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The Top 10 Questions About the World's Biggest Problems

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No. 8: Will Obama's climate change gambit work?

Facing resolute opposition from GOP mossbacks in the Senate, the Obama administration is reportedly pursuing a "global accord" on greenhouse gas emissions that would rely on voluntary compliance by other states and not require Senate ratification. The idea is appealing because the United States could meet its obligations through legislation that would require a simple majority (and not the 67 Senate votes required to ratify a formal treaty), and because getting the United States fully on board would supposedly encourage other major emitters to sign on too. But there are at least two big questions: a) would "voluntary compliance" and "naming and shaming" really work, and b) if the GOP and its climate-change deniers gain a majority in the Senate, what are the odds that any meaningful U.S. legislation gets passed at all?

If climate change does as much damage as many experts now fear, climate-change deniers will one day deserve their own wing in the Museum of Great Human Follies.

Or maybe a chapter in the sequel to this book.