I started believing in global warming the first time I heard about it, in Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, in a chapter entitled “Heaven and Hell” in 1980, which made the eminently reasonable assertion that if Venus turned into a lead-melting furnace due to greenhouse gases, that Earth could too.
Because of that, the barrage of news about it shouldn’t shock me, right? Wrong. Every time I read about it, I’m shocked more. I used to figure that a climate-9/11 would finally snap us into focus on this issue, but it didn’t. Hurricane Katrina’s connection to global warming requires a subtle mind, and in media sound bites all people hear is “indirect” or “inconclusive.”
But all of the effects of global warming are going to be like that. No one is going to die from heat stroke because the weather is 3 degrees warmer. They will die from their homes being inundated by the ocean, or the destruction of their crops, or the spread of tropical diseases, or some unseen consequence we haven’t divined yet.