A week out from the most important conference on climate in years, it is hard to dredge up much optimism there'll be real progress - even though the stakes could not be higher.
After all, the planet's future is going to be up for discussion in Glasgow, Scotland.
World leaders will gather there for part of the two weeks of COP26 and will make more pledges of action to tackle the climate crisis.
However, greenhouse gas emissions have risen since the 2015 Paris Agreement with its targets of less than 1.5 to 2C warming this century.
The opening to avoid exceeding those levels is tight. Three years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that keeping under 1.5C meant emissions needed to be halved by 2030. The IPCC has since said this is unlikely to happen.
The best that can be said is that an opportunity to dodge some of the damage is still there. The move away from fossil fuels has to be swift with emissions eventually being phased out. Economies are now more focused on green energy and its growth potential. Technology is aiding that evolution.
But in a news report based on a leak of documents , the BBC revealed countries such as Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia were lobbying the United Nations to downplay the need for a rapid reduction in dependency on fossil fuels. Saudi Arabia at the weekend said it aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2060.
In the US, key Biden Administration climate initiatives are still being negotiated as part of a spending bill. A couple of conservative Democrats could scupper President Joe Biden's plans in the split Senate.
To climate activists and sceptics looking on, impressive-sounding commitments are unconvincing unless and until detailed rules are outlined and changes implemented.
As Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg memorably put it: "Build back better. Blah, blah, blah. Green economy. Blah, blah, blah. Net-zero by 2050. Blah, blah, blah. Words that sound great but so far have not led to action."
As with the pandemic, climate change has widespread impacts in multiple ways and shines a light on the good and bad of humanity, from deep dysfunction to scientific brilliance. Severe and costly disasters have already become commonplace and widespread around the globe, touching many lives.
The US last week for the first time officially recognised a link between climate change and migration.
People would move to the "nearest stable democracies that adhere to international asylum conventions and are strong economies", a Biden Administration report said. That could make countries familiar with climate-churned waves of migration vulnerable to "greater insecurity".
A new report by the Lancet Countdown said climate change is affecting people's welfare through illnesses related to warming, infectious diseases, and mental health.
At this stage, climate change has to be considered through a realistic lens rather than one of utter doom or head-in-the-sand optimistic denial.
Again, as with Covid-19, there are familiar hurdles such as insufficient global cooperation and follow-through, and a plague of misinformation. But there's also a realisation for many that sacrifices may have to be made and that governments and major businesses will have to be held to account.
We all have to do our bit to reduce the impacts of both of these challenging problems. And the world's leaders have much to prove.