In ‘The Uninhabitable Earth,’ Apocalypse Is Now

In The News Piece in New York Times
Stuart Monk /
March 6, 2019

David Wallace-Wells's book The Uninhabitable Earth was reviewed in the New York Times.

More than halfway through The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace-Wells addresses the reader directly, commending anyone who has “made it this far” for being “brave.” After all, the previous pages of his book have depicted in meticulous and terrifying detail the possible future that awaits the planet should we continue to add carbon to the atmosphere and fail to arrest global warming. Floods, pestilence, famines, wildfires: What he calls the “elements of climate chaos” are veritably biblical in scope.
Wallace-Wells is a deputy editor of New York magazine, where two years ago he published an article on climate change that went viral, understandably so; in 7,000 eloquent words, he bluntly laid out the calamitous costs of doing nothing — or, perhaps more realistically and therefore more menacingly, of doing something but not enough.
His new book revisits that approach, expanding his portrait of a planetary nightmare that, to judge by climatologists’ assessments, will soon take over our waking life. The crumpled carcass of a bee on the cover tells you only some of what you need to know. Yes, apian death gets passing mention, but Wallace-Wells is more concerned with the prospect of human suffering and even extinction.