WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?

Our friends at The Economist's Democracy in America blog make a convincing case for the Senate to pass cap-and-trade legislation:

How warm were the oceans this summer? The warmest they've ever been since measurements started in 1880.

How's that typhoon season coming along? In August, Typhoon Etsau killed 13 people in Japan. Later that week, Typhoon Morakot, Taiwan's worst in 50 yearskilled 367 people. Last weekend, Typhoon Ketsana brought the heaviest rain in 40 years to the Philippines, where it killed over 300 people. In Vietnam, Ketsana dumped 3 feet of rain on one province and killed over 100 people. In a day or two, Typhoon Parma will hit the Philippines, and most likely Taiwan shortly thereafter. It is currently clocking winds of 120 knots, faster than Ketsana.

Meanwhile, in Australia, where February's "Black Saturday" wildfires killed 181 people, the sky turned black last week, as a multi-year drought generated the largest dust storms in 70 years.

Himalayan glaciers? Catch them while they last. Arctic sea ice? Third-lowest ever.

Sure, it's a tricky thing to link single incidents with global warming. Yet these multiplying natural disasters offer more than a hint that something is wrong with the status quo. Potentially very wrong.

~ EMILY BOBROW