Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
James Hansen climate change 1

Climate Change

James Hansen Issues New Young People’s Burden Report On Climate Change (Video)

James Hansen has published a new report in which he claims it is already too late to simply reduce carbon emissions. The nations of the world must now consider active measures to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, a process he says will place an enormous financial burden on young people and generations to come.

James Hansen is the former NASA scientist who has been trying for years to make the citizens of the world aware of the imminent danger posed by climate change and global warming. Along with Michael Mann and Bill McKibben, he is one of the leaders of the climate change movement who has been assigned “watchers” by climate denial groups to harass, intimidate, and deter him from his self appointed task of being the canary in the coal mine.

Hansen is intimately involved with Our Children’s Trust, the group sponsoring a lawsuit in federal court that seeks to hold the federal government responsible for the effects of climate change. The suit puts forward the novel theory that young people are guaranteed a non-toxic environment that is fit for human habitation as part of all that “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” stuff the Founding Fathers baked into the US Constitution.

Every fossil fuel interest in America has joined forces to oppose that legal action, but it has survived the toughest challenges the highest paid lawyers in the world could muster against it and is now scheduled to proceed to trial early in 2018. The suit is predicated on meeting the intent of the 2015 Paris climate agreement and keep global average temperatures at or below 1.5º Celsius.

In a new paper published in July of this year, Hansen says that because of continued inaction since the Paris agreement was reached, limiting carbon emissions will no longer be enough. Now, he says, active measures to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will be required. Those measures will be staggeringly expensive, placing an impossible burden on the shoulders of young people and human beings as yet unborn to clean up the mess their forebears created — knowingly and willingly, according to Hansen.

Hansen’s latest paper on the subject has been published by the journal Earth System Dynamics. In it, he makes three main points:

Global warming in the past 50 years has raised global temperature (Fig. 1) well above the prior range in the Holocene (the current interglacial period, approximately the past 11,700 years) to the level of the Eemian period (130,000 to 115,000 years ago), when sea level was 6-9 meters (20-30 feet) higher than today.

James Hansen climate change 1

Fig. 1. Centennially smoothed Holocene temperature (Marcott et al., 2013) and ll-year running mean of modern temperature (Fig. 2 in our paper) as anomalies relative to 1880-1920.

Global warming can be held below 1.5°C (the aspirational goal of the Paris Agreement) if rapid reductions of global CO2 emission (at least 3%/year) begin by 2021 and if there is no net growth of other climate forcings (Fig. 2). However, 1.5°C global warming exceeds estimated Eemian temperature and is not an appropriate goal.

Fig. 2. Observed global temperature and simulated temperature for four alternative fossil fuel emission growth rates. Temperature zero-point is the 1880-1920 mean temperature. Gray area is the 2σ (95% confidence) range for centennially smoothed Holocene maximum.

The growth rate of greenhouse gas climate forcing has accelerated markedly in the past several years (Fig. 3), a conclusion starkly at odds with the common narrative that the world has recently turned the corner toward a solution of the global warming problem.

Hansen concludes,

“An appropriate goal is to return global temperature to the Holocene range within a century. Such a goal was still achievable in 2013 if rapid emission reductions had begun at that time and if there were a global program for reforestation and improved agricultural and forestry practices. Now climate restoration this century would also require substantial technological extraction of CO2 from the air. If rapid emission reductions do not begin soon, the burden placed on young people to extract CO2 emitted by prior generations may become implausibly difficult and costly.”

Watch as he and his granddaughter, who is one of the young plaintiffs in the federal case, Juliana Vs. US., make their case on the accompanying video.

 
 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica member, supporter, or ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

New Podcast: How NVIDIA Is Bringing Autonomy To Automakers

Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

EV Press Releases

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Cleantech News

Grimes has dropped her new WarNymph collection in collaboration with Nifty Gateway, which is a marketplace for buying and selling Nifties — “digital items...

Climate Change

The winter storm has affected most of the U.S. South, and Texas has been in the spotlight thanks to its disastrous leadership — blaming...

Cleantech News

Johnson Controls, a company that produces fire, HVAC, and security equipment for buildings, announced today that it joined The Climate Pledge, which is a...

Climate Change

Every year, Future Earth, the Earth League, and the World Climate Research Programme collaborate on a report that summarizes the most important developments in...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.