Bill McKibben, through The New Yorker, discusses why One Crisis Doesn’t Stop Because Another Starts.
round the world, weary people in many countries have begun to chart the promising slide of daily coronavirus cases and deaths—less so in the United States, of course, where our leader has decided that we should be “warriors” bravely exposing ourselves to the microbe. But even here in New York City, the worst hotspot so far, we appear to have reached the top of the roller coaster.
But the other crisis curves on our planet—the endless rises of temperature and carbon-dioxide concentration—show no such mercy. Just the opposite. Researchers reported last week that April of 2020 has tied for the hottest April on record, and that there is a seventy-five-per-cent chance that this year will become the hottest one ever measured for the globe as a whole. That would be remarkable, because it usually takes an El Niño warming the Pacific to vault the globe to a new record, which isn’t happening this year. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said that February and March of 2020 were the two hottest non-El Niño months ever recorded in its temperature database. For perspective, April was the four hundred and twenty-fourth consecutive month with temperatures above the twentieth-century average, meaning that, if you’re under thirty-five, you’ve never lived through a cooler-than-usual month.