The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

By David Wallace-Wells


A chilling, groundbreaking portrait of the near future if global warming continues unchecked.

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, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. Without a revolution in how we approach climate change, and adjustments to how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.

Climate change is often understood as a very slow process, but its dire effects are with us already, as California burns year-round, Puerto Rico is devastated by hurricanes, and communities around the US are subjected to once-in-a-lifetime tornadoes and floods on an annual basis. As one journalist put it, “There didn’t used to be a major natural disaster every single day.”

The Uninhabitable Earth is a searing indictment of our failure to imagine, much less enact, a better future for humanity. By examining the plausible worst-case scenarios for global warming, Wallace-Wells presents a travelogue of our near future and brings into stark relief the crises that await us. Like An Inconvenient Truth and Silent Spring before it, the book is both a synthesis of the latest science and 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.

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