Compilation: Dr. James Hansen and the global climate EMERGENCY or: Recipe for disaster, NOT salvation

This is an ongoing compilation about Dr. James Hansen (big deal climate guy) and the clear, present, accelerating EMERGENCY of global heating and climate breakdown / disruption / destabilization.


2008 ~ “We have reached a point of planetary emergency… Elements of a perfect storm, a global cataclysm, are assembled… the oft-stated goal to keep global warming less than +2 ºC (+3.6 ºFahrenheit) is a recipe for global disaster, not salvation.” ~ Dr. James Hansen, global warming testimony to Congress

2011 ~ “Exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts” … “Phase out of emissions from coal is itself an enormous challenge. However, if the tar sands are thrown into the mix, it is essentially game over.”

On June 23, 1988, NASA‘s James Hansen was the first scientist to testify about the dangers of global warming before a U.S. Congressional committee. On June 23, 2008, he returned to warn that the Earth’s climate nears dangerous tipping points, to call for a national carbon tax, and to declare that the CEO’s of energy companies should be tried for crimes against humanity and nature.

Despite government efforts to censor and discredit him, and fossil fuel industry-funded disinformation campaigns designed to deceive and betray the public, for more than two decades, Hansen has led the scientific call for EMERGENCY action (AND participates in / has been arrested for peaceful public protests!) in an effort to inspire the necessary political will to attempt to prevent the worst future impacts, BEFORE it’s too late.

If this umbrella peril is not tackled fast, the consequences — already grave compromises to fresh water availability / quality, food / agriculture production / supply / security and multi-regional insecurity / instability (as a threat multiplier) — will make it impossible for us to address ALL other global issues and causes, let alone to thrive or survive.

Faced with the systemic corruption of global politics and economics; the ecocidal / suicidal mentalities of growth / consumerism; deadly fossil fuel-based, greenhouse gas-intensive energy addiction; and the resource wars and global inequity that all of this perpetuates…

climateye salutes Dr. Hansen for his RARE COURAGE to step so far out of his element under such a high profile, public microscope — and with such a prestigious career and reputation at stake — to say and do the difficult, unpopular, unpalatable things that MUST be said and done.

A few key quotes transcribed from the TED talk (first video) above:

2012 ~ “What do I know that would cause me, a reticent Midwestern scientist, to get myself arrested in front of the White House protesting?  And what would you do if you knew what I know?”

“I had been using the first line of the NASA mission statement — “To understand and protect the home planet” — to justify my talks.  Soon, the first line of the mission statement was deleted, never to appear again.”

“The total energy imbalance now is … about 20 times greater than the rate of energy use by all of humanity.  It is equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year.  That’s how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day.”

“…CO2, methane and ice sheets were feedbacks that amplified global temperature change, causing these ancient climate oscillations to be huge, even though the climate change was initiated by a very weak forcing.  The important point is that these same amplifying feedbacks will occur today.  The physics does not change.”

“How did I get dragged deeper and deeper into an attempt to communicate — giving talks in 10 countries, getting arrested, burning up the vacation time that I had accumulated over 30 years?  More grandchildren helped me along. …It would be immoral to leave these young people with a climate system spiraling out of control.”

“But instead of placing a rising fee on carbon emissions to make fossil fuels pay their true cost to society, our governments are forcing the public to subsidize fossil fuels by 400 to 500 billion dollars per year worldwide, thus encouraging extraction of every fossil fuel — mountain top removal, long wall mining, fracking, tar sands, tar shale, deep ocean Arctic drilling.  This path, if continued, guarantees that we will pass tipping points leading to ice sheet disintegration that will accelerate out of control of future generations; a large fraction of species will be committed to extinction; an increasing intensity of droughts and floods will severely impact breadbaskets of the world, causing massive famines and economic decline.”

“Imagine a giant asteroid, on a direct collision course with Earth.  That is the equivalent of what we face now. Yet, we dither, taking no action to divert the asteroid, even though, the longer we wait, the more difficult and expensive it becomes.”

“If we started in 2005, it would have required emission reductions of 3% per year to restore planetary energy balance and stabilize climate this century.  If we start next year, it is 6% per year.  If we wait 10 years, it is 15% per year — Extremely difficult and expensive, perhaps impossible.  But we aren’t even starting.”

“I need your help to communicate the gravity and the urgency of this situation — and its solutions — more effectively.  We owe it to our children and grandchildren.”

Bottom line

“…at today’s level of carbon dioxide, and not much above the current temperature, the world has experienced sea-levels 5 to 25 metres higher than at present! … It is hard to argue that anything above the Holocene maximum (of around +0.5C above the pre-industrial temperature) can preserve a safe climate, and that we have not already gone too far.  The notion that +1.5C is a safe target is out the window, and even +1C looks like an unacceptably high risk.” ~ Hansen: Re-thinking a “safe climate”: Have we already gone too far? David Spratt

For years, politicians and environmental organizations have said we must avoid a +2C tipping point.

But the first proposed U.N. ‘safe climate’ limit was +1C in 1990, until the fossil fuel industry sold the world on the political, not scientific, target of +2C and suckered us into ‘business as usual on steroids’ delay ever since.

As Hansen has shown, the real danger threshold appears to have been YEARS AGO.

RIGHT NOW, our shared atmosphere is on an accelerating course to reach a state of potentially unsurvivable, runaway climate extremes during the lives of today’s children (Compilation: +4°C by 2060s or sooner catastrophic / incompatible with organized civilization).

Only EMERGENCY international action at EMERGENCY speed *may be* proportional enough to confront the scale, scope and urgency of what is already the greatest crime against humanity, most life and most future life EVER.

Get informed. Get inspired. Get involved and help to motivate bold, new, transformative approaches and ‘just’, resilient, EMERGENCY RESPONSES to the climate crisis FAST.


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