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Climate and Environment

Santiago Saez Moreno
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piqer: Santiago Saez Moreno
Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Climate Change Is Worse Than You Think

"It is, I promise, worse than you think." Those words opened what was probably the most famous climate change article of 2017. Written by David Wallace-Wells for the New York Magazine, 'The Uninhabitable Earth' made the rounds and garnered both ovation and dire criticism by scientists and climate communicators for its raw representation of what the future has in store for us: A hellscape nothing short of a nightmare, if we don't take radical and rapid action right now.

Two years later, Wallace-Wells has written a book with the same title and "it's worse than you think" spirit. Things have changed, though, and his alarming (not alarmist) message has become more acceptable for the scientists, the general public, and the media. The IPCC Special Report of 1.5ºC warming was already scary enough, but what's in store for us at 3ºC to 4ºC warming, where we're actually headed?

I've listened to several interviews with Wallace-Wells these last couple of weeks, and this is the best for many reasons, so here you have my two cents.

The interviewer is no other than Vox's David Roberts, one of the best climate journalists out there. In addition to being insightful and knowledgeable, he manages a high level of rapport with Wallace-Wells, letting him explain some of the most interesting findings of his research, while other interviewers stay at a more basic level or dwell in the horror. Roberts makes it more of a fascinating conversation than an interview.

The interview has roughly three parts:

1 — It's happening sooner, faster and bigger than they told you. And it will get you no matter where you are. 2ºC warming is a best-case scenario.

2 — Fear and mobilization: Scientists have been very conservative until recently. Not anymore: The facts are scary, and people should know them.

3 — The climate kaleidoscope: The impacts go beyond weather and money. Culture, psychology, and humanity itself will be permanently modified as climate change advances.

Climate Change Is Worse Than You Think
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