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Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity Hardcover – Bargain Price, December 8, 2009
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From 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.
*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.
Hansen makes a compelling case regarding the science of climate change. Humanity ignores him and other climatologists at its own peril. Hansen is quite aware that he and his generation might be able to live out their balance without experiencing the full effects of climate change, but such is not the case for his grandchildren. The catastrophe is already upon us with scorching heat, expansive desertification, fires, mudslides, drought, extreme hurricanes and rain events fueled by warming oceans, and famine. The worst is yet to come as oceans rise causing millions across the globe to flee the coastlines in what will likely be the greatest human migrations in history. Civilization, a fragile thing, will perish.
The American electorate is still skeptical, mainly due to censorship and faulty news reporting. Either they are just totally uniformed or they don't care, probably a combination of both. The issue was not even raised by the corporate media in any of the 2016 Presidential debates and virtually the entire campaign season. Now the American voters have elected Trump, a global warming denier who is systematically deconstructing and repealing all the environmental protections and regulations put in effect during the ecology movement of the 1970s. This will accelerate the process and has virtually ended all possibility of averting catastrophe. Perhaps some of those public officials charged with the moral responsibility to save the planet will live long enough to one day face an international tribunal court for crimes against the planet. James Hansen and other climate scientists have given the warning. This book is recommended for understanding the science and issues surrounding global warming. Assuming there is any time left to ameliorate the worst possible scenario, the American public desperately needs to read this book or others like it because they aren't getting the information they need from conventional media.
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