Once again the nations of the world, under the collective roof that is the United Nations, are assembling to tackle the advancing scourge of climate change.

They are doing so in a perennially warm place, Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt.

Perhaps the assembled delegates should meet outdoors as opposed to air conditioned interiors. Well, maybe not. We need cool heads in the face of the climate crisis in every sense of the term.

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From the very birth of our existence we humans have experienced the vagaries of weather, the good ones, and the not so good ones.

Climate science is a recent addition to our experience and knowledge of meteorological phenomena. That science tells us that we are not currently in a good place. The climate is changing and the effects will vary from interesting, possibly even helpful, to outright catastrophic. And we sure are seeing a few catastrophes around the world in terms of fire, floods, wind, melting ice and rising seas.

It's probably too late to avoid the worst effects of climate change in the short run. What we have to do is take the longer view, the much longer view, and try as best we can to shore up our defenses against the worst effects over, say, the next hundred years or so.

And that is going to take a level of agreement and organization among nation states the kind of which we have never seen in all our human history.

So anyone would be forgiven for feeling pessimistic. But it is part of our nature to search for the positive, even while confronting the negative.

Humanity is not completely helpless, in large part due to that word again: science.

We know much, we have learned much, and we can do much. Over time we can do more. But the process of doing more can't wait. It has to start in Sharm El-Sheikh, a warm place in a warming world.