I’ve been finding out about climate change for some time: from watching Horizon programmes in the 1970s, then subscribing to New Scientist, to its almost daily appearance in the media. Some years ago, on hearing that we may as well say goodbye to the Maldives because no part of them lies more than 1 m above sea level, I wrote a short story called The Next Wave (in which the last inhabitant of an island refuses to leave as the land shrinks around him). Climate change is already inevitable – it’s only the extent that we cannot yet know – so since my novel Truthsister (due out next June, Impress Books) is set in the future, I had to include it.
So, if you’re going to write a dystopian YA novel that features climate change, you need to do some research. I’ve recently re-read Mark Lynas’ masterly summary of all the work on climate change up to then: Six Degrees – Our Future on a Hotter Planet. Mark collated work by a wide range of reputable experts (there’s an extensive bibliography) so that, chapter by chapter and degree by degree, he can take us through scenarios that go from loss of animal habitats, coral depletion, weird weather and modest sea-level rises (1°C) right up to the loss of all life on the planet – not just humanity, but everything, in a Venus-style furnace (6°C). He mentions, towards the end of the book, that there are still things we can do to reduce carbon emissions and save the planet (that’s literally saving the planet, by the way, not just recycling your Tetrapaks), if we do something in the next ten years. But: he wrote it in 2007. Ten years ago . . .
See Mark’s website for more: http://www.marklynas.org/.
See also: Leonardo Di Caprio’s recent film Before the Flood.
Read. Watch. Be afraid.