Geoengineering, circa 1889 – Melting North Pole, Coal Mines, Floods, The Works

One of the least known works by Jules Verne, “Sand dessus dessous” (“Upside down”, “Topsy-turvy“, published as “The Purchase of the North Pole“) making an eery example of the trouble with geoengineering. From Wikipedia:

the Baltimore Gun Club from From the Earth to the Moon attempt to purchase the North Pole to access large deposits of coal beneath it. […] Barbicane, Nicholl, and J.T. Maston plan on tilting the Earth’s axis, making it similar to Jupiter’s. There would be no more seasons (warm all year round), the North Pole would be brought farther south (about 67 degrees north), and many countries (mostly in Asia) would be overcome by floods. The United States would also gain much more land. They plan on creating a huge explosion in the Kilimanjaros using Nicholl’s new invention, the powerful explosive, micro-meteorite. The members of the Gun Club soon get ready to create the explosion. The world is in panic. When the explosion does go, huge damage is made in the area. But the axis does not change. […]