I have become increasingly pessimistic about our ability to address the climate change crisis. The dynamics are simply deadly — the most dangerous effects begin arriving after it’s too late to do anything about them — which leaves as our great hope the chance that a strong enough intellectual argument can be made to convince us all to challenge thousands of entrenched interests (among them our own) and significantly change the path of policy. Frankly, there’s nothing in our history that suggests this is possible. Time and again, slow-burning environmental crises have emerged to devastate civilizations. That we’re smart enough to see it coming and understand the mechanisms involved only renders our failure more tragic.