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19Nov

The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson review – how to solve the climate crisis

An international taskforce tackles global heating in this chilling yet hopeful vision of how the next few decades might unfold

It opens like a slow-motion disaster movie. In the near future, a heatwave of unsurvivable “wet-bulb” temperatures (factoring in humidity) in a small Indian town kills nearly all its inhabitants in a week. The Indian government sends up planes to spray sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere to mimic the dimming effect of major volcanic eruptions. This does not, naturally, meet with unalloyed approval around the world.

A new international climate-crisis body has been “charged with defending all living creatures present and future who cannot speak for themselves”, and is quickly dubbed the Ministry for the Future. It is led by our protagonist, Mary Murphy, former foreign minister of Ireland. Her outfit may or may not also have a black ops wing, but a shadowy terrorist network called the “Children of Kali” has no white ops wing: it uses drone swarms to crash passenger jets and container ships in deadly protest at continuing carbon emissions.

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