In 1953, writer Ian Fleming created a character who enthrals readers and viewers to this day. James Bond’s ability to save the day is unparalleled among those without superpowers. But what would this secret agent be without the classic villain’s plans to foil? Bond’s foes have an uncanny ability to put the world in peril with their nefarious plots. Researching the multitude of impacts from climate change, one gets the sense that carbon emissions could take on a Bond villain-esque quality.
Climate calamities could easily have been lifted from the pages of a Bond novel. Compared to the extreme weather, economic ruin and mass upheaval caused global warming, Le Chiffre rigging a high-stakes poker game seems like small potatoes.
Let’s imagine for a moment the stakes of this latest Bond plot:
If there were a Bond villain who threatensto sink sacred places below the sea,
If there were a Bond villain who tries to wipe out biodiversity,
A Bond villain who spreads deadly viruses and puts seniors on heatwave alert,
Robs people of their water and turns vast areas to desert,
Collects the sun’s rays to melt the arctic ice cap,
And wipes historic cities like Venice off the map [those last three sound familiar],
If there were a bond villain planning to drive a billion people from their homes,
To unleash devastating droughts, fearsome floods and horrific hurricanes,
Would humanity ignore him? Would they waffle and bicker and tremble before him?
Surely they’d put aside such childish things,
And focus on stopping this man and all that he brings.
Anthropomorphizing climate change to a Bond villain isn’t that unrealistic. One can picture a grizzled old man with dark features, spinning his chair around amongst a hazy smog. He unleashes a monstrous cackling laugh as he maniacally explains his plans to unleash climate chaos on the people of Earth. It may seem a little silly, but compare the blank cheque response of Britain’s MI6 to similar sinister characters. In the movies, it’s easy to rally against the obvious villain, whose evil plans come with certain injustice. Even if it isn’t so easy to combat the vague, real-life villain we’ve all created, it’s far more important.