I just read an article in the Guardian about the new book by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac called ‘The Future We Choose’, and while all I’ve been able to read so far is a short excerpt, I’m already hooked. In fact, I’ve ordered the advance copy from Amazon to get it on the first day of publication on Feb. 22.
So, why so excited?
I’m writing my own novel based on the impact of climate change on humanity, but the frustration I’ve had in researching the topic is the lack of really insightful books on the topic that are designed for the layman. The best I’ve read to date is The Uninhabitable Earth, which is excellent, but most of the other books I’ve read are strong on data, and short on readability, not to mention being thrifty with real solutions.
But the excerpt I read in the Guardian was probably the best summary of the potential future we face if humanity fails to act with haste. That exerpt paints an incredibly grim ‘worst-case scenario’ in 2050 – just 30 years from now – of a world where the air is toxic, where vast swaths of the equatorial belt are almost uninhabitable, where starvation, plague and warfare are rampant across the globe, and where millions are dying and billions more have become refugees.
In short, they paint the very picture that forms the backdrop of my novel, The All-Inclusive Resort at the End of the World, but they do so with a depth of knowledge I can only wish for.
The authors led the negotiations for the UN for the United Nations during the historic Paris Agreement of 2015, and now, having seen little action, they have written a cautionary tale about the fate of humanity in a world wracked by runaway global warming.
The previews of the book, however, make it sound as if the overall tone is optimistic. They outline two possible scenarios. One of them is what Earth will be like if governments and people unite and take aggressive action on greenhouse gas emissions. The second scenario lays out what it will be like if governments continue to huddle in nationalistic, isolated silos, and the public continues to act as if the crisis will go away on its own.
In that second scenario the authors paint a grim picture of a world where temperatures increase by 3 degrees Celsius over the base used by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It’s a world where cities and even large regions are decimated by the rise of oceans, where millions die of hunger and plague, where the cooler, wealthier nations in the northern and southern extremes of the planet shut down their borders to the billions of climate refugees, and where war becomes a constant as nations fight over increasingly scarce resources.
As it turns out, that is exactly the basis of my novel, although the events in my first book of the Burning Earth series happen in the year 2101.
The reason I think this book has so much potential, however, is that unlike a novel like mine, the authors lay out the realistic tasks we must perform as a global society if humanity is to survive and even prosper. In other words, the war against climate change is one that must be fought, but it is a war we can win.
You can see the Guardian article and book excerpt at THIS LINK.