A couple more notes on the sobering and important New York Magazine climate cover piece.
It really traveled: The magazine's PR staff said Friday that it's the most-read story in the publication's history, getting over 2.5 million readers online and counting.
Why it matters: It's unusual for a climate story to become such a talked about thing beyond wonk and activist circles.
- Refresher: David Wallace-Wells warns that left unchecked, global warming could make parts of Earth "close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable" as soon as the end of this century. However, he also says that the worst outcomes are unlikely because people will take more action after "devastation along the way" shakes their complacency.
Scientists and other advocates have a complicated relationship with the piece. Some are happy to see the topic brought into the mainstream, yet there's heartburn over what several scientists call mistakes and contextual problems.
Thought bubble: One thing complicating the reaction is that Wallace-Wells' post-publication framing, such as in this follow-up, is somewhat softer than the underlying story.
My recommendation: Listen to this joint interview with Wallace-Wells and Princeton scientist Michael Oppenheimer on WNYC's Brian Lehrer show. In this, Wallace-Wells emphasizes he's laying out "worst-case scenarios." He told Lehrer he's describing what could occur if there's "absolutely no action" and if warming effects land on the outer margin of scientists' projections.