‘Blade Runner 2049’ gives climate change a starring role with ‘global cooling’ meme

Danny Bloom 17 October 2017

When I lived in Tokyo in the 1990s,... Tokyo at night was and still is “Blade Runner” writ large.
The film was set in a near future of 2019. We are almost there.
Now comes the latest iteration of the “Blade Runner” meme in 2017 and it’s titled “Blade Runner 2049” since it takes place 30 years later — in 2049.
And this new movie is a cli-fi film, and it gives climate change a starring role.

 But there’s just one problem: while the movie talks about climate change, viewers will see that Los Angeles in 2049 is 30 degrees cooler than today’s temperatures and is also hit by strong sub-Arctic blasts of cold air. ”Global warming,” or ”global cooling”?
Leah Schade, a visionary ”eco-preacher” who is a Lutheran professor of preaching and worship at the Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky, recently wrote a very good article on the Patheos website about the new movie, which she headlined 

Blade Runner 2049: Cli-Fi at Its Best

Blade Runner 2049 imagines a futuristic 

Cli-fi, short for climate fiction, is a genre that narrates the present and future world through the lens of climate change. Cli-fi can help folks understand climate change more effectively than charts and numbers alone.  Because it’s the stories that help us imagine what lies ahead – and what is worth saving now.  As John Siciliano notes in the Washington Examinerclimate change gets a starring role in Blade Runner 2049.

Blade Runner 2049 is cli-fi at its best.

Not only is the film a cinematic masterpiece, it imagines a future shaped by the effects of climate change and explores what it means to be human in an inhumane time.  The original Blade Runner was itself prescient about climate change.  The movie rendered a Los Angeles landscape saturated with rain (a warmer atmosphere absorbs more moisture) and devoid of any animals except those that are genetically-engineered (due to loss of habitat and toxic environments leading to species extinctions).
Blade Runner 2049 continues the saga.  According to the film’s website, the planet 30 years later is affected by dramatic shifts in weather and climate.  Huge sea walls are built between Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean to protect the city from rising sea levels.  The desertification of Las Vegas is stark and total (at least at first glance).  And the only greenery is seen in a holographic bubble of a scientist’s laboratory.  But, oddly, snow squalls swirl unexpectedly in LA.  How can this be? 
Blade Runner 2049 is premised on an environmental twist.

According to the movie’s timeline, a nuclear detonation explodes in 2022 over the West Coast which obliterates electronic data and shuts down cities for weeks.  Data and financial records are obliterated, and communications are severed, leading to chaos and mass hunger.  Presumably, this also leads to a kind of nuclear winter, and ensuing sub-arctic blasts that periodically turn LA’s rain into snow.