Some climate change activists oppose doom-and-gloom rhetoric. They know that, if we don’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions quickly, the planet will soon become more habitable to flesh-eating bacteria than for human beings. But focusing too much on that risk promotes widespread hopelessness, they argue. And without hope, there will never be action.
This logic is understandable in principle, but feels increasingly deluded in practice. The Trump administration has all but dismantled U.S. climate policy. Emissions are still rising globally, with no sign that the world’s fastest-growing emitters, notably China, America, and India, are slowing down. As the executive director of the International Atomic Agency tweeted on Monday: