Five months ago, the stars were looking aligned for this year's climate summit in Paris. The US and China, the world's largest carbon polluters, had just signed a historic action plan to curb their emissions.
The re-shuffle of the last U.S. election that put austerity-minded Republicans in power has ironically resulted in a new anti-austerity economist being hired by Senator Bernie Sanders in the Senate Budget Committee.
Unless the destructive impacts of global warming are brought to a heel, a "frightening world" lies in wait. That's according to the head of World Bank Jim Yong Kim who unveiled the group's latest climate report over the weekend.
There was something almost apocalyptic about 2013. But much happened that was hopeful this year -- a new pope focused on inequality, successful minimum wage campaigns spread across the country, and the number of states allowing gay marriage doubled.
At a time when institutions of business and government continue to fail society, two of our leading academic institutions missed the opportunity to provide essential moral leadership on the most pressing challenge ever faced in the history of human civilization.
For Canada, it means that an over-reliance on the tar sands as an economic drive is a huge risk if the world ever regulates greenhouse gas emissions. It doesn't make a ton of sense to build your economy around a product that can't be sold or used.
I asked one future biochemist what she thought about NYU's environmental program. Her bright young face turned sour as she complained that her environmental studies were dominated by disaster science. Where was the hope, she wanted to know?
If we could see the world with a particularly illuminating set of spectacles, one of its most prominent features at the moment would be a giant carbon bubble, whose bursting someday will make the housing bubble of 2007 look like a lark.