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Absolute Must Read

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"Absolute Must Read"

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James HansenAny speech by NASA’s James Hansen deserves attention. His remarks “On Acceptance of WWF Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Medal” are no exception.

Two features are especially noteworthy. First, Hansen includes his slides, so you can understand what he’s saying very clearly. Second, he speaks with increasing poignancy about what we are doing to this planet:

It is an uncomfortable inconvenient scientific truth: we cannot pour into the atmosphere all of the fossil fuels that were buried in the ground over millions of years without creating a different planet, without destroying creation, without being miserable failures in our stewardship of the planet we were blessed with.

When a fossil fuel company refuses to become an energy company and bamboozles the public with advertisements such as “you call CO2 pollution, we call it life”, it is time to stop patronizing that company. When a politician accepts money from fossil fuel interests and then describes global warming as “a great hoax”, it is time to draw attention to that and help vote him out. When our government stands on the side of polluters in court and connives with industries to continue pollution, characterizing it as a “clear skies” policy, it is time to help draw attention to the truth. In this era of the internet and instant global communication, young people may be capable of finding ways to galvanize stewardship for our planet that has so far been lacking.

Finally, I emphasize that the changes needed do not require hardship or reduction in the quality of life. Quite the contrary. They will result in a cleaner environment, healthier air and cleaner water, good-paying jobs in high-tech industries in our own countries, certainly better than mining coal, although coal may continue as one source of energy. The only losers will be those special interests who do not adapt, who prefer to spread misinformation and buy off politicians, to the detriment of life on Earth. We must be on the lookout for them and point them out for what they are.

Of course, although I am a government employee, these are just my opinions as a private citizen. They do not represent government policy. Thank you.

These are far more than “just my opinions as a private citizen.” They are the urgent and reasoned words of the country’s leading climate scientist. We ignore them at our peril.

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15 Responses to Absolute Must Read

  1. [...] into the atmosphere all of the fossil fuels that were buried in the ground over millions of years without creating a different planet, without destroying creation, without being miserable failures in our stewardship of the planet we were blessed with.” [...]

  2. spits says:

    I have immense respect for Dr. Hansen for his scientific integrity and his willingness to take a stand on this issue. Thank you for posting this and I agree – inaction would be a dangerous road to follow.

  3. Kevin says:

    I wonder how Hansen got to London to deliver his speech.

  4. If we had more leaders with Hansen’s integrity, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in. Like he says, we can avert the crisis with very little personal effort. If you have kids in your life, climate change and global warming are personal issues, visit our campaign: “Global Warming Is Personal” and help raise consciousness.

  5. “do not require hardship or reduction in the quality of life” ?
    Worse than the deafness to signs of Global Warming is the blindness to exponential population growth.
    The BASE cause for forest depletion, loss of aquifiers, famine, yes – and even Global Warming pollution is our lemming-like attitude toward breeding.
    You might as well forget “remedies” to environmental destruction while ignoring the BASIC cause!

  6. Jay says:

    Kevin is a moron. Just because the man has concerns about how people as a whole treat the environment doesn’t mean he is going to forego travel. You can’t take Dr. Hansen seriously because he uses commercial air travel? How else do you propose he get his message out to people?

    It is possible to purchase carbon credits to help offset the impact of using fossil fuels. Al Gore and his wife budget to purchase such credits to offset the impact caused by their extensive travel while spaeking about climate science.

    Kevin, do you walk everywhere you have to go? Do you have heat in your house? Do you buy food from other parts of the world besides where you live? Do you take any medication? Concern about how we are killing our planet does not equate to eschewing everything that uses energy. You are over-simplifying the issue. Twit.

  7. Lainey says:

    Offsets, Kevin. More and more travel sites are selling offsets at the time of ticket purchase. Try and educate yourself as there is nothing worse than a “twit” trying to be clever.

  8. Taskman says:

    “…changes needed do not require hardship or reduction in the quality of life”. Sorry, James. You may be right on target with your analysis of Global Warming but you miss the mark by a mile here. There is no “clean” alternative to fossil fuels that has even 10% of the potential energy required to fuel our economy. Think of life with only 10% of everything that we currently consider essential to modern life. That is where we are headed within a generation or two. Sacrifice. Sacrifice. Sacrifice. It is the only true option that we have to ensure our children and their families have anything approaching the standard of living we enjoy.

  9. President Lindsay says:

    Taskman,
    You are wrong. We have the technology to have virtually unlimited clean energy in the near future, very affordable, with zero emission vehicles far cheaper to run than today’s cars. Look for Prescription for the Planet, which should hit the shelves later this year. The problem is not technology, it’s politics. With bold leadership, the world’s anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases could be virtually eliminated by mid-century. You’ll be able to drive an SUV and be guilt-free (except for the small cars you might crunch in an accident, but that’s another issue, isn’t it?)

  10. jessemoya says:

      @ Luther E. Franklin:

    You’ve just presented what’s called a Malthusian argument, and it’s been shown countless times to be based more on classism and naivete than reason. I understand that superficially it appears to be common sense and so I am not calling you names here — only the school of thought that your comment supports.

    Read about it on Wikipedia 

  11. Cliff Carlson says:

    I’ve been reading compellig arguments supporting the (theory?) of global warmig and the man made causes. I’ve also read arguments that they are only that, theories. I’m old enough to remember when there were scientists concerned that our activities were causng global cooling that could lead to another ice age. I don’t pretend to be know enough to even give an opinion. What baffles me is how did the whole discussion become so politisized. Why are those who believe and express alarm so often called crackpots, or even worse part of some world wide conspiricy to ruin the standards of modern scociety? Why are those who express any scepticism branded as dolts, idiots, or part of some idustrial plot to hide the truth? Why is one side a bunch of liberal-commies out to ruin the world as we know it, and the other nothing but greedy corporations and their lying flunkies only interested in some bottom line? As I said, I don’t know enough, but seem to find myself drifting to an opinion, and that is,
    you’re all a bunch of idiots.

  12. Gern says:

    Well Cliff, it’s basically due to the inherent fallacies common to stereotyping. It’s simply impossible to make a generalized statement about a large group that rings true. Some cons are corporate elitists that only care about corporate interests, others are plain folk that look out their windows and don’t perceive a global threat. Some libs are bitter disenfranchised pseudo-anarchists that want to ruin the “system” that they see as the unstoppable juggernaut ruining the planet. Others simply want to be real honest responsible human beings and do the sane thing and protect the global ecosystems.
    My suggestion is avoid the extreme views on either side, but listen to the majority of the scientists. Get more than a couple views. You may have to dig a bit. As more data becomes available, the consequences will get more predictable. 15 years ago 1700 scientists around the globe issued a warning to humanity: I found out about it 4 years ago thanks to the internet.

    Keep looking, and keep asking questions.

  13. Karismac says:

    I really have to say something, I have just started to read all of the global warming forums and so here it is – I live in Australia and I have no idea who most of the people I know vote for, can you guys imagine that? Why don’t you try… If someone is what we call a dickhead and pisses you off you ignore them. Maybe it came from all of the dodgey guns that they sent here somewhere in our history but we don’t trust guns or people who let idiots spoil the party. On the topic of idiots – Kevin pops up all over the place on global warming forums. Who knows who he is or what his agenda might be. Please ignore him, he will dominant a post and take it no where, don’t let him. Now for a serious question, does anyone know anything about what makes OH in the atmosphere and how I might find out about that? Apparently it cleans up GHG’s?

  14. porno izle says:

    I have immense respect for Dr. Hansen for his scientific integrity and his willingness to take a stand on this issue. Thank you for posting this and I agree – inaction would be a dangerous road to follow…

  15. batteries says:

    My suggestion is avoid the extreme views on either side, but listen to the majority of the scientists. Get more than a couple views. You may have to dig a bit. As more data becomes available, the consequences will get more predictable. 15 years ago 1700 scientists around the globe issued a warning to humanity: I found out about it 4 years ago thanks to the internet.