"The Incredible Disappearing Doomsday"

"How the climate catastrophists learned to stop worrying and love the calm".

"The first signs that the mood was brightening among the corps of reporters called to cover one of the gravest threats humanity has ever faced appeared in the summer of 2021. “Climate change is not a pass/fail course,” Sarah Kaplan wrote in the Washington Post on August 9. “There is no chance that the world will avoid the effects of warming—we’re already experiencing them—but neither is there any point at which we are doomed.” Writing in the Guardian a few days later, Rebecca Solnit highlighted a paragraph from a recent report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that said carbon-dioxide removal technology could theoretically “reverse . . . some aspects of climate change.” Though she admitted this was “a long shot” that would require “heroic effort, unprecedented cooperation, and visionary commitment,” Solnit nevertheless concluded, “It is possible to do. And we know how to do it.”

In the following months, a new mode of environmental reporting bloomed: the age of climate optimism was upon us. Elizabeth Weil captured the shift in a 2022 New York magazine story about how everyday people ought to contend with the crisis. Weil catalogued the usual depredations of her beat: fleeing a Marin County meditation retreat after wildfires fouled the air, crying about the gloomy future in the serenity of Houston’s Rothko Chapel. But her mood lifted during a rally marking the seventeenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina."

Kyle Paoletta reports for Harpers magazine April 2023 issue.

Source: Harpers, 04/17/2023