Exploring the Edges of the Fictional Universe
The Shan Takhu Legacy books take place after a partial collapse of human civilization and a massive coordinated effort to rebuild has lifted mankind off of Earth and out into the solar system. I know that the kind of monumental determination to do this wouldn’t come without some worldwide compelling reason, so I wrote a brief history of the world from 2075 to 2240 as a foundation piece.
Politics aside, The Shan Takhu Legacy and this timeline is a work of fiction, based on a universe built out of one of our potential future’s past history.
I personally believe that climate change is coming, but I do not attribute it to any particular source in this document. I strictly base this on potential events as they may play out, once a trigger event happens. Read it for what it is, and don’t come at me with political agenda.
Science trumps politics.
Part One: The Great Collapse
Human population: 10.3 billion.
Earth’s global average temperature has reached 1.6° C above pre-industrial levels.
Over three consecutive years with record setting summer heat waves and warm winters, vast sections of the tundra across North America and Siberia thaw. These melt-offs release massive amounts of methane into the atmosphere. The methane spike is severe enough that global temperatures begin to climb quickly (Methane is a greenhouse gas and is thirty times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide).
A United Nations study of the decomposing organic matter in the tundra, estimates that the global average temperature will rise 1°C per decade for a minimum of thirty to forty years as a result of the methane spike. Although, the scientists also warn that this condition could extend, or accelerate, as warming upsets more of the ecosystems of frozen areas.
Drought and wildfires across North America further complicate the climate outlook, and food production worldwide plummets. A critical wave of famine spreads through Africa.
Human population: 9.9 billion.
Food production falls globally by 50%. Four hundred million people die worldwide in the decade after the thaw begins, mostly as a result of starvation. Food riots have become continuous occurrences, and many nations have declared martial law.
The North American drought intensifies and spreads to Europe and Africa. Food production falls by another 10%.
Fresh water supplies worldwide begin to diminish. Agricultural use of water competes with human consumption. Industrial use of water is restricted in may locations.
Many power generation facilities shut down because of a lack of water in reservoirs. This pushes the electric grid across North America to near collapse.
Poorer nations, particularly in Africa, face water riots in addition to the food riots, and military conflicts erupt throughout the region over water rights. People begin to flee drier areas and overrun international borders. This refugee situation causes political turmoil worldwide.
Human population falls to 8.6 billion.
Global average temperature approaches 2.6°C above pre-industrial levels.
Famine and water shortages combine to cause 1.3 billion deaths worldwide.
UN Climate Scientists estimate that because of additional methane released, and the albedo change of the earth (loss of reflective ice coverage area), global average temperatures will rise by 1° in the next seven and a half years.
The Ross Ice Shelf and other ice shelves in Antarctica begin a rapid collapse over the Antarctic summer. Estimates indicate that this event will drive global sea levels up by nearly one meter in two years.
Rise in sea level causes minor wars throughout the South Pacific, Southeast Asia and across the Indian Ocean as populations move away from the coastal regions to higher ground.
Low-lying coastal cities in the industrialized nations invest heavily in seawall construction and other infrastructure work to attempt to hold the coastal areas. The economic impact worldwide is measured in trillions of dollars.
The global average temperature approaches 3.6°C above preindustrial levels. This temperature change is exactly in line with climate predictions.
Subsurface hydrostatic release causes Greenland’s ice pack to begin what climate scientists term a total collapse. Movement of glaciers that normally measure at a meter per year, are in some cases slipping at close to a meter per day.
The UN commissions an Ice Mass Impact Study and preliminary estimates indicate that Greenland will be ice free within ten years. This sudden ice release will raise global sea levels by six to seven meters and upset Atlantic sea currents in ways that will further destabilize the climate.
Southeast Asia is overrun by refugees from across the Indian Ocean and South Pacific. Entire nation states have ceased to exist because of the rising ocean water.
The lack of suitable evacuation sites and the loss of sovereign land holdings has forced many of these nations to transition into “pirate economies.” Chaos runs rampant throughout the region and naval forces from around the world struggle to contain this outlaw activity.
The global average temperature reaches 4.4°C above pre-industrial levels.
Pirate warlords control the Indian Ocean from Australia to the African Coast, and out into the South Pacific almost to Tahiti. The lawlessness of the region collapses many of the less stable governments of Southeast Asia.
The Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea dissolve in the war.
Human population falls to 6.5 billion
Famine, water shortage, and diseases brought on by a lack of sanitary management causes 2.1 billion deaths worldwide over the previous decade.
Methane levels continue to increase as more organic matter in the tundra thaws and begins to decompose. UN Scientists predict nearly 1°C rise every five years.
Global food production falls another 10% from pre-collapse levels.
Antarctica begins a massive melt off adding to the already rapidly rising sea levels.
“Siberian Flu” outbreak starts. This disease is not actually a flu, but rather is the result of a virus that has been released from virtual suspended animation in the tundra. Spreading initially by animals or birds this disease decimates cities across the northern tier of Europe and Asia. Some progress is made in protecting North America by quarantining all refugees and other arrivals from the infected areas.
Over the course of a year, 960 million people die worldwide. Those who are living in famine affected areas, even if they would be outside the most severely impacted areas have a 60% mortality rate. Those who have managed to maintain a healthier diet die at 30% rate.
The global average temperature reaches 5.8°C above preindustrial levels.
The United Nations declares Saharan Africa and much of the Middle East uninhabitable. Although this declaration is not a binding declaration, it triggers a massive migration of people out of the regions.
Most head north towards Europe or Asia. The Russian Federation enforces its borders with troops, so few of the migrants enter Russian-controlled territory.
This forces most of them towards Europe.
Under the weight of the unprecedented refugee crisis, the European Union explodes into chaos. Nearly 250 million refugees drive the collective economy of the EU to collapse.
The United Nations is incapable of helping in the refugee management, as Europe is only one aspect of the worldwide crisis. It has already exceeded its resource limits. European leaders blame the United Nations for making the declaration that has saddled them with the refugees and they withdraw from the organization.
Late in the year China and Russia enter into a border war. The Gobi Desert of central China has become decimated by relentless heat, and large portions of the population try to migrate north. This migration is met with preemptive military force by the Russian government and the situation escalates rapidly across the Nei Mongol region.
“Eskimo Flu” erupts across North America and Siberia simultaneously. Although similar to the previous “Siberian Flu” pandemic, this disease has a 60% mortality rate everywhere.
However, because of its similarity to smallpox, scientists do manage to develop a treatment and contain the outbreak, but not before 1.65 billion people die worldwide. Scientists dubbed the disease “Megapox.”
The United Nations disbands as a result of financial insolvency and political stress.
With no forum available for international arbitration, the use of military force escalates around the world.
The war between China and the Russian federation spins rapidly toward nuclear confrontation. The United States, although struggling under its own economic hardships, attempts to arbitrate on behalf of the two parties.
A heat wave grips the southwestern United States and over 100,000 people die.
The power grid from Texas to Oregon shuts down as a result of the temperatures. The federal government orders the evacuation of much of Arizona and New Mexico. The economic cost and logistical effort nearly bankrupts the United States.
Power remains out in California and Texas for over a month.
The war between Russia and China continues to escalate to the point where a nuclear exchange appears inevitable. In the last minute, military leaders of both countries stage coups and wrest the power for the weapons control from their government leaders. Neither of the two parties will admit to having worked together, but the simultaneity of the takeovers appears to be coordinated.
The human population of the world falls to below 2.1 billion.
The global average temperature breaks 7°C above pre-industrial levels.
Death toll from the wars, and famine (1.8 billion), and both epidemics of the decade exceeds 4.41 billion people.
The United States loses sovereign control of a large portion of its territory as its citizens simply leave for Canada. Border checkpoints in Canada are overwhelmed by US refugees from the south. More people drive into Canada from the US in the first month of the year, than lived in Canada at the point of its highest population.
The Accords of 2116 and the establishment of the Human Union
Economic chaos motivates leaders from the worldwide techno-industrial complex to convene the Conclave of Human Unity. With support from the Chinese and Russian Military, and the North American Joint Defense Command, the Conclave drafts the Accords of 2116 to lay out the principles of the New Vision.
The goal of these accords is to set up a new process of governance to allow humanity to avoid extinction. It is a widely accepted scientific fact that the Earth will be uninhabitable to human beings in less than a century and single-minded focus on achieving space colonization is essential to the survival of civilization.
The Primary principle of the New Vision is that any individual not actively involved in food production or distribution, must be involved in the development and deployment of the infrastructure necessary to peacefully remove as many human beings as possible from the surface of the Earth.
The Accords of 2116 establish the foundation of what becomes the Charter of the Human Union.