While world leaders pat themselves on the back for approving, what is being called, a historic climate agreement, some climate scientists and activists believe it fall far short of what is needed to stop global warming. It’s astonishing how matter-of-fact most of the world is about paragraphs like this one https://t.co/mB1c7X35nP pic.twitter.com/vjDj10pRuS — Glenn Greenwald …
Tag: James Hansen
Dec 16 2015
Aug 12 2012
It’s getting warmer and that appears to be the trend. Is it too late to so something? What are the consequences? Is there the political will to take action? Naomi Wolf exams those questions in this article from The Guardian about the impact of the current American drought, the American phenomenon of climate change denial and the effects of “political polarization” on public opinion:
America has led the world in climate change denial, a phenomenon noted with amazement by Europeans, not to mention thinking people around the world. Year after year, the US has failed to sign global treaties or curb emissions, even as our status as a source of a third of the world’s carbon emissions goes unchanged. [..]
But could our denial be cracking, this summer, as, in the heartland – that most iconic of American landscapes – broiling temperatures injure humans and cook fish in the water? This summer a crisis has occurred (though one that, again, is seldom reported on in terms of our outsize contribution to the disaster), as midwestern farmers lost vast swaths of their corn crop to scalding heat and drought. In the American unconscious of wishful ignorance, this disaster and loss was to be borne, as usual, by other people far away. [..]
But we face some serious problems in rising out of our torpor. In “Shifting Public Opinion on Climate Change: An Empirical Assessment of Factors Influencing Concern over Climate Change in the US, 2002-2010“, John Wihbey shows that Gallup surveys reveal Americans’ level of concern varying widely [..]
Wihbey and colleagues’ study found that this fluctuation was caused by, among other factors, political polarization. In other words, when one party says global warming is a crisis and the other says all that is nonsense, and there is no cooperation between political elites at both ends of the spectrum, the net result is apathy.
What is even more ominous, is how China and India have manipulated carbon credits to make a profits from the production of HFC-23, a gaseous byproduct of a coolant that causes global warming and is used in air-conditioners and then destroying it:
When the United Nations wanted to help slow climate change, it established what seemed a sensible system.
Greenhouse gases were rated based on their power to warm the atmosphere. The more dangerous the gas, the more that manufacturers in developing nations would be compensated as they reduced their emissions.
But where the United Nations envisioned environmental reform, some manufacturers of gases used in air-conditioning and refrigeration saw a lucrative business opportunity.
They quickly figured out that they could earn one carbon credit by eliminating one ton of carbon dioxide, but could earn more than 11,000 credits by simply destroying a ton of an obscure waste gas normally released in the manufacturing of a widely used coolant gas. That is because that byproduct has a huge global warming effect. The credits could be sold on international markets, earning tens of millions of dollars a year. [..]
What was intended to fix the problem of hydro-chlorofluorocarbons has now created its own major problem:
The United Nations and the European Union, through new rules and an outright ban, are trying to undo this unintended bonanza. But the lucrative incentive has become so entrenched that efforts to roll it back are proving tricky, even risky.
China and India, where most of the 19 factories are, have been resisting mightily. The manufacturers have grown accustomed to an income stream that in some years accounted for half their profits. The windfall has enhanced their power and influence. As a result, many environmental experts fear that if manufacturers are not paid to destroy the waste gas, they will simply resume releasing it into the atmosphere. [..]
Some Chinese producers have said that if the payments were to end, they would vent gas skyward. Such releases are illegal in most developed countries, but still permissible in China and India. [..]
Already, a small number of coolant factories in China that did not qualify for the United Nations carbon credits freely vent this dangerous chemical. And atmospheric levels are rapidly rising.
Wall St. also has their grubby paws in this, too. Goldman Sachs invested in carbon credits and a coolant factory in Monterrey, Mexico, that receives carbon credits is 49 percent owned by Honeywell. So these companies, especially in China and India, are holding the world hostage. Pay up or we kill the climate faster.
James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies joined Eliot Spitzer, host of “Viewpoint” to discuss how heat waves are a indicator of global warming.
“If we continue with business as usual this century, we will drive to extinction 20 to 50 percent of the species on the planet,” Hansen says. “We are pushing the system an order of magnitude faster than any natural changes of climate in the past.”
“We’re gonna have to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and that is not as difficult as you think. If we would just make fossil fuels pay for their true cost to society, we could begin to move to different energies and energy efficiency,” Hansen contends. “We should be collecting a fee from fossil fuel companies that gradually rises over time and 100 percent of that money should be distributed to the public, not one dime to the government. If we did that, the people who do better than average in limiting their fossil fuel use will actually get more in this dividend than they would pay in increased energy prices.”
Aug 11 2009
We live on a wonderfully complex planet.
Global Plankton Blooms
The World contains the systems and feedback cycles to bring things back into balance — given enough time. (like millenniums)
The great plankton blooms of the Oceans is one such cycle, that can potentially capture more carbon than all the forests of the world; while at the same time providing the basis of the food chain, in the world’s greatest food basket. Plankton, not eaten, are destined to become sediment rock, at the bottom of the sea (taking all that harmful CO2 with them).
Problem is, plankton blooms, have been fading, by as much as 30% due to rising Ocean temperatures. IPCC estimates that “80% of the heat that is being trapped by greenhouse gases is absorbed by the ocean.”
Humans have the know-how to “kick start” those Plankton Blooms back to their previous splendor —
Question is: Do we dare to use the Earth as a giant Test Tube?
Sep 12 2008
Yesterday, Sep. 10, 2008 a UK court acquitted six defendants from Greenpeace of all charges for their actions on Oct. 8, 2007, when they scaled a smokestack at the Kingsnorth coal-fired power station and attempted to shut it down. The defendants, accused of doing £30,000 in damage to the smokestack by painting “Gordon Bin It” on its side, did not deny the damage but relied instead for their defense on the principle of lawful excuse. (For more on “lawful excuse” see here.)
In essence they argued that the plant was doing damage to other property through its greenhouse gas emissions on such a scale as to justify their damaging it.
Jul 04 2008
Cross posted from THE ENVIRONMENTALIST
We’ve reached the tipping point:
On the eve the annual G8 Summit where NASA’s Dr. James Hansen will announce that we’ve passed safe C02 levels (safe being maximum 350 ppm; we’re now at 385 ppm), Hansen has penned a comprehensive letter (PDF) to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, host of the G8 Summit, requesting his leadership in addressing his findings.
From Dr. Hansen’s letter (Reprinted with his permission on THE ENVIRONMENTALIST)
Dear Prime Minister [Yasuo Fukuda],
Your leadership, and continued leadership by Japan, is needed on the matter of climate change, a matter with ramifications for life on our planet, including all species. Prospects for today’s children, and especially the world’s poor, hinge upon success in stabilizing climate. ~snip~
Japan has been a strong supporter of actions to mitigate dangerous climate change, including the Kyoto Protocol. It is not Japan’s fault that international action has failed so far to slow emission of dangerous gases. But as the host for the upcoming G8 meeting, you can initiate discussion of an approach that could meet the challenge humanity faces.
The past approach, and extensions now under discussion, are fatally flawed and would doom our children and grandchildren to an increasingly impoverished life on a more desolate planet. Clear thinking and bold leadership of the international community are essential in the next 1-2 years to change the course of human history.
More below the fold…
Oct 13 2007
(A rehash of a dKos diary from 8/27/2007 in honor of President Al Gore).
Science was the boring class you had to take in school where the teacher droned on and on about stuff you already knew, or didn’t care about. No, not really, although that is the only thing a lot of people know about science.
Let’s try a different definition. Science is the systematic gathering of data and the forming of theories to explain this data. This is a better definition, but kind of dry. Science is really all about model building. (No, not model cars). The models I’m talking about are mathematical, or systematic models (called theories).
Note : Don’t use Wikipedia for reference material, I’ve learned since I wrote this that information from Wikipedia is alway suspect because Anyone can edit it. It can be a useful tool when doing research, but realize that it is not a source you want to reference.
(I was brand new at the time)
More below the fold.
Oct 05 2007
Climate scientist James Hansen has issued a new draft report on climate change with a warning that we are “dangerously close” to tipping points.
The paper, entitled: Global Warming: East-West Connections, co-written with Mikiko Sato, is important for both its predictions and its validation of the current climate conditions vis-a-vis the climate through both history and from a global perspective.
Some analysis below the jump…