Hansen: Climate Change a Moral Issue on a Par with Slavery

April 7, 2012


Averting the worst consequences of human-induced climate change is a “great moral issue” on a par with slavery, according to the leading Nasaclimate scientist Prof Jim Hansen.

He argues that storing up expensive and destructive consequences for society in future is an “injustice of one generation to others”.

Hansen, who will next Tuesday be awarded the prestigious Edinburgh Medal for his contribution to science, will also in his acceptance speech call for a worldwide tax on all carbon emissions.

In his lecture, Hansen will argue that the challenge facing future generations from climate change is so urgent that a flat-rate global tax is needed to force immediate cuts in fossil fuel use. Ahead of receiving the award – which has previously been given to Sir David Attenborough, the ecologist James Lovelock, and the economist Amartya Sen – Hansen told the Guardian that the latest climate models had shown the planet was on the brink of an emergency. He said humanity faces repeated natural disasters from extreme weather events which would affect large areas of the planet.

“The situation we’re creating for young people and future generations is that we’re handing them a climate system which is potentially out of their control,” he said. “We’re in an emergency: you can see what’s on the horizon over the next few decades with the effects it will have on ecosystems, sea level and species extinction.”


7 Responses to “Hansen: Climate Change a Moral Issue on a Par with Slavery”

  1. bobchewie Says:

    so we’re all screwed then and the next lot too, and the next and the next and…

  2. […] Hansen: Climate Change a Moral Issue on a Par with Slavery « Climate Denial Crock of the Week Share and Enjoy:Written by: Jerrald Hayes on April 7, 2012. […]

  3. nicholbrummer Says:

    Slavery *did* get abolished (mostly), so humanity isn’t completely hopeless. We can do it with climate change too. But we cannot wait for the USA, certainly not expect their leadership in this.

  4. neilrieck Says:

    I have no doubt that humans will survive but have serious doubts about human culture and humanity in general. When the history books are written, people like Hansen and Lovelock will be in the roles of heroes. Meanwhile, the names of right-wing idiots and science deniers will be among the group of villains.

    The phrase “Carpetbagger” (a derogatory term, suggesting opportunism and exploitation) comes to mind.

  5. otter17 Says:

    Risk Management 101:

    There are two major choices between risks.
    1) A small risk that is manageable and reversible, namely starting down the path of implementing policies and technologies to get on the road down an emissions reduction plan with scientifically reasonable targets. The risk is primarily to the economy, though some evidence suggests a net economic benefit to such a plan.

    2) A large risk that is unmanageable and irreversible, with substantial evidence to show that unfavorable changes will likely occur that can affect critical ecosystem services such as agriculture and water productivity.

    A moral hazard on par with slavery? Maybe. We are indeed still on the path of easy living while saddling others down the road with likely hardships.

  6. elaxminn Says:

    While he’s probably right when it comes to the scope of human suffering that will be caused by human caused warming (especially among the poorer people in the world), global warming is still viewed by a large percentage of the public as an open question.

    Ten, Twenty, or fifty years hence it will probably be viewed by the public as a great wrong, but only after the damage had been done.

  7. […] background-position: 50% 0px; background-color:#7f5b29; background-repeat : no-repeat; } climatecrocks.com – Today, 2:48 […]

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