A new study says the chance of a drought in Texas is 20 times more likely during a La Niña year now compared with the 1960s. Another predicts four feet of sea-level rise along the Eastern Seaboard over the next century. Have your eyes glazed over yet?

Call it apocalypse fatigue. Amid all the warnings about the impending threat, many of us just tune out. And no wonder: The problem can feel so large, and policymakers' sense of urgency so feeble, that it's easy to think that no one is taking action to lessen the threat to civilization.

This is why the work of Michael Wara, a climate scientist-turned-legal scholar, offers a needed shot of hope and excitement.