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08/03/2017

David Wallace-Wells Discusses His Recent Essay, "The Uninhabitable Earth" (August 3rd)

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Approximately three weeks ago New York Magazine published David Wallace-Well's 7,500 word essay "The Uninhabitable Earth, Famine, Economic Collapse, A Sun That Cooks Us: What Climate Change Could Wreak - Sooner Than You Think."  The article has to date been downloaded over 4.5 million times.  It is the most read essay the magazine has ever published.  The essay begins with, "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, even within the lifetime of a teenager today."  The work goes on to discuss worst case effects by the end of this century should carbon emissions or global warming not be successfully addressed.   

During this 36 minute conversation Mr. Wallace-Wells discusses what prompted him to write the essay.  He summarizes his findings, discusses Jim Hansen's concern climate scientists may be undermining their ability to effectively communicate the threat via what Hansen terms "scientific reticence," what, if any, edits he would make after learning the scientific community's response to the essay, and how hopeful he is whether carbon tax, carbon capture and other policies will avoid atmospheric warming by four, five or more degrees Celsius over the next several decades.

David Wallace Wells is deputy editor at New York Magazine.  His 2015 cover story about the epidemic of honey bee deaths, Wallace Wellsthe first magazine story to put the blame on neonicitinoid pesticides, is now accepted science.  He joined the magazine as literary editor in 2011 and became features director in 2016.  Before joining the magazine he was deputy editor at The Paris Review where he edited and published writers including Ann Beattie, Werner Herzog and Jonathan Franzen.  Previously Mr. Wallace-Wells served as The New York Sun's books editor.  Mr. Wallace-Wells graduated from Brown University with a degree in history.    

Mr. Wallace-Wells essay is at: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html.   

The noted Popovich and Pearce article, "It's Not Your Imagination Summers Are Getting Hotter," in the July 28 issue of The New York Times is at:  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/28/climate/more-frequent-extreme-summer-heat.html.

Listeners may recall my March 31 interview with Professor Jonathan Patz regarding this past February's "Climate and Health Conference" at the Carter Center and links to two related essays by me posted this past June 13 concerning the medical community's non-response to the the Trump administration withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and one posted May 25, 2016 reviewing the Obama's administration's, "The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the US."  

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