DEATH VALLEY, CA – July 1, 2050 – Surveying the landscape made barren from thousands of tons of silicon tetrachloride, President Sasha Obama peered out through the transparent face plate of her hazmat suit and for a fleeting moment wondered if her father had sparked one bold commitment too many during his revolutionary Administration. She quickly returned to the business at hand of dedicating the final solar thermal plant marking the transition of the United States from fossil fuels to a society driven 100% by renewable energy. Though popular during his time, the patriarch’s all-out drive to replace fossil fuel energy with renewable forms by mid-century turned out to have unforeseen consequences.
Toxic waste from
the production of photovoltaic cells was not an issue on anybody’s radar screen
during the first Obama presidency. That was back when solar accounted for a
fraction of a percent of the nation’s energy production. Then came the crash
program spearheaded by Obama’s immediate successor, President Al Gore, to mandate
the production of more than 900 gigawatts of solar power each decade going
forward. Polysilicon manufacturers rapidly ran out of capacity to recycle the
extremely toxic silicon tetrachloride byproduct. Also, calculations showed that
the energy consumed in heating the substance to upwards of 1,800 degrees
Fahrenheit as required for reprocessing subtracted significantly from the net
power derived from solar energy. This required further stepping up of
photovoltaic production, which created more toxic waste, which continually
exacerbated the disposal problem.
At first only a
few rogue manufacturers resorted to illegal dumping. Eventually even
responsible companies that wanted to obey the law found it impossible to comply
without jeopardizing the health and even lives of their employees. Caught
between the rock of OSHA and hard place of EPA, the entire industry opted for
self-preservation. Corporate civil disobedience campaigns sprang up throughout
the land. When solar toxic waste began showing up on the grounds of Camp David
during the previous Administration of Sasha’s older sister, President Malia
Obama, the federal government relented. An emergency measure was passed to allow
unlimited dumping of silicon tetrachloride in designated areas of America’s
deserts located in Republican congressional districts. The sites chosen all
surround immense solar thermal farms that had sprung up throughout the
Southwest as part of the renewable energy drive, since they had already wreaked
havoc on desert ecosystems.
Sasha Obama retreated from her ceremonial visit to the latest solar power
plant/toxic waste dumping ground, she kept her hazmat suit on well past the
time when she was advised it was safe to discard it. She knew from past
experience that the hazmat garb emblazoned with the Presidential seal protected
her not only from toxic waste but also granted relief from myriad biting
insects that had become ubiquitous throughout the United States. The
thousand-fold increase in insect populations was one of those unforeseen
consequences resulting from the burgeoning of gigantic wind farms and their
subsequent decimation of bird and bat species. Madame President reflected to an
aide that the nation’s insect problem might well become completely unmanageable
were it not for the numerous restrictions against wind projects being
constructed where they might interfere with pristine scenery in recreational
areas inhabited by influential political leaders and Hollywood celebrities.
crash transition to renewable energy is thought by many economists to be the
prime cause of the global catastrophe known as The Greatest Depression, which is
now in its fifth decade as the longest period of economic contraction in recorded
history. Despite more than four consecutive decades of leadership by the Obama
dynasty and close allies, a consensus among the nation’s news media is that
everything gone wrong is the fault of the 43rd President of the U.S., George W.
Bush, and his right-wing allies.
dedication ceremony, President Sasha Obama left the desert aboard Air Force One
for a meeting in Washington with Concerned Climatic Scientists, a group formed to
urge government policies to reverse a precipitous decline in atmospheric carbon
dioxide coinciding with the renewable energy push, and which is associated with
a plummeting of global temperatures since 2020. “Without forceful government
action, by the end of this century we are almost certain to experience the
onset of another Ice Age that will crush most of North America under mile-high
glaciers,” said a CCS spokesman.
One of the CCS
recommendations is a crash program to build power plants fired by coal, the
dirtier the better.