I’m sad to see that climate scientist James E. Hansen, after a 46-year career at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, will retire to pursue his activism on climate change. I can only image that the federal government is happy to see Hansen go; I always imagined his extremely visible presence as something of a much-needed thorn in the side. (more…)
Climatologist James Hansen released a report today that suggests that the probability that this summer’s extreme weather events are caused by anything other than human-caused climate change is extremely low. It comes on the heels of Bill McKibben’s recent article pointing out that mean global temperature have exceeded the 20th Century average for 327 (more…)
Amid a growing call for reducing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 to 350 parts per million, a group of economists maintains that striving to meet that target is a smart investment — and the best insurance policy humanity could buy.
The climate change news from Washington is cautiously encouraging. No one in power is listening to the climate skeptics any more; the economic stimulus package included real money for clean energy; a bill capping U.S. carbon emissions emerged, battered but still standing, from the House of Representatives, and might even survive the Senate. This, along with stricter emission standards in Europe and a big push for clean energy and efficiency standards in China, provides grounds for hope for genuine progress on emissions reduction.
But while climate policy is finally moving forward, climate science is moving faster. One discovery after another suggests the world is warming faster, and climate damages are appearing sooner, than anyone had expected. Much of the policy discussion so far has been aimed at keeping the atmospheric concentration of CO2 below 450 parts per million (ppm) — which was until recently thought to be low enough to prevent dangerous levels of warming. But last year, James Hansen, NASA’s top climate scientist, argued that paleoclimatic evidence shows 450 ppm is the threshold for transition to an ice-free earth. This would imply a catastrophic rise in sea levels, eventually flooding all coastal cities and regions.
NASA climate scientist James Hansen and 30 other demonstrators were arrested in West Virginia while protesting the practice of mountaintop-removal coal mining, which Hansen says President Obama must ban as the U.S. weans itself off fossil fuels. Hansen; actress Darryl Hannah; Michael Brune, executive director of the Rainforest Action Network; and Ken Hechler, a 94-year-old former congressman, were among those arrested as they blocked traffic on a highway in front of a Massey Energy coal plant in Sundial, West Virginia.
Update: James Hansen just got arrested while protesting against coal mining – read latest news here
The New Yorker has a lengthy profile of NASA climatologist James Hansen in this week’s issue, in which he pulls no punches on Waxman-Markey, taking the leading national environmental advocacy groups to task for supporting the legislation (even as amended), and calls the whole process “stupidity.”
As readers of CleanTechies know, I have been dismissive of Waxman-Markey in recent weeks, a piece of well-intentioned legislation that has been so watered down by compromise and competing political pressure as to be rendered meaningless as anything other than a symbol of our intention as a nation to someday act on climate change, grid conversion, and carbon control.
After getting an email from Repower America a couple nights ago, inviting me to join a conference call with Al Gore to help push the bill through, I began to feel a little like a lone voice in the wilderness on this. But, I can’t ask for much better company than Hansen. (more…)