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Opening Arguments

Hot stuff

We're all doomed, doomed, I tell you!

Don't want to see your neighbors die in a heat wave?

Then you should care about climate change.

That's a little flip, I know. But it's the message we need to take to heart from a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report, titled "Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action." The report, which will be released on Monday, is essentially a cost-benefit analysis: What will be lost if we don't act swiftly to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, which is the agreed-upon threshold for "dangerous" climate change.

Or, put another way: What we can save by cutting carbon emissions fast.


It's clear benefits of cutting emissions and saving forests now clearly outweigh the costs of inaction. Just take a peek at some of the numbers: If we continue polluting as we are now, heat waves in 49 major U.S. cities are expected to kill 12,000 people per year by 2100.

Wow. 12,000 people a year by 2100.  That's 40 percent of the 30,000 people a year who die in automobile accidents! By all means, let's spend trillions of dollars and put the whole world under rigid toltalitarian control. We must stop this scourge!

And now, for the really, really bad news:

Long-term global warming could cause loaves of bread to shrink in size due a reduction in the amount of protein in grains, Australian scientists have found.

Hold on to your buns, our bread is shrinking!

Ah, global warming climate change. Is there anything it can't do?