or pure electric

? Maybe it would be better to




to rail. What about a carbon tax or permits to produce or use fossil fuels? How do

you plan to enforce efficiencies in manufacturing, lighting, household appliances, etc.?

What about

population growth and living standards? You will need to look ahead in the text and put some numbers

with your recommendations to write a convincing plan.

Maybe the best course is to force everybody to eat granola and tofu, having 1.2 children



, but otherwise living like monks or nuns for the environment’s sake. Alternatively,

you might

argue that rich societies deal with environmental challenges better

than poor ones. Let’s just suck up all

the resources and leave the problem to our descendants. That might be a rational choice, given that

civilization probably won’t crash during the next twenty years

and the electorate’s decision on your fate

is irrevocable (you hope)


Prepare your plan in the Churchillian 500 words as usual, remember

ing that Zaphod has even more

severe ADD than Sir Winston did

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