Are you frightened by climate change?

 Do you worry about what sort of world we are bequeathing to our children and grandchildren? 

In the words of science writer and author of “The Uninhabitable Earth” David Wallace-Wells, “No matter how well informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough.”

I would put it even more strongly.

If the fracturing of our once stable climate doesn’t terrify you, then you don’t fully understand it. The reality is that, as far as we know, and in the natural course of events, our world has never — in its entire history — heated up as rapidly as it is doing now. Nor have greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere ever seen such a precipitous hike.

Think about that for a moment. We’re experiencing, in our lifetimes, a heating episode that is probably unique in the last 4.6 billion years.

The truth is that people can take being scared if they know there is still hope and that they can do something to make things better, or at least stop things getting worse.

Bill McGuire is professor emeritus of geophysical & climate hazards at University College London and author of “Hothouse Earth: An Inhabitant’s Guide.” 

The views expressed in this commentary are his own.


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