Will the Polluters Pay for Climate Change?

I am writing this in New York in early August, when the mayor declared a “heat emergency” to prevent widespread electricity outages from the expected high use of air conditioners. City employees could face criminal charges if they set their thermostats below 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.5 Celsius). Nevertheless, electricity usage has reached near-record levels.

Meanwhile California has emerged from its own record-breaking heat wave. For the United States as a whole, the first six months of 2006 were the hottest in more than a century. Europe is experiencing an unusually hot summer, too. July set new records in England and the Netherlands, where weather data go back more than 300 years.

The hot northern summer fits well with the release of An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary film featuring former US Vice-President Al Gore. Using some remarkable graphs, images, and other information, the film makes a compelling case that our carbon dioxide emissions are causing global warming, or, at the very least, contributing to it, and that we must urgently address the issue.

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