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James Hansen's Posts

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Deep doo-doo

A conversation with Bill McKibben

The paperback version of my book Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity is now available. It includes, as an added section, a conversation between organizer Bill McKibben and me. Much of that Q&A is below. As was (and is) the case with the hardback and other formats of the book, all royalties go to 350.org. As I mention in the book, 350.org has demonstrated the most effective and responsible leadership in the public struggle for climate justice. ------ Bill McKibben: Jim, more than a dozen nations have set …

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Things are getting NASA-ty

How warm was this summer?

Let's look at the surface temperatures in the summer of 2010, which justifiably received a lot of attention. Figure 1 shows maps of the June-July-August temperature anomaly (relative to 1951-1980) in the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) temperature analysis (described in paper in press at Reviews of Geophysics, available online [PDF]) for 2009 and 2010, as well as maps for December-January-February (Northern Hemisphere winter, Southern Hemisphere summer) for the past two years. June-July-August 2010 was the fourth warmest in the 131 year GISS analysis, while 2009 was the second warmest. 2010 was a bit cooler than 2009 mainly …

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overshooting

Never-give-up fighting spirit: lessons from a grandchild

Such negative questions and attitudes are increasing. How refreshing, on cold, windy Thanksgiving Plus One Day, which we spend with our children and grandchildren, when I went outside to shoot baskets with 5-year-old Connor. Connor is very bright, but needs work on his hand-to-eye coordination. I set the basket at a convenient height for him, but his first several shots banged off the backboard off-target. Then he said, very brightly and bravely, "I don't quit, because I have never-give-up fighting spirit." It seems his karate lessons are paying off. Some adults need Connor's help. A Scientific American article by Michael …

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Coal River Mountain Action

The story of our civil disobedience against mountaintop-removal coal mining

Several people asked for more information about the 23 June civil disobedience near Coal River Mountain. We need Dickens to describe the local situation, but you can glean something from a statement I was reading at the time we were arrested (reprinted below). Local pollution effects and regional environmental destruction should be enough to stop the practice of mountaintop removal. Vernon Haltom, head of Coal River Mountain Watch, provided the details therein. The group can make good use of any support. The bigger picture, including climate change, makes it clear that mountaintop removal, providing only 7 percent of United States …

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Dear Barack and Michelle

An open letter to the president and first lady from the nation's top climate scientist

29 December 2008 Michelle and Barack Obama Chicago and Washington, D.C. United States of America Dear Michelle and Barack, We write to you as fellow parents concerned about the Earth that will be inherited by our children, grandchildren, and those yet to be born. Barack has spoken of "a planet in peril" and noted that actions needed to stem climate change have other merits. However, the nature of the chosen actions will be of crucial importance. We apologize for the length of this letter. But your personal attention to these details could make all the difference in what surely will …

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Obstruction of justice

Virginian coal protesters receive B-minus plea bargain for Kingsworth-like activism

"You're Hannah, right?" Hannah Morgan, a 20-year old from Appalachia, Virginia, was one of 11 protesters in handcuffs early Monday morning on Sept. 15 at the construction site for a coal-fired power plant being built in Wise County Virginia by Dominion Power. The handcuffs were applied by the police, but the questioner, it turns out, was from Dominion Power. "Mumble, mumble, mumble," the discussion between police and the Dominion man were too far away to be heard by the young people. But it almost seemed that the police were working for Dominion. Maybe that's the way it works in a …

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Trumping old King Coal

Kingsnorth six acquitted in U.K. for coal-plant protest and vandalism

Good news from the U.K.: The Kingsnorth Six were acquitted by a Crown Court jury. They were members of a group of 23 Greenpeace volunteers who had attempted to shut down the Kingsnorth coal-fired power plant, specifically the six were the ones painting the smokestack with "Gordon Bin It" when interrupted by the police. Their defense was "lawful excuse": that they were protecting property of greater value (the Earth!) from the impact of climate change. We will need our Mercedes-driving lawyer friends to tell us if the verdict has greater significance -- but the jurors were common people, not politicians. …

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Dear Governor Greenwash

Hansen: Governors aren’t getting it

My recent experience with governors raises a question about whether this is an effective way to communicate about climate change. (Apologies for the length -- you may skip the three tales and go to the bottom line.) Dear Governor Pawlenty [PDF] Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty presides over a population that appreciates nature. Explorer Will Steger has done a marvelous job of informing the public there about climate change in the Arctic, the threat of climate change to species and indigenous people, and the relevance of climate change to Minnesota. Early actions made it appear that Minnesota would be a leader, defining …

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Yankee ticket prices and fossil fuels

Fossil fuel moguls inflate reserve estimates to prevent efforts to move beyond their products

When I was young, Yankee Stadium had ~70,000 seats. It seldom sold out, and almost any kid could afford the cheap seats. Capacity was reduced to ~57,000 when the stadium was remodeled in the 1970s. Most games sell out now, and prices have gone up. The new stadium, opening next year, will reduce seating further, to ~51,800. This intentional contraction is aimed at guaranteeing sellouts, increasing demand, allowing the owners, in pretty short order, to hike prices to double, triple, and more. The owners know that scarcity will fatten their wallets, even though it reduces the number of sales. This …

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Dear Prime Minister, Dear Chancellor

A letter from James Hansen pleads for action on coal-fired power plants

The following is a draft letter to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on the subject of proposed new coal-fired power plants. (A similar letter is in the works to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.) The author would appreciate feedback. ----- Dear Prime Minister Brown, Your leadership is needed on a matter concerning coal-fired power plants in your country, a matter with global ramifications, as I will clarify. For the sake of identification, I am a United States citizen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Adjunct Professor at the Columbia University Earth Institute. I write, however, as a …

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