Game Over for the Climate

lajikal

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#1
It's a long read, but basically were fucked if we continue to take oil jizz all over our faces.

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
By JAMES HANSEN
Published: May 9, 2012

GLOBAL warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves “regardless of what we do.”

If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.

Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.

That is the long-term outlook. But near-term, things will be bad enough. Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.

If this sounds apocalyptic, it is. This is why we need to reduce emissions dramatically. President Obama has the power not only to deny tar sands oil additional access to Gulf Coast refining, which Canada desires in part for export markets, but also to encourage economic incentives to leave tar sands and other dirty fuels in the ground.

The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather, as I predicted would happen by now in the journal Science in 1981. Extremely hot summers have increased noticeably. We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events — they were caused by human-induced climate change.

We have known since the 1800s that carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere. The right amount keeps the climate conducive to human life. But add too much, as we are doing now, and temperatures will inevitably rise too high. This is not the result of natural variability, as some argue. The earth is currently in the part of its long-term orbit cycle where temperatures would normally be cooling. But they are rising — and it’s because we are forcing them higher with fossil fuel emissions.

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 280 parts per million to 393 p.p.m. over the last 150 years. The tar sands contain enough carbon — 240 gigatons — to add 120 p.p.m. Tar shale, a close cousin of tar sands found mainly in the United States, contains at least an additional 300 gigatons of carbon. If we turn to these dirtiest of fuels, instead of finding ways to phase out our addiction to fossil fuels, there is no hope of keeping carbon concentrations below 500 p.p.m. — a level that would, as earth’s history shows, leave our children a climate system that is out of their control.

We need to start reducing emissions significantly, not create new ways to increase them. We should impose a gradually rising carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, then distribute 100 percent of the collections to all Americans on a per-capita basis every month. The government would not get a penny. This market-based approach would stimulate innovation, jobs and economic growth, avoid enlarging government or having it pick winners or losers. Most Americans, except the heaviest energy users, would get more back than they paid in increased prices. Not only that, the reduction in oil use resulting from the carbon price would be nearly six times as great as the oil supply from the proposed pipeline from Canada, rendering the pipeline superfluous, according to economic models driven by a slowly rising carbon price.

But instead of placing a rising fee on carbon emissions to make fossil fuels pay their true costs, leveling the energy playing field, the world’s governments are forcing the public to subsidize fossil fuels with hundreds of billions of dollars per year. This encourages a frantic stampede to extract every fossil fuel through mountaintop removal, longwall mining, hydraulic fracturing, tar sands and tar shale extraction, and deep ocean and Arctic drilling.

President Obama speaks of a “planet in peril,” but he does not provide the leadership needed to change the world’s course. Our leaders must speak candidly to the public — which yearns for open, honest discussion — explaining that our continued technological leadership and economic well-being demand a reasoned change of our energy course. History has shown that the American public can rise to the challenge, but leadership is essential.

The science of the situation is clear — it’s time for the politics to follow. This is a plan that can unify conservatives and liberals, environmentalists and business. Every major national science academy in the world has reported that global warming is real, caused mostly by humans, and requires urgent action. The cost of acting goes far higher the longer we wait — we can’t wait any longer to avoid the worst and be judged immoral by coming generations.

James Hansen directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is the author of “Storms of My Grandchildren.”
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on May 10, 2012, on page A29 of the New York edition with the headline: Game Over for the Climate.
 

Norm Stansfield

私は亀が好きだ。
Mar 17, 2009
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#2
If you're gonna start another thread on global warming, how's about instead of just parroting the same nonsense over and over again, you look up some of the old threads, and address the overwhelming evidence that this guy is a con artist.
 

lajikal

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#3
If you're gonna start another thread on global warming, how's about instead of just parroting the same nonsense over and over again, you look up some of the old threads, and address the overwhelming evidence that this guy is a con artist.
Looks like someone is being negatively impacted by the climate this mornin'.
 

Plunkies

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Jun 28, 2006
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#4
Hansen is well known as being an Al Gore level of catastrophic global warming lunatic. According to this asshole's prediction NYC is supposed to be half way underwater by now. A month or so ago there was a letter from 50 NASA scientists and astronauts about these morons at GISS making them all look bad with their global warming hysteria.

GLOBAL warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening.
Except over the last decade. But other than that it's TOTALLY happening.
 

Creasy Bear

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#5
We should impose a gradually rising carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, then distribute 100 percent of the collections to all Americans on a per-capita basis every month.
And those Americans would then hand that fee(plus a small bureaucracy surcharge) right back to the fossil fuel companies when they raise their rates to cover the cost of the carbon fee.

Another head-in-the-clouds greenie weenie who thinks there's a magical, bottomless cookie jar you can just pull money out of.
 

gleet

What's black and white and red all over?
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#6
Hansen officially adopted Master Po's plan to evacuate a flooding NYC. What a cunt.

I wish NASA got a wipe and they hired men who want to explore space. Yes, men. That would cut out the enviroweenies and also the cross country diaper wearing sex crazed astronettes who muck up the program, too.
 

Begbie

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#7
I dunno how you guys can keep blowing global warming off and not taking it seriously. Just last month, Al Gore told us that 98% of the WORLD'S scientists believe that global warming is very real and that silly, misinformed talk radio hosts are really the only ones being ignorant by denying it. 98% of ALL the scientists in the WORLD!!!! And Al Gore wouldn't lie about this, after all he won a Nobel Peace Prize like our brave, brilliant President. :icon_cool
 

Hudson

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#8
I wonder if everybody with sunlight at the same time, went out and flied as large a kite as possible as high as they could... how much the earth would cool.
 

fulldevilsoccer

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#10
I don't believe in global warming but we are all good liberals. Let's get rid of our oil dependency.
 

Begbie

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#12
I wonder if everybody with sunlight at the same time, went out and flied as large a kite as possible as high as they could... how much the earth would cool.
I was thinking more along the lines of that parachute game you'd play in elementary school gym class. You get a bunch of reeeeeallly big ones...one for each continent. And you hire a bunch of people to hold the ends of it and they lift up and drop their edge really fast...which makes a "dome-shape" over every continent. When the dome falls a bit, they'll just repeat it over and over, so we're constantly shielded from the dangerous UV rays.

If that all sounds a bit of an impossibility...I think we can just make 2 really big ones for each of the poles and just do it for the poles...which will keep the dangerous UV rays from melting the glaciers.
 

KRSOne

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#15
Top climate scientists like James Lovelock have said they were wrong and he was being a alarmist. Climate change happens, species go extinct, galaxies collide, rocks hit planets, earthquakes happen, tornadoes happen...... and the existence of humans has nothing to do with it.
 

JonBenetRamsey

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#16
Top climate scientists like James Lovelock have said they were wrong and he was being a alarmist. Climate change happens, species go extinct, galaxies collide, rocks hit planets, earthquakes happen, tornadoes happen...... and the existence of humans has nothing to do with it.
holy shit! did kirk just say one thing that makes sense?
 

Creasy Bear

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#18
Top climate scientists like James Lovelock have said they were wrong and he was being a alarmist. Climate change happens, species go extinct, galaxies collide, rocks hit planets, earthquakes happen, tornadoes happen...... and the existence of humans has nothing to do with it.
Chemtrails gonna chem.
 

Owenay

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#21
Oil isn't the problem, it's the oil companies MAAAAAAAAAN!!!