Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hansen's Warning

Every rock of coal and every ton of carbon we use makes it more likely we will cross the tipping point. Every ton we get instead from low-carbon sources makes it less likely.This is only one of a dozen effects of global warming that are just as terrifying. If we burn all the world's remaining fossil fuels, there is only one precedent in the climate record for the warming that will occur. It happened at the end of the Permian period 251 million years ago, when the world warmed by 6 degrees. The result? Almost everything on Earth died. A solitary pig-sized creature, the Lystrosaurus, had the land to itself for another 30 million years. Hansen's is the only nonfiction book to ever give me nightmares.

Jim Hansen is a great American hero and as such faces an unthankful populace. People rarely ever want to hear the truth. Hansen's book is a must read.

Hansen knows what all those attuned to nature know--that pumping fossil fuel carbon into the earth's atmosphere is like feeding a dump bear: Sooner or later it will come back and trash the place.



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