Adapt or die. That is the stark challenge to living in the new world we have made | David Wallace-Wells

Adapt or die. That is the stark challenge to living in the new world we have made | David Wallace-Wells

We need to decarbonise and fast. But ‘adaptation’, the ways in which we protect people from the crisis, is not a dirty word

It won’t be enough. It can’t be. From here, even an astonishing pace of decarbonisation will still deliver us a warmer world than we have today, full of more eye-opening extremes and more deeply disruptive disasters of the kind, we are learning this summer, that even the wealthiest and most climate-conscious countries are unprepared for. No one is.

That is what Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, meant when he wrote, with the capital inundated, that the city was now on the frontline of the climate emergency and it is the central lesson of the Met Office’s annual report on the state of the UK climate, which found that mild British weather was already a relic of a bygone era. The Climate Crisis Advisory Group, led by Sir David King, recently declared that greenhouse gas levels were already so high that they foreclosed a “manageable future for humanity”. “Nowhere is safe,” King said, provoking a host of headlines.

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