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Posted August 26, 2010
James Hansen book is an important contribution to the literature on global warming.
Dr. James Hansen's book, "Storms of my Grandchildren - the truth about the coming climate catastrophe and our last chance to save humanity," is a must read for anyone concerned about the future of this country and the planet.
Like Dr. Hansen I too have grandchildren and want to see them have a viable future on this planet.
The truths about global warming that Dr. Hansen details with meticulous research and scientific knowledge are sobering, but he points out we still have time to make a difference.
Dr, Hansen advises us to not waste our current opportunity to forestall run-away climate change, but we are running out of time.
His book is a well-researched contribution to the most important challenge humankind will face in this century.
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Posted March 31, 2012
What will grab the public's attention away from the nonsense app
What will grab the public's attention away from the nonsense appeal of the denier-entertainers and towards a willingness to accept, on the basis of a very complex set of arguments that they likely do not fully understand, fundamental changes in their lifestyle? The strategy that Hansen and others have latched onto is to incorporate the philosophical underpinnings of sustainability as it emerged during the 1990s - namely, intergenerational responsibility - and apply them as the foundation for accepting the predictions of the climate change community out of a sense of obligation to future generations. You may not care too much if the occasional wave wets your beach towel, but you may not be willing to compel your grandchildren to watch their grandma and grandpa's shore house wash out to sea.
I doubt that Hansen would have trouble with being termed an "alarmist". The clear intention of his only book to date, Storms of My Grandchildren, is to raise a clarion call that the Earth's atmospheric GHGs must be returned to a level below an equivalent of 350 ppm CO2. Such a goal demands more than just halting the growth in the consumption of fossil fuels - it implies a radical re-evaluation of way humans use fossil fuels. Hansen takes particular aim at coal, the undisputed ringleader among the fossil fuel gang, repeatedly insisting throughout the book that the use of coal (absent any viable CO2 sequestration technology) must cease yesterday.
Unfortunately, Hansen returns a bit too often to the 350 ppm/stop coal theme for which he reserves all his vitriol. That over-emphasis results in an inadequate treatment, for example, of the development of the anti-climate-change energy lobby. As he recounts in the book, Hansen was in a unique position to shed light on climate-change decision making at the highest political level; instead he provides only a few tidbits.
While Storms of My Grandchildren is not a scientific monograph, Hansen could have made a greater effort referencing, absent throughout the text, and in providing a more in-depth bibliography not so heavily weighted toward his own publications. For example, in one sentence he dismisses estimates of atmospheric paleo-CO2 levels (which are, in fact, robust back through to the early Mesozoic) without any justification whatever. At another point in the text his discussion of the climate sensitivity and the PETM leaves out some key points. Given that these two technical issues are central to his 350 ppm argument, he should have edited these discussions more carefully.
Storms of My Grandchildren provides some of the most lucid explanations of technical aspects of global climate change in the, now, voluminous literature. However, there is a disturbing pattern within Hansen's book, that the closer the discussion gets to his area of expertise, the less clear he gets. You can almost feel his brain whirling on overdrive, leaving important pieces of rubber on the road, during some of the more difficult passages. His best writing tends to be in those areas where he is not necessarily the world's leading expert - for example, in his rejection of cap-and-trade and a carbon tax.
Storms of My Grandchildren is the ultimate insider's view of climate change science (and politics) and is a must read for anyone concerned about what is the most important issue in human history.
Richard R. Pardi Environmental Science William Paterson University
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Posted December 29, 2009
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Posted September 25, 2010
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