Newest Climate Warnings from McKibben and Hansen

Bill McKibben (Gandhi Peace Award winner 2013) has a major article in The Nation called Global Warming’s Terrible New Chemistry”.  If the title sound familiar it echoes his Rolling Stone article that went viral a few years ago.  In his new article talks about alarming new findings coming out in a report in February by Harvard researchers.  To summarize:

  • So much methane is leaking that the U.S. progress claimed in reducing greenhouse gas emission over the last decade may be completely false
  • U.S. greenhouse gas emissions may be going up, not down
  • The EPA “ was clearly wrong—on a massive scale.”
  • There may be no easy way to stop the leaks in the natural gas system.  For instance cement seals around pipeline are  “an unresolved engineering challenge.”
  • In the critical short-run methane has between 86 to 105 times the greenhouse gas potency of CO
  • Even if it was leak-free methane is only a somewhat better version of a fossil fuel
  • Sadly U.S. politicians are becomes spokespersons for sales of methane abroad
  • Fossil fuels have to be left in the ground. Fracking bans are essential

James Hansen is the most famous climate scientist in the world.  He quit his job at NASA so he could become a full time activist.  In his newest article on his blog he warns that major climate effects may be coming in just decades.  The title sums it up.  It’s  “Ice Melt, Seal Level Rise and Superstorms: The Threat of Irreparable Harm”.

Hansen wrote the paper months ago with a dozen other scientists.  Now it’s been “peer reviewed”, other independent scientists have looked it over.

  • Hansen writes that the sharp rise in sea level that scientists  have feared would happen in centuries to come, could happen this century
  • Warmer temperatures are melting the ice sheets which cause effects in the oceans that stop normal currents and increase the warming effect on the ice sheets.
  • This all happened some 118,000 years ago and then caused superstorms that were so powerful that they would fling 1,000 ton boulders
  • Worse than the terrible storms would be the rise in sea level.  A multi-meter rise in sea level, “would mean loss of all coastal cities, most of the world’s large cities and all their history.”
  • There is a “point of no return” that we’re reaching that will lock in the climate and nothing will change it over a period of hundreds of years
  • “We are in a position of potentially causing irreparable harm to our children, grandchildren and future generations.”