The Planet Is Warming. And It’s Okay to Be Afraid

Another article in response to David Wallace-Wells’ recent controversial article in the New York Magazine.

Last Week, David Wallace-Wells wrote a cover story for of New York Magazine, “The Uninhabitable Earth,” on some of the worst-case scenarios that the climate crisis could cause by the end of this century. It describes killer heat waves, crippling agricultural failures, devastated economies, plagues, resource wars, and more. It has been read more than two million times.

The article has caused a major controversy in the climate community, in part because of some factual errors in the piece—though by and large the piece is an accurate portrayal of worst-case climate catastrophe scenarios. But by far the most significant criticism the piece received was that it was too frightening.

Read the full article by Margaret Klein Salamon, published by Common Dreams on 17/7/17, at https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/07/17/planet-warming-and-its-okay-be-afraid

Also read her excellent analysis of the benefits of ’emergency mode’ at Leading the Public into Emergency Mode


The Uninhabitable Earth

It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas — and the cities they will drown — have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.

Indeed, absent a significant adjustment to how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.

Read the full article by David Wallace-Wells, published by New York Magazine on 09/7/17, at http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html?utm_campaign=nym&utm_medium=s1&utm_source=tw

This article sparked a huge response, with numerous articles appearing over the next week either condemning or supporting him for saying it like it is (more or less). For example:

by David Roberts: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/7/11/15950966/climate-change-doom-journalism?mc_cid=0f0999589c&mc_eid=0b9f078224

by Victoria Herrmann: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/12/doomsday-narratives-climate-change-dangerous-wrong

by Margaret Klein Salamon: https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/07/17/planet-warming-and-its-okay-be-afraid


France to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040

Norway, Netherlands, and now France setting dates for bans on petrol and diesel vehicles. Not sure why they can’t do this sooner, but it’s nevertheless a step in the right direction.

France will end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 as part of an ambitious plan to meet its targets under the Paris climate accord, Emmanuel Macron’s government has announced.

The announcement comes a day after Volvo said it would only make fully electric or hybrid cars from 2019 onwards, a decision hailed as the beginning of the end for the internal combustion engine’s dominance of motor transport after more than a century.

Read the full article by Angelique Chrisafis and Adam Vaughan, published by The Guardian on 06/7/17, at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/06/france-ban-petrol-diesel-cars-2040-emmanuel-macron-volvo


Macron plans December climate summit

Is Macron shaping up to be a leading global force for large-scale climate action?

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday announced plans to host a climate conference on the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement.

“On December 12, 2017, two years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, France will hold a new summit on climate mobilization,” Macron tweeted.

Read the full article by Sarah Wheaton, published by Politico on 10/7/17, at http://www.politico.eu/article/macron-plans-december-climate-summit/


Our Aversion to Doom and Gloom Is Dooming Us

I worked for over 35 years in the environmental field, and one of the central debates I encountered was whether to “tell it like it is,” and risk spreading doom and gloom, or to focus on a more optimistic message, even when optimism wasn’t necessarily warranted.

The optimists nearly always won this debate. For the record, I was—and am—a doom and gloomer. Actually, I like to think I’m a realist. I believe that understating the problems we face leads to understated—and inadequate responses. I also believe that people, when dealt with honestly, have responded magnificently, and will do so again, if and when called. ….

Read the full article by John Atcheson, published by Common Dreams on 19/07/2017, at https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/07/19/our-aversion-doom-and-gloom-dooming-us