"Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors."

-Jonas Salk

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hansen Book

Press release:

The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity

by James Hansen

At the Copenhagen Climate Conference (December 7-18, 2009), one expected guest will be noticeably absent. Dr. James Hansen’s groundbreaking research on climate over the last thirty years has been startlingly accurate—research that is now accepted as irrefutable proof of global warming. But he has decided to sit out the conference in protest.

In his first book on the subject, STORMS OF MY GRANDCHILDREN, Hansen argues that we no longer can accept the greenwash of politicians and world leaders (i.e. those assembling in Copenhagen next month). Greater grassroots efforts must help mobilize the masses, even through acts of civil resistance, for the sake of our children and their children. STORMS is the blueprint for that action.

James Hansen is best known for his accurate predictions about global warming since the 1980s, as well as his advising Al Gore on An Inconvenient Truth. He is a frequent expert witness on Capitol Hill and the subject of numerous articles and profiles (including a recent feature piece by The New Yorker). He was also notoriously censored by the Bush administration for speaking out on global warming and the need to curtail carbon emissions. The book recounts this experience.

Though a vocal critic of public policy and author of several supporting papers, he has never before written a book on the subject of climate change. The title refers to his growing concerns about the world his grandchildren may inhabit if we do not do all in our power to address man-made pollution to the atmosphere. The book brings together three decades of research to explain for a general readership the science behind global warming.

It is also an impartial challenge to politicians globally—on either end of the spectrum—to accept the reality of the science and take the necessary steps to forestall further damage to the environment.

Dr. James Hansen is perhaps best known for bringing global warming to the world’s attention in the 1980s, when he first testified before Congress. An adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and at Columbia’s Earth Institute, and director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, he is frequently called to testify before Congress on climate issues. Dr. Hansen’s background in both space and earth sciences allows a broad perspective on the status and prospects of our home planet. This is his first book.

"When the history of the climate crisis is written,

Hansen will be seen as the scientist with the most powerful and consistent voice calling for intelligent action to preserve our planet's environment."

— Al Gore on James Hansen (from Time magazine)

Note that Stephen Schneider has a new book out too (h/t Stoat).


Antiquated Tory said...

"Last chance to save humanity?" That's a bit drastic, no? But I guess "Last chance to save the prosperity that we've been building since the Black Death. Oh, and to save a bunch of ecosystems." wouldn't sell as many books.

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

Indeed; how dare James Hansen even think about writing a book and -- Heaven forbid -- selling it! How dare he!

And notice how many times the word "freedom" occurs in Al Gore's blurb? Zero? Zero? Enough said.

-- bi

Steve Bloom said...

AT, an aspect of the problem that's seldom discussed is the human social response to severe environmental crisis. Climate change itself is unlikely to be so severe as to even threaten civilization, let alone humanity, but what we do to ourselves (and the ecosphere) as a consequence of the strains is a different story. Recall Fermi's Paradox.

Anonymous said...

Is that the James Hansen who made all those, er, 'sweaty' predictions to Congress 20-odd years ago. I don't think, on the whole, that I would bet the deeds of my house on anything he had to say!

David Duff

Michael, I do wish you would do something about your 'Open ID' which keeps issuing me with what looks like a prison number!

Antiquated Tory said...

Thanks, and fair enough. We could well lose our collective minds and start pumping SOx into the stratosphere a la Superfreaks, or something equally desperate. Though I think the most likely response is a draconian "state of emergency" among even the most liberal states, trying to ration out increasingly scarce resources, manage vast emergency civil engineering projects, and keep a lid on civil unrest. Which would be kind of amusing given certain septics' current blatherings about UN world government conspiracy, environmental neo-Bolshevism, etc. But that's thin consolation.
Hey, I'm a fan of the IJoI. And I'd certainly at least open the book and see if I wanted to read it if it were in a bookshop. I do know better than to judge a book by its cover publicity.
I guess I know that the public thinks now in terms of 2012/Jerry Bruckheimer disasters, and if the catastrophe you're warning against isn't on that scale, why care? I've had this conversation.
Friend: All this warning about how global warming is going to destroy all life is nonsense. The planet has been far hotter than in the past. And anyway, the planet is cooling. Blah blah blah.
Me: No one is really suggesting seriously that all life will end. It's polemic to get people to do something. What will happen is a lot of ecosphere destruction, probable food crises, and extreme economic crisis, but probably not until sometime after 2100. And the planet is not cooling.
Friend: Well, what's the problem then? We'll just adapt. And I'll be dead by then, anyway.

Horatio Algeranon said...


Thanks for pointing out the oft-overlooked consequences of climate change.

Horatio would just add that your observations are actually encompassed by Hansen's title:

"Last chance to save [our] humanity"

The latter interpretation is also entirely consistent with the main title, where "storms" is interpreted figuratively as social upheaval: famine, "floods" of refugees, resource wars etc.

The Pentagon is actually quite concerned about the national security implications from such social upheaval brought on by climate change, concerned enough to commission a study.

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

Antiquated Tory:

My apologies.

But I still think that there's nothing wrong with talking about "saving humanity" if the catastrophe involves massive food and water crises. It's not a "the world goes kaboom!" type of disaster, but it's definitely serious enough to warrant the label of "threat to humanity".

-- bi

Unknown said...

I'm a little late to the party here, but

6p00d8341c5caf53ef said about the 'sweaty testimony'

is another lie from LowWattage that was disseminated a couple weeks ago. It is false. Hansen never made that prediction to Congress. It was an interview placed next to the testimony to conflate the two and make a lie out of the guilt by association.

Just pointing out the source of lies in the denialosphere.