November 2032. Joe Benton has just been elected the forty-eighth president of the United States. Only days after winning, Benton learns from his predecessor that previous estimates regarding the effect of global warming on rising sea levels have been grossly underestimated. For the United States, a leading carbon emitter for decades, the prospects are devastating: thirty million coastal-dwelling citizens will need to be relocated; Miami will be washed into the ocean and southern California will waste away to desert; the relocation process will cost trillions of dollars. With the world frighteningly close to catastrophe, Benton opts to abandon multilateral negotiations in the Kyoto 4 summit and resumes secret bilateral negotiations with the Chinese--the world's worst polluter. As the two superpowers lock horns, the ensuing battle of wits becomes a race against time.