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I thought perhaps getting out of DC and into the real US America would help me understand why the sensible down-to-earth practical citizens of this great land don’t seem to care about climate change and therefore have let themselves be incomprehensibly persuaded that all scientists are corrupt liars, like all the politicians who they voted for. Getting out didn’t help.

Outside of DC it’s plenty hot too, and you’d think that would help focus the mind that climate matters, and that the vast preponderance of evidence is that we are making things very much worse. It’s not a hard theory to get. Carbon dioxide traps heat, like greenhouse windows. We learned that in grade school and it has never been in dispute. We are adding lots more of it to a very shallow atmosphere, and the basic math, and the collected evidence is that we are setting ourselves up to cook to death. People don’t like this idea, so they have decided instead to concoct all manner of explanations as to why the people who study this in detail are deliberately lying about it.

Also not hard to understand: the consequences. Floods: catastrophe, for real Americans. Tornados: catastrophe, for real Americans. Drought: slow-motion catastrophe, for real Americans. The solution: switch over to non-carbon energy: inconvenience, for real Americans. People just refuse to understand the tradeoffs here. Americans out in the real America think they are so much smarter than the politicians. The corrupt politicians make a nice career for themselves frying the planet to death. The American people are too busy to notice that they’re the ones in the pan. SO smarter!

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog.

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