[p2p-research] Climate Doomsayer: An interview with James Hansen

Ryan rlanham1963 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 26 22:37:38 CET 2009

  Sent to you by Ryan via Google Reader: An interview with James Hansen
via The Great Beyond - Blog Posts by dcressey on 11/26/09

In an exclusive interview published today on Nature Reports Climate
Change, climate scientist James Hansen talks about his forthcoming
book, Storms of My Grandchildren. You can read the full interview here
[free access].

Arguably the world’s most famous climate scientist, and Director of
NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York, Hansen’s
conviction that a climate catastrophe is looming has led him, in recent
years, to increasingly take on the role of advocate, sending numerous
pleading letters to world leaders and CEOs, and attending
well-publicized protests against coal plants.

It’s also prompted him, at the age of 68, to write his first book,
which looks at the dangerous climatic events that will greet the next
generation if the fossil fuel use continues unabated.

Due out in December, Storms of My Grandchildren is the silver lining of
Hansen’s recent fight with prostate cancer, which afforded him a
six-week recuperative period during which he finished his book. In an
interview with Keith Kloor, Hansen discusses the climate problem and
potential solutions, his personal carbon footprint and his frustration
with political ‘greenwashing’.

"I am sorry to say", he writes in his book, "that most of what
politicians are doing on the climate front is greenwashing — their
proposals sound good, but they are deceiving you and themselves at the
same time."

Hansen tells Kloor that former US Vice President Al Gore is among those
deceiving themselves that we are on track to solving the climate
problem. "I saw him on Larry King last night," says Hansen, "and what
really worries me is that he sounds optimistic that we're now on a
track to solve this problem." He lets out an incredulous
chuckle. "We're not, however, on a track, and that's clear."

The self-deception extends to advocates of cap-and-trade legislation
currently under review by the US Senate, he says. Hansen opposes the
bill, in large part because of the offsets system that would allow
polluters to continue spewing emissions, but also because political
horse-trading has brought in provisions that will enable aging coal
plants to stay in operation. “There’s a huge gap between their public
position and the realities of their policies. That’s the situation we
have now in Congress,” says Hansen.

This item is cross posted from Nature’s Climate Feedback blog. Image by
Arnold Adler.

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