It, of course, is climate change. And to be more exact about the state of the problem, the planet will survive; it is people that could disappear. This is Wallace-Wells’s conclusion after a few years reading the research and talking with climate scientists. In the best case, Earth is facing scenarios that we can only frame as unpredictable but catastrophic. “We are entering a new realm,” he writes, “unbounded by the analogy of any human experience.”
“Everything is changing about the natural world and everything must change about the way we conduct our lives. It is easy to complain that the problem is too vast, and each of us is too small. But there is one thing that each of us can do ourselves, in our homes, at our own pace — something easier than taking out the recycling or turning down the thermostat, and something more valuable.
We can call the threats to our future what they are. We can call the villains villains, the heroes heroes, the victims victims and ourselves complicit. We can realize that all this talk about the fate of Earth has nothing to do with the planet’s tolerance for higher temperatures and everything to do with our species’ tolerance for self-delusion. And we can understand that when we speak about things like fuel-efficiency standards or gasoline taxes or methane flaring, we are speaking about nothing less than all we love and all we are.”
Economists have workable policy ideas for addressing climate change. But what if they’re politically impossible?
Climate’s Troubling Unknown Unknowns
We can’t adapt to perils we can’t foresee. So we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions now.
Communities, governments, and businesses are working to reduce risks from and costs associated with climate change by taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions and implement adaptation strategies. While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.
The Fourth National Climate Assessment assesses the science of climate change and
variability and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century.
Time to Panic
So what can we do? And by the way, who’s “we”? The size of the threat from climate change means that organization is necessary at every level — communities, states, nations and international agreements that coordinate action among them.
That is the purpose of politics: that we can be and do better together than we might manage as individuals.
But the longer we wait, the worse it will get. Which is one last argument for catastrophic thinking: What creates more sense of urgency than fear?
Time to Panic
The planet is getting warmer in catastrophic ways. And fear may be the only thing that saves us
David Wallace-Wells, Author of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming
New York Times, 2019.02.16
Foundation for Climate Restoration
Everyone will benefit from Climate Restoration and should be part of the solution. We will be inclusive, invite all voices to the table, and avoid disproportionate burdens on vulnerable groups. This is a victory over the past: Humanity maturing and cooperating collaboratively to heal and sustain our planet.