In North America this summer, drought, fire, and heat
are putting climate back in the headlines — if not, yet, in the
election-year political debate. At such moments, it’s tempting for
anyone who’s been talking about the issue all along to pile on with the
“see what we mean?”s and “we told you so”s. But it’s far more important
to use the moment to catalyze understanding and action.
Two articles this weekend set the moment’s choices in deep relief. On the cover of Rolling Stone, sharing display space with Justin Bieber’s come-hither pout and Eraserhead ‘do, Bill McKibben sketches an arrestingly urgent map of our plight, using three numbers to explain why the fate of the planet comes down to fossil-fuel company finances. In the Sunday New York Times, David Leonhardt, the paper’s Washington bureau chief, finds a “ray of hope on climate change” in global clean-energy trends.