Diary of a Dying Planet
Global warming is more than a theory -- it's happening all over the Earth right now
By TIM DICKINSON
The hospitals and funeral parlors of Paris could not keep up with the dead. As morgues filled to overflowing, delivery trucks were pressed into service and bodies stowed in their refrigerated bays. The city set up inflatable tents, chilled to prevent the corpses from rotting, yet still they came -- casualties by the hundreds, then thousands. In desperation, the government requisitioned a former produce market and lined the concrete floor of its cavernous warehouse with 700 army cots, arranged in tight green rows. For many victims, Rue des Glacieres -- Refrigerator Street -- became their next-to-final resting place.
The victims did not perish in a chemical leak, a train bombing, a ricin attack. The dead -- as many as 15,000 in France alone, 30,000 in Europe at large -- succumbed to something far more primordial. They died of heat. For ten freakish days last August, Paris became Death Valley, with temperatures surpassing 104 degrees. Nights offered no relief: On the murderous eve of August 11th, even the low temperature hovered near 80. And so they cooked. Hyperthermia. Elevated body temperature. Dehydration. Nausea, cramping, exhaustion. The elderly were the most vulnerable. Some literally keeled over while walking up stairwells. Others -- so weakened by a week and a half of extreme heat -- died quietly in their apartments, announcing their passing only by the stench of their
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