Confucius and Stallone

Another vignette from the UK’s mainly benign but sometimes barbaric low carbon dictatorship …

Sir Heinz Klaxon-Schmitt, Minister of Finance, glanced out of the window of the prime minister’s office.  He looked at the crowd milling in the square below in the evening light.

“What’s going on down there?” he asked.

The prime minister, Onan Hash, glanced up from his desk: “Oh, it’s another a DABDBA.  You know, the normal sort of thing,” he said wearily. [1]

“Actually, an interesting case,” added the PM, as he closed the file he’d been reviewing. “Bunion … an MP for the Petrol Party.  He’d shot some birds of prey on his land and disturbed the nest… Poor do altogether.”

Hash poured himself a whisky and one for Klaxon-Schmitt.  He wandered over to the window.

“What’s that thing they’re kicking around?” asked Klaxon-Schmitt.

Hash squinted a little as he looked down on to the dusky square.  “I daresay it’s his head, no?”

“Might be … but there’s another, look – over on the far side.”

“Well, you know … he disturbed the nest.  Must have had eggs in.”

Thus the early, rough-and-tumble days of DABDBA, the Do as Be Done By Act, aimed at eliminating cruelty to nature and meat eating.  But we are not here to discuss the barbarousness of meat-eating or of the unregulated felling of trees… listen on.

“When do they arrive, PM?” asked Klaxon-Schmidt. He checked his watch.  It was 6:25.

“Should be about 7 …we’ve got half an hour,” replied Hash.

Both men were jittery.  Telford was hosting the CONFUCIUS talks between the USA and China and much was at stake: life on the planet!

Well, “bilateral” was the way forward those days.  They’d had to abandon the UNFCCC at the 2020 COP summit.  Held during monsoon weather in Chittagong, the whole vehicle had become trapped in a muddy field.  The poor pulled in one direction, the rich pulled in another, the nouveau riche in yet a third and the nouveau pauvre of Europe in a fourth.  And how they tried to pull the cart out of the mud, with a groaning of timbers and chorus of frightened barking of the trusty mules which had hauled it there, and still the rain flooded down into that field, and the great cart quietly sunk deeper and deeper amidst all the commotion and the hilarious crashing and bashing of tin cans and plastic bottles by the natives.  And just then a huge bellowing was heard from the north, and it shook the whole planet, for the Great Methane Bubble had burst and the North Pole let out a vile, weary, sulfury guff, and even peasants on the Russian steppes and bush-women on the Kalahari, pausing, bent backed, at their sparse crops, wretched at the stench.

So the first treaty, STALLONE – the Strategic Agreement for Long-term Limits on Emissions – had been ratified in 2023 and was being implemented.

Under STALLONE China and the USA committed to an immediate cessation of building fossil fuel power plants and agreed each year to scrap a 20% of their coal-fired plants.  Within five years all coal-fired plants in China and the USA would be consigned to the scrap yard.  Market mechanisms were a luxury whose day had passed; exhortations to the greater good had failed; even the blackening of TV screens which followed from the banning of advertising … even that had failed to break the addiction.  And so it was left to STALLONE: the military, jobless since the oil wells were shut off, was called in once again to subsidise the energy industry: with dynamite and sledgehammers, chainsaws and cutting torches, they hacked and bashed at power plants from Kentucky to Connecticut, from Tianjin to Tibet.

CONFUCIUS was just as ambitious.  Under the Conjoined Funding by China and USA Programme , – China and the USA were planning to pool finance and technology to construct hundreds of thousands of square km of solar farms in Arizona and in the Gobi desert.  This would generate most of the remaining electricity needs of those two nations … especially after their successful policies of self-restraint orders decimated the use of electric tooth-brushes.  China needed something to do with the few trillion US dollars it was still hanging on to, and the American people needed work.  Work!  Even sweltering in the 50 degrees of the Arizona desert, it was meaning, a greater purpose, escape from begging and depravity in the ruins of dusty, grimy dilapidated shopping malls.  In a few years’ time the solar dream would be reality.

Klaxon-Schmitt coughed nervously.

“Worried about the supply of rivets?” asked Hash.  Screw GB, the recently bailed-out and rebranded fixings company, was lobbying hard for a role in the construction of Sonoran 1, the first project in the CONFUCIUS program.

“Rivets?”  Klaxon-Schmitt looked up.

“Yes, rivets.  You look worried,” said the PM with some concern.

The minister of finance nodded towards the window.  “No … the DABDBA thing.  Bit rough, isn’t it?”

“Tough love,” smiled Onan Hash.  “Once they’ve got the message, we’ll introduce some exemptions.  Tough first, then soften a bit.  Stockholm syndrome.”

“But the … thing…” Klaxon-Schmitt grimaced.  “It’s just not cricket.”

Before the PM had time to remark that the crowd had been playing rugby with Bunion’s head, not cricket, there was a knock at the door and in walked the imposing form of Mai Wei, special emissiary to the President of China, and, immediately behind him, Paul Brando, President of the United States, both beaming.

Klaxon drew the curtains and the great nations began to speak.


1. For the more about the Do As Be Done By Act of 2021 (DABDBA) see

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