Robinson’s book contains plenty of warnings for today’s political leaders and policymakers. In ministry, Political inaction and more extreme climate events eventually trigger violence and terrorism. A small agency of the United Nations, called “Ministry for the Future”, skillfully maneuvers countries and institutions to take steps to save the human race.
I called Robinson to find out what he’s thinking this summer as he watched the world approach the kind of climate disasters that trigger the plot. ministry for the futureAlthough Robinson recently published his first non-fiction book, The High Sierra: A Love StoryHe told me ministry for the future continues to monopolize his time, filling his days with incessant rounds of addresses, interviews – and meets reality in the final narrative – an appearance at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2021. (United Nations climate conferences are important of ministry plots.)
“This book has changed my life,” Robinson said. “I’m doing nothing but talking ministry for the future For the past year and a half, now almost two years. It’s scary too. It shows me that people are in dire need of a story like this. They are holding this book like a piece of driftwood, and they are drowning in the open sea.”
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Laidman: In your opening chapter, heat waves and power failures killed 20 million people in India, several thousand of them starving in a lake trying to escape the heat. Will the world have to suffer this kind of climate panic in order to take action?
Robinson: No, when I was at COP 26, Jordanian diplomat Zaid Ra’ad Hussein, who read ministry, Was talking about the power of stories. “You don’t need to be in a plane crash to know that being in a plane crash would be bad,” he said. Every year since I wrote the book – I wrote it three years ago – it seems as though the focus on the climate change crisis has more than doubled. It is almost exponential.
We’re not at the point of resolution, but the feeling intensifies at every COP meeting that, “Oh my god, we’re going to get into a plane crash”. We are not doing enough. We are not paying poor countries enough. Rich countries are breaking promises made in earlier COPs. The disenchantment with that process is becoming so intense that I fear the COP process itself. I am comparing it to the League of Nations. League of Nations was a great idea which failed. And then we got 1930 and World War II. The 2015 Paris Agreement was a wonderful thing, as if I would write something that people would call utopian. But it happened in the real world.
Now, with Russia and the brutal Ukraine war, things have gotten so messy that the COP process and the Paris Agreement could turn into a League of Nations. I’m scared for it. This is not a done deal.
Laidman: We seem to have an incredible ability to ignore a plane crash. You talk about this in the book, the widespread belief that someone else’s disaster can’t happen to us, the idea that, “They must have done something wrong.”
Robinson: Michael Lewis has a great story about it in his book [The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy] on the federal government. One town in Oklahoma is destroyed by a tornado, the next town is over, people say, “Oh, they’re in the tornado track, and we’re not.” So yes, we have that capability. However, it brings up one good thing. When you say that, even if 20 million people have died in India, people will say, this is India – a lot of people, poor infrastructure, in the tropics. It’s almost their fault. It’s like a school shooting in America. Everyone is sorry for this. Everyone moves on. nothing changes.
What difference will my cumulative knowledge about climate change make in my home region? The effects didn’t kill me, but I can tell it would be bad for my kids. It’s like you’ve got some creeping disease, gangrene. You’re not dead yet, but you know you’re sick.
Laidman: You’ve spent so much time studying financial policy in addition to the technology you just talked about. I kept looking at things, sometimes to see if they were inventions, such as Jevon’s paradox, the Mondragon, the Gini coefficient. And they were all real.
Robinson: An English major is trained to do only one thing, that is to read texts and try to generate something new. I am very used to reading scientific papers and science journalism. That is my main reading. But it was at least 30 years ago when someone said, “Gee, it’s too bad you don’t know anything about economics.” And I got pissed. Then I thought, well, actually I Don’t Know anything about economics. So, for the past 30 years I have been doing a kind of self-directed study, with a lot of help from economists, especially in political economy. When you’re talking about economics, you always need to think about the political economy that created it in the first place. Then it becomes clear that capitalism is not natural. It’s really not good enough for the situation. This creates inequality. It destroys the biosphere. We need after capitalism. I started thinking about it in the early 1990s. But when you go looking for things that come after capitalism, you find nothing. It’s amazing.
As a science fiction writer, I am frustrated by the lack of help from theorists to build future societies in my novels. I’ve had to match it to people who’ve done that work, but they’re often from the past. My Retreat to Keynesianism ministry This is not post-capitalism, it is going back to a pre-capitalist moment where the government was still the driving force. For making ministry Look plausible – because we’re stuck in the system we’re in with a vast network of laws and practices – I wanted something we’ve already done that could work.
Laidman: In your book India is not only facing the biggest catastrophe but has become a model of carbon reform. Why did you choose India?
RobinsonI had to think about it a lot while writing this. In some ways, this is a hoax. Most of the readers of this book are in the US or the English-speaking world, however, it is certainly being read in India as well. But what I mean is that if good things happen in a big country on the other side of the world, you are more likely to believe them because you don’t know the details of that country as well as your country. If I’d set it up in my country, you’d go to every pointOK, that won’t happen. this is not possible. So, on the one hand, it’s a fictional plagiarism to put the change somewhere else so you can believe it. And that’s not good.