Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer and J. S. Kachelries
Back in 2023, researchers at the Beijing Chemical Company (BCC) discovered a way to reverse the effects of global warming. It involved using a unique new molecule that converts carbon dioxide into atomic carbon and gaseous oxygen. The molecule is called phosphorousdimethylbenzaldpotassiumdicholoroethane, which was ultimately shortened to Carbon Deoxidizer. Carbon Deoxidizer is a catalyst that provides a specific surface geometry that facilitates the splitting of carbon dioxide molecules using ultraviolet light from the sun that has a characteristic wavelength of exactly 24.3 nanometers. This type of ultraviolet light is called “Extreme UV” and is only available in the mesosphere, which begins about 50 kilometers (160,000 ft) above sea level. Below this altitude, the ozone in the stratosphere blocks most of the UV photons, stopping the reaction.
Properly dispersed in the mesosphere, 1,000 pounds of Carbon Deoxidizer is enough to remove approximately two billion tons of carbon dioxide gas from the atmosphere before the Carbon Deoxidizer molecules are themselves destroyed by cosmic ray spallation. Consequently, a replenishing program was initiated to maintain an equilibrium amount of Carbon Deoxidizer in the mesosphere. Since the inception of the Deoxidization Program in 2028, thirty years ago, the average global temperature declined to pre-World War II levels. Now, however, there was a doomsayer beating his drum. Professor Herbert Brewstier was intent on halting the release of any additional Carbon Deoxidizer.
Professor Brewstier had been statistically monitoring the world’s annual rainfall and had concluded that it hadn’t changed in thirty years. Scientist had originally predicted that the millions of tons of newly formed carbon dust particles would be ideal nucleation sites for raindrops. Brewstier believed that since rainfall hadn’t increased, it meant that the carbon dust was not filtering down to the troposphere, but was accumulating in the mesosphere. Furthermore, his model predicted that the carbon dust was about to reach critical density, and would explode in the very near future, releasing 50 quadrillion kilogram-calories of energy, while simultaneously reforming 80 years of carbon dioxide gas.
During the United Nations hearings, Brewstier testified that if we didn’t do something immediately, we would die one of two ways. Instantaneously, if the carbon dust combusted simultaneously; or slowly, if it took weeks for the rarified oxygen in the mesosphere to be replenished. An explosion, or a smoldering fire; either way we would be dead. However, rebuttal testimony from “atmospheric experts” hired by BCC presented enough contradictory data to prevent the UN from acting. Instead, they voted to fund a five year program to study the potential effects to the environment, and to the global economy, if the Deoxidation Program was curtailed. Frustrated, Brewstier gave up and returned to his cabin in Montana to await the end.
Each night, Brewstier would sit on his deck and watch the sky for the first signs of the ignition. Finally, one December evening, he noticed a feint glow coming from the southern horizon. It became as bright as an aurora, but was in the wrong half of the sky. He sighed as he watched the reddish light gradually expanded northward, drowning out the fifth and sixth magnitude stars. The snow covered mountaintops turned a pale blood red as they reflected the light from the slow burning mesosphere. “Damn,” he whispered as he realized that it was not going to be a quick catastrophic end. Instead, it was going to be the slow, agonizing death. But not for me, he thought, as he cocked the 12 gauge shotgun that he’d been holding in his lap.