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Climate scientists say New York magazine's cover story about global warming is unnecessarily apocalyptic. But can fear help the planet?

New York magazine’s latest opus on climate change, “The Uninhabitable Earth,” is a horror story. Over 7,000 words, reporter David Wallace-Wells lays out global warming’s worst-case scenario in excruciating and apocalyptic detail. If humanity does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Wallace-Wells writes, prehistoric ice could unleash million-year-old bacteria, sparking devastating disease outbreaks. Thicker, hotter air could bring a “rolling death smog that suffocates millions.” Drought, heat, and crop failure in conflict-ridden zones could create “perpetual war” and violent death. “It is, I promise, worse than you think,” he declares. “No matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough.”

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