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What to Do About Climate Change

A sand bar exposed by the receding Rio Solimoes river, one of the two biggest tributaries of the Amazon River, Brazil, October 7, 2005. Rickey Rogers / Reuters

THE HEAT IS ON

In the years ahead, climate change will have a significant impact on every aspect of the daily lives of all human beings -- possibly greater even than war. Shifting precipitation patterns and ocean currents could change where and how food crops grow. If icecaps melt and low-lying areas are flooded, as is predicted, entire populations could be forced to move to higher ground. The tsunami of 2004 and Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, provided vivid examples of what large-scale climactic catastrophes entail.

And yet climate change remains low on the list of most countries' foreign policy concerns and has yet to be treated as a subject for serious, sustained action. Part of the problem is that the threat still feels abstract. Despite accumulating evidence, the full impact of climate change has not yet been felt; for now, it can only be modeled and forecast. Much of the current planning

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