The decade from 1979 to 1989 was a critical one for climate action. At the start of this 10-year period, scientific consensus about global warming was only beginning to emerge. By the middle of the decade, the scientific community understood with unprecedented clarity that human activity was contributing to a rapid derangement of the natural world, one that would threaten economic and societal collapse if left unchecked. But efforts to marshal the political will and industry support to change course all failed.
In an authoritative piece taking up an entire edition of the New York Times Magazine published in August 2018, Nathaniel Rich reveals how the current narratives and arguments around climate change were formed, and why this problem has remained so difficult to solve. Stunning aerial photography by George Steinmetz, taken over the past year, reveals some of the damage already done, while also underscoring what remains at stake.