The conventional wisdom holds that climate change is a problem for international organizations, big governments, and global corporations to solve. Only those major players can make a dent in global greenhouse gas emissions, the thinking goes, and only they can pool the necessary resources. Given the monumental scale of the coming climate crisis, anything short of such high-level mobilization seems inconsequential, even futile. 

It is true that nothing short of a massive, globally coordinated push can reduce emissions enough to slow down climate change in the decades ahead. That is why international organizations, national governments, and companies are spending some 95 percent of their climate-related investment on carbon emission reductions. But those efforts will serve to prevent only the worst-case scenarios. The fact is that climate change has already done a great deal of damage and that more harmful effects will be impossible to avert altogether.