War, famine, drought, mass extinction, displacement, annihilation. You can buy a ticket to see Russell Crowe scream at a green screen tidal wave or experience these distinct realities by reading the details of a UN report on climate change that was recently leaked, which (again) predicts utter catastrophe should world leaders continue to ignore global warming. Because of their inability to mandate significant cutbacks in carbon emissions, it looks like humanity's survival will largely depend on its ability to adapt to widespread disaster. Shipping containers for everyone lucky western urbanites!

"I think the really big breakthrough in this report is the new idea of thinking about managing climate change as a problem in managing risks," Dr. Christopher Field, the co-chair of the group that wrote the report told the BBC.

Previously, scientists used a more alarming tone because the facts are alarming: glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica are melting at unprecedented speeds, islands are being swallowed up, token emissions reductions in the United States are subsumed by ceaseless pollution in China and India, the fate of the world's poorest people is increasingly grim.

But politicians find a term like "alarming" too easy to dispute. Dr. Field and other advocates hope that a more measured approach will convince them to act. In other words, you still praise a 4-year-old for peeing in the toilet even if he poops on the floor.

"Climate change is really important but we have a lot of the tools for dealing effectively with it," Field says. "We just need to be smart about it."

In this light, Con Ed's recent $1 billion overhaul to protect its infrastructure from catastrophic weather events like Hurricane Sandy (which are likely to become more frequent as our world gets warmer) is seen as progress. Maybe if our leaders acknowledge the necessity of fortification they'll acknowledge the necessity of prevention?

“Now we are at the point where there is so much information, so much evidence, that we can no longer plead ignorance,” Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization told the Times.

Oh, but we can.

Earlier this month, Republican David Jolly won a special election in Florida, where coral reefs are dying and the state is experiencing the largest summer heat index increase in the country, all as a result of global warming. Jolly, a former lobbyist, told the Tampa Bay Times, "I don’t think the impact that humans have had on our climate is so dramatic that it requires a significant shift in federal policy."