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Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity Hardcover – December 8, 2009
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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.
*Starred Review* Climatologist Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and an internationally renowned global-warming expert, became even more famous when he was censored by the Bush administration. After decades of studying the role fossil fuels play in global warming and witnessing the federal government’s failure to take action to lower carbon emissions, he felt compelled to write his first book out of concern about the potentially catastrophic future facing his grandchildren. Hansen condemns governmental “greenwashing” and the undue influence of more than 2,300 energy lobbyists, and attempts to close the gap “between public perception and scientific reality” by lucidly explaining the dynamics of global warming, its acceleration, and how a slight rise in temperature can lead to disastrous consequences. He then boldly declares that the way to solve the climate crisis is to “rapidly phase out coal emissions.” How will we meet our energy needs without coal? Hansen tells the “secret story” of the jettisoned “fast” nuclear reactor, a safer and more efficient reactor than those currently in use, and advocates for its resurrection. Rich in invaluable insights into the geopolitics as well as the geophysics of climate change, Hansen’s guaranteed-to-be-controversial manifesto is the most comprehensible, realistic, and courageous call to prevent climate change yet. It belongs in every library. --Donna Seaman
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That carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas is an undisputed fact that has been known for centuries and using mathematics and basic physics formulas you can get a good idea of how much a certain increase of carbon dioxide will affect average global temperatures if you ignore secondary effects. The basic physics behind human caused global warming is compelling by itself. However, the temperature record that has been collected, weather balloon and satellite data, the Keeling curve, other data, and Paleoclimate research, etc, provides us with overwhelming evidence that global warming is happening and that it certainly is us. The data also gives us some idea of where we are heading. He makes it clear that the so called climate models are not good evidence for anthropomorphic global warming. They are used for projections. They are getting better but they still have a long way to go. In any case, compelling evidence is still something we have plenty of.
One of the topics discussed in the book are past climate and climate cycles, for example, the ice ages. In the case of ice ages perturbations in the earth’s orbit caused climate forcings, which in turn affected the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This in turn strengthened the effect of the original forcing (positive feedback). Studying various past climate events like this James Hansen was able to conclude that a doubling of CO2 would lead to a warming of the Earth of about 3.0 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit), which is bad news. Whatever has happened in the past, human-made climate forcings are now in total dominance over natural forcings, and the climate is now changing extremely fast. It is changing more than ten times as fast as the sudden Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) event 55 million years ago, and PETM led to the extinction of perhaps half of all species on earth.
I tend to be the most interested in the science aspect of things. However, explaining the science was just one part of the book. This book also discusses the political history of climate change, meetings with political leaders, the propaganda, Richard Lindzen and his climate change skepticism and “tobacco is safe” advocacy, environmentalist organizations, and solutions. In that regard James Hansen shows himself as the political independent he really is. He criticizes Republicans for inaction or resistance to action and Democrats for advocating the wrong solutions. He expresses support for Nuclear Power as an alternative to fossil fuels and he criticizes some environmental organizations for making good solutions to anthropomorphic global warming harder to achieve. The solution he expresses support for is a revenue neutral carbon tax.
In summary I really liked this book. It concisely and effectively presented a lot of useful information on many topics and advocated a sensible solution. James Hansen is extremely knowledgeable and a clear headed thinker, he is modest and careful with his statements, and he is very much grounded in reality. After reading this book I want him for President. I highly recommend this book.
We have killed millions to bring about a consumerist society that supports corporations and leaders that wait out the need to act out of money or to bring about an end result. So I guess people are here then to watch the world die . Anything we come up with, will not be compare to the mystique and wonder that was seen by Thoreau,Emerson, and Muir. It will be gone out of stupidity and elected leaders that abuse power, serving or believing in whatever creation that they created that is so much more important than the planet. If humans had as much focus on the planet as being politically correct or going to work, I'm sure this issue would have been resolved ages ago. It's a self-mutilation while others watch or don't care because there is texting, watching television, and jobs to go to. Meanwhile, it will happen in their life time. The window is closing. They will want an answer. Come up with a good one if we are still alive and the planet isn't Venus.
Thanks for your effort James
I also learned about CCL (Citizens Climate Lobby) through Dr. Hansen. CCL supports a carbon "fee and dividend" where those who emit carbon pay a fee and that fee is given directly to every U.S. citizen in the form of a monthly dividend. Conservatives are warming up to the idea since the fees don't go to the government.
Dr. Hansen is a true hero.
Hansen has been correct in his predictions for 30 years, while everyone else said he was on the fringe and too radical.
If a stock broker could be as accurate as James, everyone would be his client.
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