Press rules: fossil fuel bans.

HEROINES OF CHAOS: Coalition Day One.

The War Against Climate Change.

Press Conference

Read-through Version.
Press Conference #3
fossil fuels, climate change, press rules, propaganda.

Placard: NEXT DAY. A press conference room in a government building with a music stand set up facing the audience, and some (non-defamatory) flag as a backdrop. Microphones and tele-prompters should be used if available. Boom microphones for journalists. Security personnel are also on stage and visible elsewhere.

FOGEY and LIEUTENANT are already sitting separately in the front row of the stalls or on aisle seats. They should use boom microphones operated by stage-hands.

(SOPHIE in military-style camouflage, and PRESIDENT walk to music stand. The longer speeches can be read in the same way as at a press conference in real life, looking up and pausing naturally; alternatively, if possible, SOPHIE and PRESIDENT move around the stage, using a microphone.)

Good day. First of all, are there any questions relating to the press conference that was aborted yesterday?

(FOGEY raises hand.)


If international co-operation is essential to fix climate change, how is the Coalition going to obtain universal co-operation, Ma'am? World peace seems to be a prerequisite, and that is unachievable. So what's the Coalition's plan?

That's a very good argument, Colonel. Climate chaos cannot be solved on a global scale unless there's world peace first, I agree. But the prognosis is that world population will diminish by the end of this century by well over eighty percent, whether as a consequence of war, starvation, one-child per family, pandemic, a nuclear exchange, or whatever. At that time in the future, when there may be less than half a billion humans left, then a sustainable society will become a possibility. That's why refuge is needed, so that our people here will be numbered among the survivors. We're not just idealists gazing at the stars; we just want to survive and our children and grandchildren to survive too.

Is that clear, Colonel?

Yes, but how can you be sure that the human population will diminish by eighty percent by the end of the century? Where is the evidence?

Of course, there's no absolute certainty in science, Colonel, but most projections show a substantial decline in human population by the end of this century. For instance, the population of China is expected to halve by two thousand and sixty, thanks to the one-child-per-family policy. The outlook for the twenty-first century is a great die-off; both of humans, and other species. Make no mistake, Colonel!

(PRESIDENT looks at SOPHIE, who nods.)

From an ecosystem standpoint, no species can be an apex-predator and concurrently overrun the planet like rabbits. That'd be ecologically impossible, Colonel.

(SOPHIE looks at PRESIDENT, who nods.)

Up till now, little's been achieved to lower greenhouse gas emissions. In nineteen hundred and ninety, greenhouse gas emissions were thirty-eight billion tonnes; in two thousand twenty-one, over fifty-four billion tonnes, a forty-four percent increase.

(Lieutenant raises hand)

Of course, it's cumulative emissions that dictate climate; but annual emissions're still rising, and oil companies haven't been reined in or closed down.


The lack of progress on curbing emissions is hardly surprising when the global elite're unwilling to curb propaganda, or compromise on lifestyle. Fossil-fuel-based air travel continues to contribute three percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Exactly. And fossil-fuel-based fertilisers around half that. Simply cutting-out artificial fertilisers would shrink agricultural production, erode soil-fertility, and thus undermine the gains of the Green Revolution, leading to poor-man starvation. (LIEUTENANT raises hand.) The best alternative is organic farming.


Is there a handout on all this? We'll need to explain it all to the public.

Absolutely. A handout'll be coming round soon.

An alternative hypothesis is called every-last-drop-of-oil, exemplified by some countries in Asia where over ninety percent of earnings come from exporting fossil-fuels, so that any path to zero-carbon is economically unpalatable.

(LIEUTENANT raises hand.)


What about methane leaks?

Yes, methane leaks caused more global warming in twenty-twenty-two than pan-UK carbon-emissions. While propaganda remains upbeat, a likelier future reality involves ongoing endless extraction, with concomitant, progressive unmanaged-depopulation. These're predictions by UN agencies.

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was measured at over four-hundred-twenty-five parts per million at Mauna Loa in April two thousand and twenty-three. This represents a fifty percent increase over the last seventy-five years, and is the highest for the last eight hundred thousand years, according to the evidence from ice cores taken in the Antarctic.

(FOGEY stands and waves papers agitatedly.)

This evidence (and the work of the IPCC) predicts that the world'll achieve a plus one-and-a-half degree warming (which was originally our target for the end of the century) within the next few years.

Sit down, Colonel.

(FOGEY sits down again.)


At this point, I must object.

What's the nature of the objection, Colonel?

The data was falsified.

You cannot recall even reading the relevant report, Colonel, so how would you know?

Do your homework, Colonel.

Moving on, please note that section seven of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act specifically envisages a precautionary approach, even if there's scientific and technical uncertainty about those risks.

In response to this prospect of upcoming climate chaos, the government has determined on several steps, the first of which is to eliminate most fossil-fuel-powered air travel as from midnight tomorrow.

(SOPHIE looks at PRESIDENT, who nods.)

With that in mind, from midnight tomorrow, air traffic movements involving fossil-fuelled aircraft will cease. There'll be an exception made for military aircraft, military drones, and military helicopters, whether used by our own air force or our allies. There'll also be a short-term exception made for Police, Ambulance, Fire and Emergency services. They'll need to re-equip within twelve months.

(LIEUTENANT raises a hand.)

Yes, Lieutenant, I'll take one short question now.

What's the position on international flights and air-cargo that don't refuel in NZ? And what about private aircraft? And hydrogen-powered aircraft?

The ban's not on refuelling. The ban is on landings and takeoffs. So it applies to international flights whether on not they refuel. As to private aircraft, the same rules apply: no exceptions.

As for hydrogen-powered aircraft, a third-party certificate will be required which shows that the hydrogen was manufactured from non-fossil sources.

One further question: what exactly d'you mean by 'fossil-fuelled' in relation to aircraft? What about sustainable aircraft fuels?

(PRESIDENT looks at SOPHIE, who nods.)

At present, there's no simple, single answer to jet fuel, Lieutenant. In principle, sustainable bio-fuels, are produced without using food crops, prime agricultural land, or fresh water. Aircraft claiming exemption because they're using sustainable fuel will need to produce third-party certification to prove it. The details're very complex and technical.

(FOGEY raises hand)


What about the inconvenience and disruption?

Your personal convenience is secondary to solving the climate chaos issue, Colonel.

(Smiles quizzically, and shakes head gently)

Okay, let's turn now to the matter of petrol and diesel for land and sea transport.

The Coalition doesn't wish to use the price mechanism, as the demand for fossil fuels for vehicles is inelastic; and the Coalition wishes to curb demand evenly and fairly as far as possible. It'd not be fair for rich people to carry on as before, while poor people carry the burden of restrictions.

(FOGEY waves.)

Whilst our economy is insignificant in global terms, we cannot preach to the rest of the world about moving toward zero-carbon if we're not zero-carbon ourselves.

Colonel ?

(Still seated.)

Won't this all be a complete waste of time if climate change is not happening?

Stop spreading lies and disinformation, post-war Colonel!

Climate chaos may not be happening in your tiny deluded Weltanschauung, Colonel; but out in the real world, it definiely exists and is already affecting the rest of us. You must be suffering from early onset dementia already, Colonel.

Moving on, all imports of fossil-fuel vehicles will cease as of midnight tonight. However, vehicles already in transit at sea will be allowed in when they arrive. For this purpose, the term fossil-fuelled vehicle includes hybrids, whether plug-in or not.

Second, for all registered vehicles already in-country, whether new or old, there will be restrictions on the amount of petrol, diesel, and other fossil fuels that can be purchased each week. Effectively, that means fossil-fuel rationing for vehicles.

(LIEUTENANT waves order paper.)

For private passenger vehicles, the weekly fuel allowance'll be fifteen litres per vehicle. This is the same as in the USA during World War Two.

There're extra allowances for vehicles weighing over three-point-five tonnes; and the transition period'll be longer.


Will there be an exemption for classic cars, or unregistered farm-vehicles?
There're no special exemptions for classic cars, Lieutenant. Farm vehicles will now need to be registered under a new category called off-road vehicles, in order to obtain a fuel allowance.
What about the fact that some electricity generation is based on coal?
The last remaining coal-fired power station's being mothballed for the foreseeable future. That means that electricity generation will be all green.

(LIEUTENANT raises hand. FOGEY stands, waving a hand negligently, and remains standing.)

Sit down, Colonel!


(FOGEY sits.)

How're people supposed to live on sixteen liters of fuel per week? Most people cannot afford electric cars.

Americans coped in the Second World War, Lieutenant. And electric cars're only a stop-gap solution. The answer is that we all have to change our lifestyle. Nothing else'll be good enough.

Why was this not done earlier, with more notice, and with a longer transition period?
As explained earlier, Colonel, the timetable has been moved up, because the rest of the world has not kept to their zero-carbon targets on time.
Why is a regulatory regime necessary? Surely, if the market were deregulated, then market forces'd find an equitable solution?

There's no evidence, Colonel, to support your assertion that market forces'd solve the climate crisis in time. On the contrary, market forces have been relatively unrestricted since the early nineteen-nineties, and the results, for the ecosystem and the natural world, have been appalling. Market forces work to maximise shareholder value, not to conserve the human habitat niche. That is why regulation is an effective answer, and free markets're not.

Surely, the answer is more deregulation and privatisation!

Shut your mouth, Colonel. That is not a solution!

(Tersely) That is not true. Do you have a question, Colonel?
You say yours is an evidence-based government. Where is the evidence for climate change?

Shut your gob, old-man!

Are you actually questioning whether scientific evidence for human-induced climate chaos exists, Colonel?
Yes. Show me the evidence!
The original evidence was presented by James Hansen to a US Senate committee in nineteen hundred and eighty-eight. You have had ample time to study it, Colonel, and all the subsequent supporting evidence from the ice core samples. Have you not done this already, Colonel? Are you seriously implying that there's no evidence, Colonel?
Yes. Where is the evidence?
Let us be clear. Are you denying the very existence of evidence for climate human-induced change, Colonel?
(Triumphantly) Yes. For the third time, where's the evidence?
It's not my job to show you the evidence, Colonel. It's your job as a journalist to do your homework.
(More triumphantly) Just show me the evidence!
If you continually and repeatedly question the existence of evidence for climate chaos, Colonel, you're undermining public trust in the government and good public order. That'd make your good self, Colonel, an enemy of the state. Please, sit down at once, Colonel.

(Defiantly and looking round at the cameras and other journalists)

See! They have no evidence!

You're lies and shit, eat your dick, old-man!

(Stagehands wearing yellow gilets appear near FOGEY. PRESIDENT emphatically gives security the go-ahead, whereupon SOPHIE and PRESIDENT exit stage left under security escort. Other security personnel drag FOGEY off-stage left. Two or three demonstrators or protesters enter from stage right, look around, before plunging off-stage left after SOPHIE and PRESIDENT. Off-stage a gun goes off. A babble of voices can be heard from off-stage: 'Excuse me, Colonel'; 'Why didn't you just taser him?'; 'Wrong gun by mistake'; 'Someone call an ambulance!'; 'What a mess on the floor!', 'We need a bucket and mop.' Finally, one clear voice says: 'Are you dead, Colonel?')

(from off-stage)

Of course I'm dead. Why else would I be slumped in a pool of blood on the floor with a hole in my head? Are you Saint Peter?

(From off-stage a voice answers with irony: 'Colonel, do I look like Saint Peter?')

(from off-stage, with exasperation) I don't know. What does Saint Peter look like?

(From off-stage a voice replies drily: 'a two-thousand-year-old man with a halo, Colonel.')

(from off-stage) Where is your evidence for that? Prove to me that you're, in fact, Saint Peter!

(From off-stage come shouts of 'Gas, gas!'. The demonstrators come back on stage, coughing, wiping their eyes, and stagger off stage right.)