What’s in Store as The Planet Heats Up

Kate Aronoff at Bookforum:

Wallace-Wells stresses that these scenarios are the signs not of a new normal, but of a world in which “normal” ceases to be a useful framework for understanding an environment that is constantly changing, and almost always for the worse. “By 2040, the summer of 2018 will likely seem normal,” he writes. “But extreme weather is not a matter of ‘normal’; it is what roars back at us from the ever-worsening fringe of climate events. This is among the scariest features of rapid climate change: not that it changes the everyday experience of the world, though it does that, and dramatically; but that it makes once-unthinkable outlier events much more common, and ushers whole new categories of disaster into the realm of the possible.”

The biggest “known unknown” (a phrase Wallace-Wells cribs from Donald Rumsfeld) is how quickly humans will choose to acknowledge and address what’s coming. Whether we like it or not, the author points out, we are bound up with nature and what happens to it. The era in which a small subset of humanity has sought to dominate the earth and its resources is a blip in the history of this planet.

more here.