Tuesday 8th November

Dear COP27 Delegates. Welcome back to our exciting climate fiction anthology! As today has no specified theme, we have chosen our own.

In the simplest terms, to fix the climate crisis, society needs to:

  1. Reduce consumption
  2. Switch to renewables
  3. Remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
  4. Refreeze the Arctic

We have a selection of short stories that illustrate these solutions. You can read them below.

We encourage you to leave your comments in the relevant section below.

Refreeze the Arctic by Steve Willis

Very little has been said about restoring the poles. This story considers a possible, bold pathway…

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After the meeting, we went to the little bar downstairs, an old-fashioned Japanese place, like Midnight Diner.

We had been watching and discussing a presentation from the Cambridge Centre for Climate Repair about the melting of the arctic and a sense of doom filled the air.

The rather dour British Professor had said;

“As melting ice caps darken with water, sunlight is no longer being reflected back into space. What we feared for decades is happening. We’ve tipped over into a positive feedback loop, meaning our ice caps are melting faster and faster. Scarier still is the methane time bomb. Rising temperatures will cause this greenhouse gas, around 80+ times more potent than carbon dioxide, to be released from the permafrost and the shallow Siberian Seas, tipping us into jungle planet mode, ending civilization as we know it.” 

We ordered some beer and fished around disconsolately for solutions. 

After half an hour, a short, older man with glasses approached me and asked for a word.

‘What would YOU do about this, if you could?’

Emboldened by Sapporo, I ran our dream scheme past him.

He asked a few questions. We pulled up a map. Sat at the bar & ordered more beer.

Coming up to midnight, I’d missed the last train and was wondering where to crash for the night.

Ito San, for that was his name, had gone for a leak, and had urged me to wait.

There were four of us sat at the corner of the bar, waiting and finishing off the wasabi nuts.

When he returned, slightly unsteady on his feet, he sat down and considered each of us in turn, in silence. After a long moment, he said, ‘I will pay’

We started to thank him for the beer & his hospitality, and he said,

‘No, no, no’, ‘I will pay for your magnificent plan. ‘It is November. Can we have everything in place for February?’

So here we are, in northern Hokkaido. We’d been worrying about the weather forecast, but of course, climate change can bring cold weather forward as well as back. It has been freezing here for two weeks already. It’s minus 20 today. The Okhotsk sea ice is due to arrive tomorrow.

All the equipment is set, and we are beyond excitement to start the work. Ito San is here, with his entourage and a camera crew to record the start of the work. The camera crew will remain with us for the 2 months of planned work. Ito industries have arranged all of the equipment and we have developed a series of scientific experiments which will explore our hypothesis.

The idea is simple.  The Arctic ice is melting.

In order to help manage climate change, we need to manage the melting of the ice.

We will do that by simply making lots more ice – and we will do that by spraying huge volumes of sea water into freezing air and making new sea ice. Ito San has hired us an ice breaking tug, a crew and a series of water cannon, snow machines and other high power pumps with which to do the experiments. Ito San has been remarkably helpful, popping up at unexpected times while we made the arrangements.

He said last week ‘This is the most fun I have ever had spending a million dollars – and I can get most of it back as a tax rebate! – I’m almost embarrassed to reclaim it from the government!’

We have found that most people have bent over backwards to help us – pleased at the prospect of being involved in something that can actually make a difference to the climate crisis.

We are in Hokkaido because, for two months every year, there is a huge area of sea ice that comes down from the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia – though there is nothing hot about it! The sea ice is not persistent, it melts away completely as the weather warms, which makes it ideal for our trial work – no lasting harm can be done. We will make some areas of thickened ice – marked with food dye, and compare them with the naturally formed ice. This will allow us to calculate the longevity of the thickened ice, and to work out if it really could help in the Arctic.

This is stage 1 of the plan.

Stage 2. We’re going to need a bigger boat. Up in Arctic waters, working the whole winter, thickening as much ice as possible and monitoring the new ice with satellites and drones.

The third stage would be a lot more boats and a series of new technologies we have been dreaming up to make thousands of km2 of thickened ice. This will help with albedo as well so many other things – see foot note for a detailed explanation.

Stage 4, insanely bold as it is, is to refreeze the high Arctic so that there is as much ice as there was at the end of the last ice age. This is a big man-made cooling block to balance the centuries of man-made heating.

This huge reflective shield will be less damaging than the SRM mini-Pinatubos that have been considered – the earth has had ice shields before, after all, and it will buy time.


A resource we thought we had run out of. I can’t wait to get on that boat.

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Stories by Kim Stanley Robinson: Drambers and Project Slowdown

This tale by Kim Stanley Robinson considers the impact of melting Antarctic glaciers on sea level rise, & what might be done about it.

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Titanics and CAAP

The climate crisis is daunting and depressing. Climate anxiety is a growing issue. This story considers a 110-year-old incident, finds new solutions, considers what this tells us about fixing apparently impossible problems – and how determination is a useful alternative to anxiety.

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The stories of the rest of COP27 will follow the themes of the day.

See you tomorrow!

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