The above image is entitled Earth Over Moon - Apollo 17, and is by Kevin Gill. It's used in accordance with its Creative Commons licence.
If and when The Sun Runners and The Cloud Riders get published, I'm hopeful that they'll be part of a series I'd entitle "The Silent Earth Sequence". Some short stories are coming together within the universe these two books are helping to create, so for your interest, I'm posting what I've drafted of the future history of Earth, to explain how we get to the events described in my two novels-in-waiting. Enjoy!
It goes without saying that there are some spoilers, so if you're spoiler-phobic, look away.
The Earth, unfortunately, is unable to meet its carbon reduction goals. Average global temperatures increase and the icecaps start melting. Sea levels increase, reaching a full meter by this time.
The United States succumbs to internal pressures (especially after the loss of Florida to the ocean) and Balkanizes. The phrase "As big a blunder as Florida seceding from the Union at the start of hurricane season" enters the lexicon.
However, the break-up of the United States enables and encourages the remaining governments of the world (including Canada and the saner parts of the United States) to pull together a peace treaty and form the United Nations of Earth world government. Technologies improve and the Earth is able to stave off societal collapse from environmental pressures through city domes, sea walls, genetic manipulation, and cloud seeding (explore other options).
Antarctica's icecap recedes to the point where serious mineral exploration can begin. The McMurdo Republic is born (and then enters into the United Nations of Earth along with everybody else). Earth's population stabilizes at 10 billion and a new prosperity dawns.
The technological advancements of Earth produce ion ships and other developments that allow for the start of space colonization. Colonies are founded on Mars, Mercury and the Asteroid Belt for mineral extraction. Cloud Zeppelins are placed on Venus.
Mars is like the Wild West 2.0, run by Tech Bros. As this progresses, some of the richest of Mars form "the Families", a series of competing organizations which overshadows the colony's nominal government (referred to as "Central Oversight"). While the nearly religious use of and adherence to contracts offers some protection to both parties, what is essentially indentured servitude grows here.
The miners of the Asteroid Belt skip around their systems in their asteroid skows. Their organizations are much more free-flowing; each individual skow or family are left to themselves to fill their own holds with plenty of metal resources, and several small fortunes are made.
Mercury, whose initial set-up was more science-based, builds latitude towns riding on Robinson Rails to stay ahead of the daylight (Each latitude town was set up by a particular space agency of particular old nations before their merger into the United Nations). They mine minerals and provide microwave power to the Earth from their solar reserves.
Venus establishes a cooperative society; their farm and forest platforms providing foodstuffs and medicine. Venus makes paper. They are proud of it.
The Earth's average global temperatures continue to heat up. The Earth becomes hungry for the inner solar system's mineral resources to build the technology it needs to keep the hostile environmental changes at bay (delaying the inevitable; some hefty denial here).
August 4, 2151
The Fall of Earth (events described in The Sun Runners). A terrorist action collapses the Manhattan Sea Wall and drowns the United Nations of Earth headquarters, sparking a chain reaction of events that leads to the collapse of the world government and order. The old nations declare their independence, then start fighting each other. Nuclear weapons are used.
Earth shuttle activity stops and the Earth's population goes into a steep and protracted decline. The colonies of the inner solar system are left to fend for themselves.
The Asteroid Miners evacuate the Asteroid Belt. They gather the skows at Ceres and Vesta and set up convoys to take them to the nearest refuges (Vesta's convoy heads to Venus, Ceres' convoy heads to Mars). Venus welcomes the miners and tends to these refugees as best they can. Mars initially refuses the miners access to its landing sites. It's only through the actions of a small number of Families, led by the Nicholas Anastas, that these refugees are allowed onto the surface (a move which prevents these miners from attacking the Martian biospheres through an en-masse kamikaze run). The asteroid miners are integrated into their respective societies with varying levels of success.
(This event is described in passing in The Cloud Riders)
Terrorist campaign against the Martian Families (many of whom run things like a Mafia) is thwarted (see The Cloud Riders).
A more peaceful but still forceful servant strikes hit the Families on Mars. The Underunion is formed to speak for the working classes, bringing hope that a more equitable arrangement can be made between the colonists there. However, many of the Families remain capitalistic A-holes.
Thanks to the discovery of edible extremophiles, Mercury stabilizes following the incidents of The Sun Runners (population around 1 million), and its 17 latitude towns and 2 polar statics lead a careful, if sometimes tense existence as a closed system. Materials and technology are thoroughly recycled, with only iron and solar available in abundance. There are some questions about whether this can be kept up indefinitely, but people don't really talk about that.
Venus manages to be a decent place to live, if a somewhat carefully managed cooperative society. Their trade with Mars allows them to expand their colony, adding the Jacqueline Susann HAVOC city and other farming and forest platforms. (Population starts pushing past 1 million)
Mars (population 10 million) pollutes its environment with abandon and maintains its tremendous skills with robotics and resource extraction. The Underunion manages to support the worker classes of the planet, to a degree, but it remains a heavily capitalistic society, with some of the rich Families vying to increase their dominance. In the absence of Earth, Mars is setting itself up to be the new leaders of the Solar System, although Venus might have something to say about that.
Meanwhile, on the Silent Earth, things have stabilized enough that new nations are beginning to form, many on watershed lines. Some are starting to expand, trying to take back areas they used to control, but which have been independent (and by this point self-sufficient) for twenty years. They show no interest in going out into space. Contacts with their former colonies is extremely limited.
The first whispers of the Federation of Earth Nations appear.
2182 - 2192
On Earth, the Federation of Earth Nations is taking shape. Rival agglomerations are forming in key parts of the world., but the Federation is able to slip in and take over many of these through back-handed and nastily cunning ways. In later days, it proves itself quite willing to use open force.
The Earth's population bottoms out at just under 2 billion.
May 8, 2201
The Official End of the Silence as the Earth contacts Mercury (as described in The Sun Runners). The Federation of Earth Nations, having conquered the McMurdo Republic of Antarctica (the last independent nation on Earth) is fully in charge of Earth, and alarmingly authoritarian. It starts reaching out to its former colonies. We don't know what happens next (yet).