Expounding the reality of climate change through science fiction

31 January 2022

American science-fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2020 novel The Ministry for the Future is set in a world once ravaged by climate change, but slowly on the mend. Yet the inhabitants of this world have not had to merely tolerate weather extremes, but also numerous other significant problems.

His most recent novel, “The Ministry for the Future,” published in October, 2020, during the second wave of the pandemic, centers on the work of a fictional U.N. agency charged with solving climate change. The book combines science, politics, and economics to present a credible best-case scenario for the next few decades. It’s simultaneously heartening and harrowing. By the end of the story, it’s 2053, and carbon levels in the atmosphere have begun to decline. Yet hundreds of millions of people have died or been displaced. Coastlines have been drowned and landscapes have burned. Economies have been disrupted, refugees have flooded the temperate latitudes, and ecoterrorists from stricken countries have launched campaigns of climate revenge.

Perhaps more stories like this — that are both gloomy yet hopeful — might prompt more people to take climate change more seriously?

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