The Uninhabitable Earth

The Uninhabitable Earth

Life After Warming

Book - 2019
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * " The Uninhabitable Earth hits you like a comet, with an overflow of insanely lyrical prose about our pending Armageddon."--Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New Yorker * The New York Times Book Review * Time * NPR * The Economist * The Paris Review * Toronto Star * GQ * The Times Literary Supplement * The New York Public Library * Kirkus Reviews

It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible--food shortages, refugee emergencies, climate wars and economic devastation.

An "epoch-defining book" ( The Guardian ) and "this generation's Silent Spring " ( The Washington Post ), The Uninhabitable Earth is both a travelogue of the near future and a meditation on how that future will look to those living through it--the ways that warming promises to transform global politics, the meaning of technology and nature in the modern world, the sustainability of capitalism and the trajectory of human progress.

The Uninhabitable Earth is also an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation--today's.

LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN/E.O. WILSON LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING AWARD

"The Uninhabitable Earth is the most terrifying book I have ever read. Its subject is climate change, and its method is scientific, but its mode is Old Testament. The book is a meticulously documented, white-knuckled tour through the cascading catastrophes that will soon engulf our warming planet." --Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times

"Riveting. . . . Some readers will find Mr. Wallace-Wells's outline of possible futures alarmist. He is indeed alarmed. You should be, too." -- The Economist

"Potent and evocative. . . . Wallace-Wells has resolved to offer something other than the standard narrative of climate change. . . . He avoids the 'eerily banal language of climatology' in favor of lush, rolling prose." --Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times

"The book has potential to be this generation's Silent Spring ." --The Washington Post

" The Uninhabitable Earth, which has become a best seller, taps into the underlying emotion of the day: fear. . . . I encourage people to read this book." --Alan Weisman, The New York Review of Books
Publisher: New York : Tim Duggan Books, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780525576709
0525576703
Branch Call Number: 304.28 WALLACE-
Characteristics: 310 pages ; 25 cm

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SCL_Justin Dec 19, 2019

This book examines what our planet will look like in a few decades if we don't do something about our carbon emissions, if the fossil fuel companies like Imperial Oil and reprehensible politicians like Jason Kenney are allowed to keep going with the status quo and defiling our planet and futures, we're in trouble. It's a world on fire and drowning and at war. This goes beyond individual consumer choices, especially as the consumer mindset is what got us into this mess. The book is good at taking a long view and using conservative estimates and it's depressing as all hell. Highly recommended.

r
ryankegley
Oct 13, 2019

When I finished the opening section of “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming,” a blistering thirty-page sequence titled, “Cascades,” in which the book’s premise is painted with broad, powerful strokes, I thought: There is no way David Wallace-Wells can maintain such ferocious pace and intensity. He can and he does. Over the next hundred or so pages, in a section titled, “The Elements of Chaos,” he zooms in, artificially isolating twelve of these cascading climate dangers. The result is terrifying — a pummeling, relentless picture of what we can expect life on earth to be like with two, three, four more degrees of global warming. Thankfully, the third section, “The Climate Kaleidoscope,” offers a reprieve from the onslaught. Here, Wallace-Wells turns more philosophical, offering ways in which we might make sense of the climate crisis.

This is not a book about the science of global warming. It does not present the evidence for global warming (though it is written with that scholarship and research at its very core, all of which is presented in a thoroughly detailed bibliography). Nor does it offer creative solutions for saving the planet. If that’s what you’re looking for, resources abound elsewhere. Rather, it is about the potential consequences of living on an increasingly warming planet that, assuming we choose to do nothing about the trajectory we’ve set ourselves on, will be devastating — if not for everyone everywhere, then certainly for many millions of people (not to mention all the non-human creatures) across huge swaths of the planet.

This isn’t an imaginary future. We are, in many ways, living that future now. And we have, in large part (lip service and non-binding accords notwithstanding), chosen to do nothing — a thought particularly troubling with the very clear (and very real) understanding that any action we take now would be much easier and far more impactful than anything we might do in one, or five, or ten years. Then again, as Wallace-Wells ponders by way of opening the book’s outro, “What if we’re wrong?” Of course, the science is clear: global warming is happening, it’s mostly caused by humans, and the consequences will be severe. What isn’t so clear is how, exactly, things will play out in a warmer world, and over what timeline. Here, like the accused witch whose innocence was only proved by her drowning, science only wins if we lose. If we choose to do nothing, or not enough, or too little too late, then our only choice will be in how we cope — mentally, physically, spiritually, practically — with the world we made for ourselves.

l
Liber_vermis
Sep 23, 2019

The sub-title of this book should be "life with continuous warming" rather than "life after warming". The book ends weakly with a chapter on the ill-defined "anthropic principle". This book delivers the forthright message that so-called political leaders have to get their act together to take effective, expedient and equitable actions to mitigate global warming and to adapt to the adverse effects that are already 'baked' into future weather.

l
LibMiner73
Jul 20, 2019

The author catalogs the science and the major single factor climate effects of atmospheric carbon increase while acknowledging that two and three factor interactions probably exist and are more speculative. He states the solution is within our technology but maybe not within our willpower as a civilization to implement and, as a result, the largest uncertainty relative to the future is what actions we will take. He recognizes the opportunity for easy actions occurred in the 20th century. One referenced article speculates that a reason we have not found life elsewhere in the universe is that civilizations which go through a phase of growth driven by carbon-based energy are self-limited by the resulting environmental changes.

t
Tony_Jeffers
Jul 14, 2019

David Wallace-Wells is not a scientist as he admits he has however amassed an enormous wealth of statistics to support the FACT that climate change is already underway.
It's going to get worst -a lot worst.
Eventually sea levels will raise and inundate all the world's coastal cities -including Seattle.
How fast it happens will depend on us the humans of Earth. Will we continue to spew carbon into the atmosphere? or will we reduce the output and take measures to reduce the carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere?
The fate of the Earth and future generations of humans depends on it.
What will you do?
Although David is also not a psychologist he lays off the statistics about half way threw the book and takes to psychoanalyzing the whole human race trying to figure out why we are doing so little about climate change in light of the overwhelming evidence that climate destruction is already underway and will be much more disastrous if we don't act now.
This is the latest book about the very urgent subject of climate change. As the book makes abundantly clear over and over it is not being treated with the urgency that it should be. It is like a town being confronted with all the town's buildings being on fire scheduling a town hall meeting for two months from now to discus if they should buy firefighting equipment and form a town Fire Department.
About the book; David Wallace-Wells is a VERY good writer. He is ;however a poor editor. He has confronted the reader with way too much information to digest in one book. He would have greatly benefited from the help of a talented and experienced editor to make the book more manageable.

d
dirtbag
Jun 12, 2019

Full of facts but not too stuffy and overwhelming. It has a deep emotional impact but even so, I bet it will end up in the Climate Change book dustbin, ignored and dismissed.

DBRL_ReginaF Jun 10, 2019

It feels overwhelming but I think we have to lean on optimism and do everything we possibly can. I know we can't stop it but I will retain hope that we can respond and adjust.

“If we had started global decarbonization in 2000, when Al Gore narrowly lost election to the American presidency, we would have had to cut emissions by only about 3 percent per year to stay safely under two degrees of warming. If we start today, when global emissions are still growing, the necessary rate is 10 percent. If we delay another decade, it will require us to cut emissions by 30 percent each year. This is why U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres believes we have only one year to change course and get started.”

s
Suelogeman
Jun 02, 2019

I learned a lot in this book about global warming and its effects on our planet. It is scary but we can't keep hiding our heads in the sand about the problems our generation has brought to Earth in our greed for wealth. We have to leave a healthy planet for the next generations to survive. The world weather is increasingly becoming more volatile and destructive with the hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, extreme heat, pollution in the air quality and the death of many of our wildlife species. We all need to make changes to preserve our Earth. We are polluting our water systems and air with plastics and carbons daily at high rates. The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon into the air killing us all. Everyone needs to do their part. Trudeau puts a carbon tax on Canadians yet he promotes the pipeline in greed. What a hypocrite. The world leaders need to work together to slow the damage down so we have a world in which to live. I have made some small personal changes to my lifestyle to help preserve our life and if everyone contributed it would help. Don't use plastic straws or bags. Walk places, car pool, use public transit. Recycle, use less water don't waste it. Stop buying all those clothes. You don't need 30 pairs of shoes. Slow the commercialism down. Fast fashion is one of the biggest polluters of our river systems. Cut down on the amount of electricity you are using. Value what we have and take care of our planet.

p
peacebenow
May 25, 2019

I was unable to finish during a 2 week period as this subject matter is daunting, depressing, over whelming. The message is loud and clear and so very important which is why I give this book 5 stars. Life on earth as we know it will change in the not too distant future for the worse if we do not take steps to stop climate change. We are already seeing the changes but some of those in control choose to ignore the warning signs and/or are listening to fake climate change deniers who seem to be pushing their own agendas for monetary gain. The details concerning the change in our atmosphere and planet are through and well documented. I plan to finish this book but honestly it does not make for regular bedtime reading if you want to sleep nor a positive outlook during the day. I believe it is very important info for everyone to learn.

j
Josie2526
May 15, 2019

Brilliant book. I re-read 3 chapters after I'd been through it once. A lot of information to absorb. Just yesterday according to NOAA and the science station at Mauna Loa, CO2 hit 415 parts per million. That has not happened in 800,000*** years. One of the things Wallace-Wells does really well is present the various ways people will dismiss what is almost certainly to come. Denial, not really proven, oh we've got time, Science will find a way, won't be that bad. Yes, it will be that bad.

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Liber_vermis
Sep 23, 2019

The science of global atmospheric warming has been thoroughly studied and accepted; and the anticipated consequences have been estimated and described. The only uncertainty, the author contends, is the choice made by humanity and our politicians either to continue business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions (and adapt to a harsh future); or to transition to a low-carbon global economy (in order to minimize the looming consequences of climate destabilization). After an introductory chapter on the supine politics of global warming, the author examines in detail twelve impacts of climate destabilization. This book has extensive endnotes but no bibliography.

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Liber_vermis
Sep 23, 2019

"... Western liberals have comforted themselves by contorting their own consumption patterns into performances of moral or environmental purity - less beef, more Teslas, fewer trans-Atlantic flights. But the climate calculus is such that individual lifestyle choices do not add up to much, unless they are scaled by politics. ... that scaling should not be impossible, once we understand the stakes." (p. 34)

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