Wednesday, February 18, 2009

James Hansen: Coal and the Urgency of Climate Change

In a recent OpEd in the Observer James Hansen had harsh words for unabated coal, and also strong warning about the dangers of runaway climate change.

On the latest climate science (post IPCC 4AR):

Only in the past few years did the science crystallize, revealing the urgency – our planet really is in peril. If we do not change course soon, we will hand our children a situation that is out of their control, as amplifying feedbacks drive the dynamics of the global system.
On coal:

The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.
And, agreeing with the climate camp stickers which state 'the future is not what is used to be':

The greatest threats, hanging like the sword of Damocles over our children and
grandchildren, are those that are irreversible on any time scale that humans can imagine. If coastal ice shelves buttressing the West Antarctic ice sheet continue to disintegrate, the ice sheet could disgorge into the ocean, raising sea level by several meters in a century. Such rates of sea level change have occurred many times in Earth’s history in response to global warming rates no higher than that of the past thirty years. Almost half of the world’s great cities, and many historical sites, are located on coast lines.

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