Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity

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Overview

In Storms of My Grandchildren, James Hansen—the nation's leading scientist on climate issues—speaks out for the first time with the full truth about global warming: the planet is hurtling even more rapidly than previously acknowledged to a climatic point of no return. Although Hansen was Al Gore's science adviser for the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, his recent data shows that our situation is even more dire today. But politicians haven't made the connection between the policy and the science. Hansen ...
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Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity

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Overview

In Storms of My Grandchildren, James Hansen—the nation's leading scientist on climate issues—speaks out for the first time with the full truth about global warming: the planet is hurtling even more rapidly than previously acknowledged to a climatic point of no return. Although Hansen was Al Gore's science adviser for the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, his recent data shows that our situation is even more dire today. But politicians haven't made the connection between the policy and the science. Hansen shows why Gore's solution—cap and trade—won't work, why we must phase out all coal, and why 350 ppm of carbon is a goal we must achieve in the next two decades if our children and grandchildren are to avoid global meltdown and the storms of the book's title. This urgent manifesto bucks conventional wisdom (including the Kyoto Protocol) and is sure to stir controversy, but Hansen—whose climate predictions have come to pass again and again, beginning in the 1980s when he first warned Congress about global warming—is the single most credible voice on the subject worldwide.

Hansen paints a devastating but all-too-realistic picture of what will happen in the near future, mere years and decades from now, if we follow the course we're on. But he is also an optimist, showing that there is still time to do what we need to save the planet. Urgent, strong action is needed, and this book, released just before the Copenhagen Conference in December 2009, will be key in setting the agenda going forward to create a groundswell, a tipping point, to save humanity from a dire fate more imminent than we had supposed.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, lays all the cards on the table in this thorough, detailed analysis of the history, science and politics of climate change, a Silent Spring-style warning cry that predicts "a rough ride" for our grandchildren. Using numerous charts and graphs alongside accessible explanations, Hansen presents copious climate data for a broad audience. After discussing the recent history of global warming science, from the Climate Task Force of 2000 to his up-to-the-minute carbon dioxide limit of 350ppm, Hansen provides recommendations for achieving greenhouse gas reduction, as well as strategies for reducing or eliminating fossil fuel use: "For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we cannot allow our government to continue to connive with the coal industry in subterfuges that allow dirty-coal use to continue." The most significant step, he says, would be creating a cost structure that escalates cost as carbon emissions increase. With of-the-moment discussion of topics such as climate vs. weather (addressing in particular the cool U.S. summer of 2009), cap-and-trade vs. fee-and-dividend, and climate change politics as well as activism, this is certain to be as controversial as it is informative. Hansen's message is stirring as well as urgent, and should be required reading for anyone involved in public policy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Reviews
In his debut, a leading climatologist lambasts world governments for their ineffectual response to the dangers of global warming. After sounding the climate alarm in papers and conferences for two decades, here Hansen takes off the gloves, faulting "the undue influence of special interests and government greenwash" for the failure to take the actions necessary to stabilize Earth's climate. Much of the book is a heady crash course in the science of global warming, and the author makes readily apparent the nuances of human-caused and other factors involved in climate change. Offered within the context of Hansen's work of the past eight years-including his widely reported clashes with the Bush administration-the science sections are followed by his own prescriptions for action. Unlike politicians, he writes, nature does not compromise. He dismisses key aspects of legislation now before Congress as well as the Kyoto approach to international climate treaty-making, arguing that setting goals for a gradual slowing down of emissions will not solve the problem. "Ladies and gentlemen, your governments are lying through their teeth," he writes. Coal use must be prohibited unless ways can be found to capture and dispose of carbon dioxide emissions. Relying on renewables and increasing energy efficiency will not do the trick either. Dismissing the cap-and-trade approaches now being considered by lawmakers, Hansen proposes a fee-and-dividend approach as the best way to phase out fossil fuels. He considers nuclear power a possible safe-energy alternative and calls for the United States to build a test fast-reactor nuclear power plant. Hansen blames the Obama Administration for listening to the adviceof Environmental Defense and other well-meaning environmental groups, which are satisfied with gradual legislative progress. As the author writes, we're simply out of time. With urgency and authority, Hansen urges readers to speak out-taking to the streets if necessary-to protect the Earth from calamity for the sake of their children and grandchildren.
From the Publisher
"Hansen gives us the opportunity to watch a scientist who is sick of silence and compromise; a scientist at the breaking point." —-Los Angeles Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608192007
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 12/8/2009
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 635,021
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

James E. Hanson is perhaps best known for bringing global warming to the world’s attention in the 1980s, when he first testified before Congress. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and at Columbia’s Earth Institute, and director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, he is frequently called to testify before Congress on climate issues. Dr. Hansen’s background in both space and earth sciences allows a broad perspective on the status and prospects of our home planet. This is his first book.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This video is the essential message from Climate Crisis Coalition's interview with Dr. James Hansen

    James Hansen is the world's most credible voice on the subject of climate change. His science is first rate, and his climate predictions have come true again and again. In 1988 he first warned Congress about global warming.

    Our country's failure to respond adequately in the following two decades has motivated him to also take up the role of communicator. He has done countless interviews, attended protests, and has come out with this book. His grandchildren can be proud of him.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    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.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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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

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2010

    Alarming and convincing

    James Hansen's scientific arguments for the necessity of global weaning off fossil fuels in general and coal in particular are convincing and highly readable for laymen. He shows that those who confuse weather with climate and seize upon a cool summer as evidence that the entire body of evidence of global warming is fabricated are deniers of a holocaust that will inevitably occur if continued use of those fuels pushes our planet past the tipping point. If you decide to order a copy, I suggest that you order two and send one to President Obama, whose decisive leadership, Hansen persuasively argues, is essential to save the planet for our grandchildren.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2010

    Excellent!

    An up-to-date and important book for all human beings. I highly recommend this without reservation.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    Required Reading

    A compelling relevant book that should be required reading for all young people.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2012

    Stunningly amazing science

    James Hansen is primarily a research scientist. His breadth of knowledge on climate change may be greater than anyone, and he has thought about it deeply and fought for it at the highest levels of government for years. The studies he recounts of Earth's climate since the dawn of life are completely fascinating.

    His perspective on the inability of governments to grapple with the science is refreshing. He is not a political journalist, he is a scientist. He has approached governments rationally for decades and been rebuffed. Unfortunately for him and the planet, the science of climate change is complicated and the short term reward for doing nothing is high for some. The biggest obstacle he has faced is that inability or unwillingness of decision makers to simply understand the problem. But the penalty for getting climate change wrong and doing nothing is high. Mr. Hansen understands this, and though he has seen little progress in dealing with the problem, this book is a continuance of his decades long effort to simply get people to understand the science.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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