The new realities of energy and climate change must now be squarely faced. The two most salient of these are: that American shale oil and gas output is set to rise higher than ever, making the United States the world's largest producer, and that atmospheric carbon emissions are now rising at the fastest rate in 3 million years.

These developments are not just prophecies or guesses. They are firm trends and hard facts that are with us now.

The deeply unsettling aspect is that both outcomes flatly contradict the basic assumptions of much of world energy and climate policy for the last 20 years.