"When normally stoic scientists start draining the barrel of awful superlatives, it’s time to pay attention.Will this be our shared moment, when raging nature makes all of us feel small, vulnerable and petty? I keep thinking of a movie I saw as a kid, “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” about a time when all the world’s trivial matters were briefly put aside to gasp in awe at a spaceship landing on Earth. 'It’s no concern of ours how you run your own planet,'says the alien, Klaatu, 'but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder.' The reference in that 1951 film was to nuclear annihilation. And today, the smartest military men count the global insecurity and chaos of climate change as an existential threat on a par with nuclear disaster."