Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
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(CNN) – Secretary of State John Kerry announced Tuesday that the State Department will host a two-day conference on protecting oceans, on the heels of President Barack Obama pledging $1 billion to help communities prepare for climate change.
With a Congress that shows little inclination to deal with this issue, the Obama administration has been trying to combat climate change on its own, through executive actions.
The Supreme Court Monday heard arguments over just how far the administration can go, specifically over whether the environmental protection agency can tighten emissions standards for places like power plants.
The U.S. Congress might be nonchalant or even skeptical of climate change but the world meteorological organization says the first six weeks of 2014 have been noticeable for unusual weather extremes – extreme cold, extreme heat, extreme rain.
We should all be paying attention to all of this, because Earth is on the verge of a cataclysmic event, says Elizabeth Kolbert, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History." The book details the many ways the human species is eradicating others throughout the world.
"All of us, all societies depend on this sort of climate that we're used to, (and we're) quickly pushing the planet, the whole planet, into this climate regime that's really unknown, you know, in human history," Kolbert told CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."
"If we really continue on the trajectory that we're on, we're going to have carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere that have not been seen on the Earth since long, long before humans evolved. And it's very unclear what the consequences of that will be," said Kolbert.
Check out our interview with author Elizabeth Kolbert in the video above.