It's like the opposite of the ultimate Bond villainy: imagine a "rogue" nation-state or a wealthy philanthropist with the ability to launch a massive geo-engineering experiment in a last-ditch effort to save the planet from climate change. That's one of the myriad concerns outlined in the World Economic Forum's latest "Global Risk Report," which the organization releases annually, right before it welcomes world leaders and TED speakers to Davos to fix everything.
Which pretty much proves that the honchos at WEF read Motherboard—we were way ahead of those stuffy old dignitaries. Last year, we examined the possibility of a sinking Tuvalu or some eccentric billionaire going ahead and shooting aerosol into the atmosphere to deflect sunlight or such.
But, you know, better late than never. The Guardian highlights the WEF's fears of a mad climatic tinkerer:
"The global climate could, in effect, be hijacked. For example, an island state threatened with rising sea levels may decide they have nothing to lose, or a well-funded individual with good intentions may take matters into their own hands," the report notes. It said there are "signs that this is already starting to occur", highlighting the case of a story broken by the Guardian involving the dumping of 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off the Canadian coast in 2012, in a bid to spawn plankton and capture carbon.
In truth, we do "geoengineering" on that scale all the time: we already paint roofs white en mass, and, oh yeah, we humanfolk already spew gigatons of heat-trapping carbon and methane into the atmosphere on the regular, with no sign of slowing down. The greatest threat to humanity is that we keep the fossil fuel tap cranked up; not some Doc Brown from the Maldives seeding iron in the ocean.
But still, it's good fun to ponder the inverted mad villain archetype—hey, maybe it could add a nice layer of moral ambiguity to the next Bond flick.
A president of a fast-submerging island nation would do anything to save his people. But to save them, he just might destroy the very world as we know it. Only one secret agent can stop him … But should he?
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