As the oceans rise to earth-destroying levels, the agricultural heartlands turn to desert, and the rate of skin cancer grows to match the rate of the common cold, future generations will look back on the early twenty-first century with a combination of curiosity and anger, asking, “What could the people of the earth have been thinking when they kept on doing what they had been doing for 150 years — ignoring all the warnings about humans’ contributions to the rapidly developing global scorching?”

The facts are well known. In the spring of 2013, the major media reported a clear scientific truth: the level of carbon in the air has reached 400 parts per million. Human beings have never lived under these conditions, and there is now more carbon dioxide in the air than at any other point in the last 800,000 years. Environmentalists predict...

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