(Tom Toles)
Editorial cartoonist

This seems like as good a time as any to shift the climate argument from the debate club to criminal court, and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger intends to do just that.

“I don’t think there’s any difference: If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first-degree murder; I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies.”

Murder. Yes, it’s about time somebody started to use language that captures the actual effect of deliberately delaying the transition to carbon-free fuel. Will people really die as a result of climate change? They already have, from the amplification of the power of storms, to more intense drought, wildfires and flooding. The World Health Organization estimates that between 2030 and 2050, 250,000 people will die from climate change. EVERY YEAR. From malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress.

Of course, right now we’re living in a world where our current president can refute such concerns with the reasoned response of “FAKE NEWS!” Trump diddles while home burns. And the U.S. government has become a full orchestra of fellow diddlers, and everyone is afraid to yell fire in the crowded theater, which is actually ablaze.

Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt, who is conducting this gruesome symphony of suicide, doesn’t believe in climate science. But then he doesn’t believe in evolution either. And why should he? He is behaving like a sheep, and when he looks around at others in his party, all he sees is more sheep. And they are all ambling off together to the slaughter, and trying to lead the rest of us there as well.

If the rest of us humans don’t stand up and stop them, maybe Schwarzenegger should change his lawsuit to First-Degree Slaughter.