14 September 2006

Climate Change: Hansen says we have 10 years...

Sobering news from Reuters/Planet Ark: "NASA scientist James Hansen, widely considered the doyen of American climate researchers, said governments must adopt an alternative scenario to keep carbon dioxide emission growth in check and limit the increase in global temperatures to 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit)."

"I think we have a very brief window of opportunity to deal with climate change ... no longer than a decade, at the most," Hansen said at the Climate Change Research Conference in California's state capital.

If the world continues with a "business as usual" scenario, Hansen said temperatures will rise by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 7.2 degrees F) and "we will be producing a different planet."

On that warmer planet, ice sheets would melt quickly, causing a rise in sea levels that would put most of Manhattan under water. The world would see more prolonged droughts and heat waves, powerful hurricanes in new areas and the likely extinction of 50 percent of species.

Read the complete story by Mary Milliken: Hansen

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Anonymous said...

When I first heard this news, I thought, wow, Boston winters won't be as bad as usual. But I realize this is urgent. I am going to a viewing and discussion of An Inconvenient Truth in my neighborhood this week. I live in an area populated with activists. I hope we start, in some small way, to address this.

The Green Skeptic said...

Thanks, Rhea. Yes, there may be some net benefits -- at least at first -- to some regions from the effects of global warming. Russia, for instance, could find it has more areas for growing crops and a longer growing season. But the real dilemma is how NOT to precipitate a real climate shift or dramatic climate change. That would be a whole 'nother ball game.

Anonymous said...

George Monbiot's new book, Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning also posits a short time window before we reach the point of no return, and offers many ideas for changing how we in the wealthy nations live: rationing energy, tighter houses, and fewer 'love miles' i.e. flying to visit friends and family, among them. Some are even relatively painless. First, of course, we have to stand up to what Monbiot calls "The Denial Industry."