Assessing "Dangerous Climate Change": Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature


This paper, by an international team of scientists, points out the clear and present danger that today's children may be handed a deteriorating climate with consequences out of their control. 

Dr. James Hansen
by James Hansen, Pushker Kharecha, Makiko Sato, Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Frank Ackerman, David J. Beerling, Paul J. Hearty, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Shi-Ling Hsu, Camille Parmesan, Johan Rockstrom, Eelco J. Rohling, Jeffrey Sachs, Pete Smith, Konrad Steffen, Lise Van Susteren, Karina von Schuckmann, James C. Zachos

We conclude that the widely accepted target of limiting human-made global climate warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the preindustrial level is too high and would subject young people, future generations and nature to irreparable harm. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel use must be reduced rapidly to avoid irreversible consequences such as sea level rise large enough to inundate most coastal cities and extermination of many of today's species. Unabated global warming would also worsen climate extremes. In association with summer high pressure systems, warming causes stronger summer heat waves, more intense droughts, and wildfires that burn hotter. Yet because warming causes the atmosphere to hold more water vapor, which is the fuel that drives thunderstorms, tornadoes and tropical storms, it also leads to the possibility of stronger storms as well as heavier rainfall and floods. Observational data reveal that some climate extremes are already increasing in response to warming of several tenths of a degree in recent decades; these extremes would likely be much enhanced with warming of 2°C or more.

We use evidence from Earth's climate history and measurements of Earth's present energy imbalance as our principal tools for inferring climate sensitivity and the safe level of global warming. The inferred warming limit leads to a limit on cumulative fossil fuel emissions.

It is assessed that humanity must aim to keep global temperature close to the range occurring in the past 10,000 years, the Holocene epoch, a time of relatively stable climate and stable sea level during which civilization developed.

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Bella Gaia


A unforgettable video by director and composer, Kenji Williams, compiling views from NASA and other sources of the Bella Gaia, the beautiful Earth.

The video was supported by NASA, the Baum Foundation, the Foundation for Global Community, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and is a production of Remedy Arts, LLC.

Please share this wonderful and unique view of the Earth and its environment.


Doubling Down on Our Faustian Bargain


by James Hansen, Pushker Kharecha, Makiko Sato

Faust in his Study by Rembrandt
Humanity is doubling down on its Faustian climate bargain by pumping up fossil fuel particulate and nitrogen pollution. The more the Faustian debt grows, the more unmanageable the eventual consequences will be. Yet there are plans to build more than 1000 coal fired power plants and plans to develop some of the dirtiest oil sources on the planet. These plans should be vigorously resisted. We are already in a deep hole -- it is time to stop digging.

Humanity's Faustian climate bargain is well known. Humans have been pumping both greenhouse gases (mainly CO2) and aerosols (fine particles) into the atmosphere for more than a century. The CO2 accumulates steadily, staying in the climate system for millennia, with a continuously increasing warming effect. Aerosols have a cooling effect (by reducing solar heating of the ground) that depends on the rate that we pump aerosols into the air, because they fall out after about five days.

Aerosol cooling probably reduced global warming by about half over the past century, but the amount is uncertain because global aerosols and their effect on clouds are not measured accurately. Aerosols increased rapidly after World War II as fossil fuel use increased ~5%/year with little pollution control (Fig. 1). Aerosol growth slowed in the 1970s with pollution controls in the U.S. and Europe, but accelerated again after ~2000.

The rapid growth of fossil fuel CO2 emissions in the past decade is mainly from increased coal use (Fig. 1), mostly in China with little control of aerosol emissions. It is thus likely that there has been
an increase in the negative (cooling) climate forcing by aerosolsin the past decade, as suggested by regional aerosols measurements in the Far East, but until proper global aerosol monitoring is initiated, as discussed below, the aerosol portion of the amplified Faustian bargain remains largely unquantified.


The American Party


James Hansen

My remarks when receiving the Ridenhour Courage Award were written in Union Station on my way to the event. But my concluding comment -- that we are near a point when the American people should contemplate a centrist third party -- was not an idle spur-of-the-moment reflection.

I was in government 40 years, long enough to understand how aging organizations can evolve into self-licking ice cream cones, organizations whose main purpose becomes self-perpetuation rather than accomplishment of their supposed objectives. The public can see this tendency in our politicians, our Congress, and our major political parties.

Our government has failed to address climate, energy, and economic challenges. These challenges, addressed together, actually can be a great opportunity. Our democracy and economic system still have great potential for innovation and rapid adoption of improved technologies, if the government provides the right conditions and gets out of the way.


Awakening the Sleeping Giant of Climate Skepticism


by Joanna Benn 

This Friday, the widely anticipated and long-awaited state of the Earth and its climate will be released by the UN’s climate assessment body, the IPCC

In a pre-emptive strike, the right wing media last week launched a full front attack to discredit the climate science using leaked drafts. In the past week, we've seen a host of vitriolic ‘they got it all wrong’ stories ranging from the Mail on Sunday to Rupert Murdoch's The Australian and the Wall Street Journal.

For most of us, being non-climate scientists, it is confusing to make sense of the facts and counter- arguments. If one takes out opinion and ideology and leaves it to the scientists, which seems a good strategy to me– the next stage for climate skeptics is to discredit them.