Home > Editorial Cartoons and Questions > Weapons of Mass Destruction

Weapons of Mass Destruction

1. The phrase “weapons of mass destruction” is a reference to the concern that motivated the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In this cartoon, what are the “weapons of mass destruction,” and what threat do they pose?
2. What is the relationship between, on the one hand, automobiles, industry and power plants, and on the other, global warming?
3. Scientists frequently inform us of the environmental cost of industry and economic progress—do you think there is an inherent conflict between nature and industry, or not? Can you think of natural events that have had significant environmental impacts?
4. In the box, the cartoon alludes to a British study that calls for “instant” action on global warming to prevent devastating economic consequences. What specific economic problems might arise from global warming? Scientists studying global warming often talk in terms of decades or longer time periods for significant increases in average temperature—why, then, is “instant” action needed?
5. Some political leaders say that the threat of global warming has been over-played, and that those who stress the dangers of global warming are not acknowledging how much is still unknown. Do you find this reasoning persuasive? Given that individuals, organizations and countries must often act on the basis of less-than-perfect knowledge, what criteria do you think should be used in deciding what actions to take?  
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