The world’s most famous climate scientist just outlined an alarming scenario for our planet’s future

Washington Post, By Chris Mooney, July 20

James Hansen has often been out ahead of his scientific colleagues.

With his 1988 congressional testimony, the then-NASA scientist is credited with putting the global warming issue on the map by saying that a warming trend had already begun. “It is time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here,” Hansen famously testified.

Now Hansen — who retired in 2013 from his NASA post, and is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute — is publishing what he says may be his most important paper. Along with 16 other researchers — including leading experts on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets — he has authored a lengthy study outlining an scenario of potentially rapid sea level rise combined with more intense storm systems.

It’s an alarming picture of where the planet could be headed — and hard to ignore, given its author. But it may also meet with considerable skepticism in the broader scientific community, given that its scenarios of sea level rise occur more rapidly than those ratified by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its latest assessment of the state of climate science, published in 2013.

The authors conclude that 2 degrees Celsius global warming—the widely accepted international target for how much the world should limit global warming—is “highly dangerous.”

Climate Progress: Climate Scientist Warns Sea Levels Are Rising Faster Than We Thought

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  • Paradise Burning

    Tom Dispatch, By Subhankar Banerjee, July 30

    The wettest rainforest in the continental United States had gone up in flames and the smoke was so thick, so blanketing, that you could see it miles away. Deep in Washington’s Olympic National Park, the aptly named Paradise Fire, undaunted by the dampness of it all, was eating the forest alive and destroying an ecological Eden. In this season of drought across the West, there have been far bigger blazes but none quite so symbolic or offering quite such grim news. It isn’t the size of the fire (though it is the largest in the park’s history), nor its intensity. It’s something else entirely — the fact that it shouldn’t have been burning at all. When fire can eat a rainforest in a relatively cool climate, you know the Earth is beginning to burn.

    • Thanks For The Link Raja…,
      Olympic National Park is practically my backyard from The Ranch outside of Forks. This is the driest I have ever seen it here…, and it has been since early spring. When we bought our horse hay this year, the farmer said that he averaged about half of what he usually cuts from his fields. Just too dry this spring.

  • The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here

    The worst predicted impacts of climate change are starting to happen — and much faster than climate scientists expected.

    Rolling Stone, By Eric Holthaus, August 5

    Historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. In Washington state’s Olympic National Park, the rainforest caught fire for the first time in living memory. London reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.; The Guardian briefly had to pause its live blog of the heat wave because its computer servers overheated. In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El Niño forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide.

    On July 20th, James Hansen, the former NASA climatologist who brought climate change to the public’s attention in the summer of 1988, issued a bombshell: He and a team of climate scientists had identified a newly important feedback mechanism off the coast of Antarctica that suggests mean sea levels could rise 10 times faster than previously predicted: 10 feet by 2065. The authors included this chilling warning: If emissions aren’t cut, “We conclude that multi-meter sea-level rise would become practically unavoidable. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea-level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization.”

    Eric Rignot, a climate scientist at NASA and the University of California-Irvine and a co-author on Hansen’s study, said their new research doesn’t necessarily change the worst-case scenario on sea-level rise, it just makes it much more pressing to think about and discuss, especially among world leaders. In particular, says Rignot, the new research shows a two-degree Celsius rise in global temperature — the previously agreed upon “safe” level of climate change — “would be a catastrophe for sea-level rise.”

    Middle East Eye: Pentagon prepares for century of climate emergencies and oil wars

  • Global warming: weather extremes – loss of agricultural areas.
    Submersion of many major cities.
    Severe (and rising) over-population.
    Lack of any ‘safe havens’ for migration.
    Depletion (and rising costs, lower ROI) of fuel and agricultural/industrial chemicals.
    Increased squabbling – local and international – over the diminishing resources.
    Bottomless greed of the Elite, who know perfectly well what’s coming and just want to insulate themselves from the consequences of their rapacity. (And it’s not only the elite at fault here; they’re just the most egregious examples of our common short-sightedness).

    The Post-Industrial society is imminent. It doesn’t mean the end of mankind – we’re pretty resilient as a species – but ‘civilization’ is going to be set back significantly. I don’t envision a Mad Max world, but perhaps worse than the Middle Ages. The institutions of the Dark Ages grew organically over many centuries into whatever worked under the conditions of the day, whereas this will be a plunge into that state by a population wholly unprepared and ignorant of how to cope without the fruits of the modern world.

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