Monday, March 1, 2021

Climate Memo Mondays #12


12.  Climate Memo Mondays 

Wallace Wells

The OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology held its monthly Climate Book Forum at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, September 1, FPL on two books, The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells and Losing Earth by Nathaniel Rich.   Wallace-Wells has written a summative book on the climate catastrophe, its consequences for humans, and possible human responses.  It is based upon a large and wide reading of recently published scholarship.  Rich’s short book recounts ways during the 1980s and 90s the science of warming was suppressed by corporate and government officials.  Closely related is Democracy in Chains, how the Koch brothers and others have taken over the Republican party to defend the fossil fuels industry, doubt climate change,  and increase industry profits.. 


Opener of Battistoni’s review of the 2 books

Alyssa Battistoni.  “Everything to Lose: The struggle to save the planet.”  The Nation (6- 3-10, 2019).
At this point, we all know that climate change is happening (or at least most of us do). But do we really know what it will mean to live on a planet transformed by it? We know the seas will rise, but have we truly reckoned with the fact that they are on track to be four to eight feet higher by the end of the century, at which point they will drown the Maldives, the White House, St. Mark’s Basilica, and the Bengal tiger’s habitat? We know that Earth is getting hotter, but have we actually come to terms with what it would mean if half the world were so hot that it would essentially cook the human body to death, as would be the case with a temperature rise of 5 or 6 degrees Celsius?

     That we do not really grasp what climate change will bring is the central premise of David Wallace-Wells’s The Uninhabitable Earth. An editor at New York magazine, Wallace-Wells describes in chilling detail the possibility of year-round fires scorching the planet; latent plagues revived as the ice that harbors these frozen pathogens melts; growing numbers of people left homeless by climate-fueled disasters, rising sea levels, increasingly scarce resources, and the toxic effects of pollution. Very little of what he reports here is new, as Wallace-Wells notes; most of it has been predicted in scientific studies for years. This is part of his point: For decades, we have avoided thinking about the catastrophe on the horizon. His gambit is that, by offering this information in the form of a taut, evocative, and frequently terrifying view of the future that awaits, he might make the reality hit home in a way that scattered headlines do not. . . . The daunting challenge of saying something about climate change that will break through where other warnings have not is at the heart of both The Uninhabitable Earth and Losing Earth, the new book by Nathaniel Rich. Both writers try to understand why it is that we have known about climate change for nearly four decades and yet seem to go through the same cycle of discovery time after time. Both try their best to force us out of this pattern.

(The review is brilliant, identifying precisely not only the uninhabitable and the loss surveyed by the authors, but where and how they fell short in their quite different analyses.  –Dick)




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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)