James Hansen: Fossil fuel addiction could trigger runaway global warming


by Nafeez Ahmed

Without full decarbonisation by 2030, our global emissions pathway guarantees new era of catastrophic climate change 

Nasa image of planet Earth

Nasa image of planet Earth. Photograph: Ho/Reuters

The world is currently on course to exploit all its remaining fossil fuel resources, a prospect that would produce a “different, practically uninhabitable planet” by triggering a “low-end runaway greenhouse effect.” This is the conclusion of a new scientific paper by Prof James Hansen, the former head of NASA‘s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the world’s best known climate scientist.

The paper due to be published later this month by Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A (Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A) focuses less on modelling than on empirical data about correlations between temperature, sea level and CO2 going back up to 66 million years.

Given that efforts to exploit available fossil fuels continue to accelerate, the paper’s principal finding – that “conceivable levels of human-made climate forcing could yield the low-end runaway greenhouse effect” based on inducing “out-of-control amplifying feedbacks such as ice sheet disintegration and melting of methane hydrates” – is deeply worrying.

To read more, and find where Hansen offers us HOPE, go to the Guardian’s website at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/jul/10/james-hansen-fossil-fuels-runaway-global-warming?INTCMP=SRCH

Posted July 21, 2013 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

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