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Journalist David Wallace-Wells on climate change and climate hope

A forest is incinerated by the Oak Fire near Midpines, northeast of Mariposa, California, on July 23, 2022. (DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images)
A forest is incinerated by the Oak Fire near Midpines, northeast of Mariposa, California, on July 23, 2022. (DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images)

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When the U.N. Secretary General says this to the world —

“We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.”

… It’s hard not to despair.

But journalist David Wallace-Wells says there’s reason for hope. He’s been writing about climate for years. And he says, there’s progress.

“Five years ago, certainly ten years ago, most climate scientists thought that we were heading for four or five degrees of warming,” Wallace-Wells says.

“Now, most of them would say we’re heading for about two or three degrees. So roughly half what we thought we were heading for.”

That doesn’t mean that carbon reduction efforts should stop. But Wallace-Wells says focusing too much on climate doom is stopping us from making critical, permanent changes.

“We have to start thinking about what it means to navigate a world that is post normal, post safe, and yet sub-apocalyptic,” Wallace-Wells says.

Today, On Point: David Wallace-Wells on climate change and climate hope.

Guests

David Wallace-Wells, columnist for the New York Times Magazine and an opinion writer for the New York Times. Author of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. (@dwallacewells)

Also Featured

Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity. (@brett_hartl)

Carroll Muffett, CEO and president of the Center for International Environmental Law.

Related Reading

New York Times: “Beyond Catastrophe: A New Climate Reality Is Coming Into View” — “You can never really see the future, only imagine it, then try to make sense of the new world when it arrives.”

New York Times: “Envisioning Life After Climate Change” — “Climate change has led to roughly 1.2 degrees Celsius of warming so far, making the earth hotter now than it has ever been in the long history of civilization.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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