Volume 11, Issue 1 e606

The work after “It's too late” (to prevent dangerous climate change)

Susanne C. Moser

Corresponding Author

Susanne C. Moser

Susanne Moser Research & Consulting, Hadley, Massachusetts

Environmental Studies Department, Antioch University New England, Keene, New Hampshire


Susanne C. Moser, Susanne Moser Research & Consulting, Hadley, MA.

Email: [email protected]

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First published: 23 October 2019
Citations: 21
Edited by Irene Lorenzoni, Domain Editor, and Mike Hulme, Editor-in-Chief
This article is part of a WIREs Climate Change special collection of Opinion articles entitled “Is it too late (to stop dangerous climate change)?” View the full collection: http://wires.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WiresCollection/id-80.html


The fact that the question “Is it too late (to prevent dangerous climate change”)? is being debated in serious science circles constitutes a culturally significant moment. This article does not offer a simplistic answer to “is it too late – or not?”, but explores the uncomfortable space of denying neither endings nor possibilities. In so doing, it asks readers to witness and engage with what appears to be a serious psychological and cultural struggle within ourselves, now publicly visible, over what and how to confront endings, what kind of hope to sustain, and how to be and act in the face of these accumulating apocalyptic (i.e., revelatory) facts. The article sketches the variety of endings being faced at this time and the psychological responses to them. It then outlines the political, policy, and practical work, as well as the deeper, underlying socio-cultural and psychological work, that the paradoxical tension between endings and possibilities demands.

This article is categorized under:

  • Perceptions, Behavior, and Communication of Climate Change > Communication

Graphical Abstract

Hope stems not from a denial of “it's too late” but from holding still in the uncomfortable space between climate-induced endings and possibilities and engaging in the profound inner and outer work that must be done once the lateness of our current predicament is recognized.


The author declares no conflicts of interest for this article.