The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells

It’s been hot in Scotland over these past days in July of 2019. ( ) High temperatures of this sort in The Upper Ward induce a febrile and mordacious mood. So we can say our weather’s been nothing to do with with climate change or global warming. Nothing to do with human activity. Nothing whatever.

With this re-assurance we may pick up The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells (published 19 February 2019) and have a jolly good laugh. It’s a book about climate change and environmental destruction. Smile indulgently at the compelling weight of science data which show humans to be trashing the environment which nurtures them. Because it’s all FAKE NEWS. The most powerful man in the world, Donald Trump, has already informed us of that in his ‘Twitter feed’. So it must be true. True, that is, in his world of ‘Post-Truth’ where truth doesn’t exist and facts are an inconvenient obstacle to getting rich.

Wallace-Wells ( amuses us mightily with a long section, entitled ‘Elements of Chaos’, which is composed of 12 short and brutal chapters, each of which foretells a specific dimension of our forecast doom, with titles such as ‘Heat Death’, ‘Dying Oceans’, ‘Unbreathable Air’, ‘Plagues of Warming’. Tee Hee Hee. Every return flight from London to New York costs the Arctic three square metres of ice; there were over 4 billion passenger journeys in commercial aircraft in 2017 !!!!!, setting a new record (; for every half degree of warming, societies see between a 10 and 20% increase in the likelihood of armed conflict; global plastic production is expected to triple by 2050, by which point there will be more plastic than fish in the planet’s oceans; we are now burning 80% more coal than we were just in the year 2000.” Guffaw.

The author treats us to a hellfire tour of what’s in store – terrible droughts, floods, wildfires, economic crises, political instability, population explosion, uncontrollable mass migrations, the collapse of the myth of progress. One’s eyes became wet with mirth. Snort, snort. It’s all a load of alarmist nonsense. The tide still comes to the same point on the beach at Largs and the supermarkets in Lanark are still groaning full of the produce one loves to consume. Tinto is still at the same elevation, and the bins are uplifted on Thursday mornings. Grin broadly.

Having recovered from the hoots of laughter, and stitch in your side, it should be back to business as usual. Nobody should damage your quality of life with a mendacious bunch of facts. You’ve got your own ‘alternative facts’. Trolley loads of highly packaged food to consume, many miles of car journeys to undertake, your subscription to Climate Change Denier Weekly’, so many flights and holidays to enjoy, children brought up to do the same. Titter ye lots.

Don’t bother checking whether this Sunday Times and New York Times Bestseller is in stock at your local library. Get the barbee fired up. Live a lot. Laugh a lot.

320 pages in Allen Lane

First published February 2019

ISBN 978-0241355213

David Wallace-Wells

1 thought on “The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells”

  1. Entertaining review but surely we already know there is nae likelihood that the global community can act in virtuous selfless union.

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