Inhospitable Earth — compared to what?

Inhospitable Earth — compared to what?

You just can’t out-gloom an environmentalist. The Atlantic invited some luminaries to answer the question, “How and when will the world end?” Some contributions were funny. Others simply plausible — a volcanic eruption from underneath Yellowstone National Park is frightfully overdue. But only an environmentalist like Bill McKibben could be a killjoy about the apocalypse itself.

The environmental activist and writer declares the question moot: “In a sense, the world as we knew it is already over. We have heated the Earth, melted the Arctic and turned seawater 30 percent more acidic. The only question left is how much more fossil fuel we’ll burn, and hence how unfamiliar and inhospitable we’ll make our home planet.”

It’s difficult to imagine a more absurd overstatement. I’m not referring to the exaggerated claim the Arctic has “melted.” And the acidification of the oceans is a real concern (though there’s reason to believe it’s not as bad as some say). But even Chicken Little wouldn’t call it proof the world is already over.

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