The Atlantic

The 3 Big Things That People Misunderstand About Climate Change

David Wallace-Wells, author of the new book The Uninhabitable Earth, describes why climate change might alter our sense of time.
Source: Reuters

The year is 2100. The United States has been devastated by climate change. Super-powerful hurricanes regularly ravage coastal cities. Wildfires have overrun Los Angeles several times over. And it is dangerous to go outside on some summer days—children and the elderly risk being broiled alive.

In such a world as that one, will we give up on the idea of historical progress? Should we even believe in it now? In his new book, The Uninhabitable Earth, the writer David Wallace-Wells considers how global warming will change not only the experience of human life but also our ideas and philosophies about it. It’s possible, he told me recently, that climate change will make us believe that history is “something that takes us backward rather than forward.”

“The 21st century will be dominated by climate change in the same way that … the 19th century in the West was dominated by modernity or industry,” he said. “There won’t be an area of human life that is untouched by it.”

I recently talked to Wallace-Wells about his new book, the difficulty of writing stories about climate change, and which science-fiction prophecy he believes came true. Our conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.


You had the , and then you wrote a book. What did you learn writing the book that maybe wasn’t as clear when

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Interessi correlati

Altro da The Atlantic

The Atlantic7 min lettiPolitics
Trump’s Defiance Is Destroying Congress’s Power
Congress and the White House have a tense relationship, and future administrations might well choose to build on rather than repudiate the Trump example of how to respond to a hostile Congress.
The Atlantic5 min lettiPolitics
Your Neighbor’s Christian Education, Courtesy of Your Tax Dollars
One of the persistent disappointments of media coverage in the Trump era is how the eye-popping daily headlines about the president obscure slower-moving, equally important developments at all levels of government. This term, the Supreme Court is set
The Atlantic3 min lettiPolitics
After Poland, No Democracy Is Safe
Democracy was on the ballot yesterday in Poland. It suffered a stinging defeat that will have consequences far beyond the country’s borders. For decades, political scientists regarded Poland as the great success story of the transition from communism