Taking effective action against the unstoppable

Flooding in Norfolk, Va., as Hurricane Sandy approached in 2012. Coastal flooding will become more common. Matthew Eich for The New York Times
Eduardo Porter | New York Times | June 24, 2014

Climate change is not an event in your children’s future. It is bearing down upon you now. And there is nothing you — or anyone else — can do to prevent the hit.

Over the next quarter-century, heat-related death rates will probably double in the southeastern states. Crop losses that used to happen only once every 20 years because of cataclysmic weather will occur five times as often.

This is our future even if every person on the planet abruptly stopped burning coal, gas, oil, wood or anything else containing carbon today and we hooked the world economy onto the wind and the sun tomorrow. The change is baked in, caused by CO2 spewed into the air long ago.

This stark future is rendered vividly in a comprehensive report released on Tuesday by the Risky Business Project, a coalition of political and business luminaries representing widely different political views — including the former Treasury secretaries George P. Shultz, Robert E. Rubin and Henry M. Paulson Jr. — that is intended to raise awareness about the impending perils of a changing climate