The Uninhabitable Earth

by David Wallace-Wells 2019

Book Review by Ray Herrmann

This is a Great book for building an awareness of the messes our actions are making. Worsening events will drive changes in behavior, both radical from both ends and sensible towards the middle. And this awareness is growing now, so we had best be informed

Consider what might happen when:

So far, we have only had a 1.2ºC Global Temperature rise since the dawn of industrialization. Even if all current Paris Agreement Global Warming promises are met, the Global Temperature is predicted to rise about 3.4ºC by year 2100!

Most Global Warming effects come as gradually accumulating features, but they are relentless. Yet equilibrium from just today's pollutions will not be reached for 100 years. And Nature will take thousands of years to make a dent in what we have already done. Full atmospheric recovery may take the Earth 100,000 years, as the earth's rocks erode, trapping carbon from mountain runoff (the normal mechanism). So, unless we find a way to remove CO2 from our air, our children and generations to follow will have to deal with the world we left them!

The sooner we change our behavior the less damaging will be our children's (and all life's) future, if they even have a long future. Yet we seem to be moving toward crypto currency even though each Bitcoin transaction consumes 1,173 kilowatt hours of electricity. That's the volume of energy that could power the typical American home for six weeks!

I end with a quote by David Wallace-Wells, the author, as a reply to a quote Enrico Fermi made in 1950, during a discussion with friends about Alien life: "Where is everybody?"
"In a universe that is many billions of years old, with star systems separated as much by time as by space, civilizations might emerge and develop and then burn themselves up simply too fast to ever find one another."