In recent years, much of the commentary about climate change has gone from sternly serious to wildly despairing.

A new report from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that the effects of climate change are accelerating and that the world has barely more than a decade to make deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions and limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by century's end.

Such reductions are extremely unlikely, given that global emissions rose this year and last. China, the world's biggest emitter by far, is still building coal-fired power plants, while the United States under President Donald Trump has abdicated leadership on the climate issue.