Hollywood's Global Warming

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Tomorrow may be politically useful and financially profitable, but is there good science under all that? The answer is no — and also yes. Global warming in some scenarios could lead to a long-term cooling, but nothing so dramatic as this, and certainly not at Hollywood speed: in the movie a killer frost chases a sprinting Gyllenhaal down a hallway. Change that drastic would take decades, if not centuries. Even Dan Schrag, a Harvard paleoclimatologist who spoke at the MoveOn.org press conference, says the plot is largely bunk: "Climate change, global warming, is not going to lead to an Ice Age. And it's not going to happen in a few days."

And yet. The overwhelming consensus among scientists is that global warming is real and the long-term consequences could be disastrous even by Hollywood standards. Global temperatures are expected to rise as much as 10F by the year 2100. Rising temperatures could melt the ice caps, which would raise the sea level globally, swamping coastal cities like New York. Droughts would follow in some places, torrential rains in others, devastating agriculture. It doesn't take Dennis Quaid to connect the dots. Climate change isn't science fiction; it's already happening. And when the oceans rise and the rain starts falling, Republicans and Democrats will find themselves equally wet.

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