This is what the world will be like if we do not act on climate change.
- The best-case pie in the sky scenario of climate change is that world gets just 2°C hotter, which scientists call the "threshold of catastrophe". (Feedback loops already in action make a <2 degree rise almost impossible even if we could manage zero emissions globally starting today.)
- Why is that the good news? Because if humans don't change course now, the planet is on a trajectory to reach 4°C at the end of this century, which would bring $600 trillion in global climate damages, double the warfare, and a refugee crisis 100x worse than the Syrian exodus.
- David Wallace-Wells explains what would happen at an 8°C and even 13°C increase. These predictions are horrifying, but should not scare us into complacency. "It should make us focus on them more intently," he says.
David Wallace-Wells is a national fellow at the New America foundation and a columnist and deputy editor at New York magazine. He was previously the deputy editor of The Paris Review.