Friday, November 30, 2007


NASA scientist James Hansen speech in Texas, Oct 24 2007.

Compares past climate changes to present, saying humans now control the planet. IPCC underestimates, the age of rising seas & melting ice.

In the first half, Hansen explains how the climate system really works, now that scientists have more info. Even ideas from just two years ago are proving inadequate to measure the real speed and impacts of climate change.

In the second part, James Hansen explains several methods of preventing the worst of global warming, to stop the evolution of "a different planet" from the Earth systems we now know.
In just one example, we learn the latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change do NOT include ice melt from Greenland or the Antarctic. The data on that melt wasn't prepared in time for the IPCC shut-off date. So, it was left out of sea rise predictions.

The world media has widely disseminated these underestimates, of the true potential for rapid rise of sea levels, in this century. Hansen explains the new science, and how the pair of satellites known as GRACE tell us, for sure, that Greenland and the Antarctic Ice sheets are melting. Parts of both could break off very quickly. We know that, we just don't know when.
The result: not centimeters or inches of sea rise, but more than 20 meters, more than 60 feet, perhaps even hundreds of feet over the coming centuries.

Sea level has been relatively stable for about 7,000 years. Some scientists argue that stability led to the development of rich coastal food systems, which in turn led to the first civilization, and cities. Now half of Americans live close to the coasts. About a billion people around the world would have to move inland, if the seas rise. And they will rise. There is no longer such a thing as "sea level." Our maps, measuring systems, and lives will change.

That's just one detail from this fascinating talk. Another: although sea levels have changed by hundreds of feet, or over a hundred meters, before in history - this process took many thousands of years. Many species went extinct, but others adapted and new ones appeared. But now humans are adding carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas, at a rate 10,000 times faster than any pre-historic event.

We may be heading back to the last previous hot state - the Earth as it was about 55 million years ago. The top British scientists agree, like the Antarctic authority Chris Rapley, and perennial climate scientist James Lovelock, not to mention the UK's Chief Scientist, Sir David King. Hansen says the Bush government isn't getting the message, because of "special interests." Clearly, the context of this speech, he is talking about the oil, gas, and coal industries.

In particular, Hansen calls for a moratorium on new coal plants, anywhere, until carbon capture and storage technology can be applied to them. If we like the planet fit for our civilization, this isn't an optional choice. We just can't afford to burn the dirtiest fossil fuel, much less mess around with tar sands or Rocky Mountain shale.

Hansen has a whole menu of choices we can make to save ourselves. He even thinks the Arctic could still be saved as the cold spot we need for our current climate - if we act now.
The general outlook, his assessment and actions to take. As though addressing Congress or the President.

In my opinion. This is some of the most important radio you will ever hear. I am rebroadcasting a program from TUC Radio in San Franscisco, courtesy of Maria Gilardin - who always comes up with key stories. Be sure and help support this independent journalist!

56 MB 1 hour Ecoshock show 071130.

Production Notes: No station ID's, no copyright music. 30 sec music bed for your station ID at 28:46-29:19; 1 min of music at end (59 min); and good insert points at 15:06 & 45:53.

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