A nice profile
In the latest issue of Seed, Chris Mooney has a nice profile of legendary climate scientist James Hansen. Here’s the nut:
Yet Hansen isn’t afraid of value judgments either. With increasing stridency, he has been articulating a very political, very moral premise: We can’t take much more human-induced greenhouse warming if we want to preserve the planet in the state that we actually like. The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change had originally united the world behind the goal of preventing “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”–but left the word “dangerous” conveniently undefined. Hansen, however, has been defining it explicitly, in the process outlining a scenario much more alarming than those produced by the more conservative U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to Hansen, we can sustain only one more degree (Celsius), at maximum, of human-induced global warming before we’re committed to consequences that are simply intolerable–most frighteningly, the disintegration of the ice sheets, followed by a catastrophic sea-level rise measured in tens of meters. Translating that into years, Hansen says we have maybe a decade to get the climate problem under control.