10 July 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Ex NASA chief climate scientist James Hansen warns fossil fuel addiction could trigger runaway global warming

My latest report in The Guardian is based on a startling new peer-reviewed scientific paper by James Hansen (et. al), widely recognised as the 'founding father' of climate science. I also interviewed him on the findings of his paper. It's a very sobering read. The upshot is that if we don't reign in our fossil fuel addiction now, then we're on course to trigger a runaway greenhouse effect that will lead to an inhabitable planet for future generations, for centuries to come.

See below.

James Hansen: Fossil fuel addiction could trigger runaway global warming

Without full decarbonisation by 2030, our global emissions pathway guarantees new era of catastrophic climate change
The world is currently on course to exploit all its remaining fossil fuel resources, a prospect that would produce a "different, practically uninhabitable planet" by triggering a "low-end runaway greenhouse effect." This is the conclusion of a new scientific paper by Prof James Hansen, the former head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the world's best known climate scientist.

Article round up - Obama climate plan, nuclear energy crunch and Egyptian unrest

It's been a manic couple of weeks which is why I haven't had a chance to update this blog. So here I am! 

Toward the end of last month, I wrote critically about Obama's new climate plan. A lot of big names in the environment movement - including Bill McKibben and Dr Grist - praised the Obama plan and welcomed it as an important step forward. To some extent they were right, but what they missed completely - or certainly didn't say loud and clear - was that Obama's plan would do nothing to stop our current trajectory toward climate catastrophe well within this century. So I laid out the facts here, highlighting Obama's insistence on promoting fracking and nuclear energy.

At the beginning of July, I put an exclusive based on a new scientific paper claiming that we're heading of a global nuclear energy crunch due to uranium mining production shortages and price spikes that could lead to electricity blackouts for countries heavily invested in nuclear power. Check that out here. I plan to follow that up soon with more on the pros and cons of nuclear energy.

Then the Egyptian coup happened, toppling Morsi, and bringing in a new Army-run regime that swiftly went on to commit a massacre against Muslim Brotherhood protesters. Unfortunately, the structural dynamics fueling civil unrest in Egypt (and other countries in the region) are little understood, so I weighed in with a deeper analysis of how peak oil, climate crisis, urban poverty and IMF mismanagement conspired to keep people on the streets - and will do so for the foreseeable future unless there is a prospect of dramatic and radical social transformation. Read that here.

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