A man walks in the flooded streets in Barlovento in the state of Miranda outside Caracas December 1, 2010. 
Miranda Government / Reuters

The world seems to be in a state of permanent crisis. The liberal international order is besieged from within and without. Democracy is in decline. A lackluster economic recovery has failed to significantly raise incomes for most people in the West. A rising China is threatening U.S. dominance, and resurgent international tensions are increasing the risk of a catastrophic war.

Yet there is one threat that is as likely as any of these to define this century: climate change. The disruption to the earth’s climate will ultimately command more attention and resources and have a greater influence on the global economy and international relations than other forces visible in the world today. Climate change will cease to be a faraway threat and become one whose effects require immediate action.

The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, now exceeds 410 parts per million, the highest level in 800,000

To read the full article

  • JOSHUA BUSBY is Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.
  • More By Joshua Busby