The book is set in the near future. Because global warming has made sea levels rise, several countries are having to relocate populations in threatened areas to the mainland. It looks like US coastal regions are going to be quite badly devastated too. The Kyoto Protocol rounds, meanwhile, are going nowhere.
The book starts with the inauguration of a new US president, Joe Benton, who plans to move large numbers of people from coastal areas to those that are safe. The plan includes setting up new infrastructures and creating jobs, enabling refugees to contribute to their community.
Benton is summoned to a confidential meeting with the outgoing president and told that a team from the former president’s administration has been in secret negotiations with the Chinese over climate change.
The book is about these negotiations and the decisions that politicians are constrained to make. Saying a book is about negotiations between governments makes it sound dry, but trust me, this book is anything but! I won’t say anything about how it pans out, but it brings home the fact that our lives are in the hands of flawed people.