Jim Hansen on Sea Level, and the “lifeblood of science”

July 26, 2015


Hansen’s hypothesis on sea levels rising as much as 10 feet within 50 years: “Not only would it be 10 feet, but it would imply that in the next decades after that it would be even more. Because where this water is coming from is the west Antarctic ice sheet, and then there’s another part of the east Antarctic ice sheet which also has several meters of sea level rise in its ice. So what that would mean is coastal cities would become dysfunctional. Parts of the city would still be above water, but it wouldn’t make sense to try to rebuild them partially because they know the water is going to keep rising. So we can’t let it go unstable. We would lose all the coastal cities in the world, and that’s enormous a cost, which would affect everybody, whether they’re living on the coast or not.”

Hansen on public skepticism: “Oh, sure. That’s the nature of science. That’s the lifeblood of science. You always are skeptical of any new conclusion. And so that’s not surprising at all. But compare it to the 1980s, when I testified to Congress. There was an overwhelming skepticism and criticism, and then, over a few years, the story changed. Here, there were a lot of people becoming very suspicious that the IPCC was underestimating the sea level problem.”

Hansen’s idea to curb climate change:  “…As long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy, people are going to keep burning them and going to find them, to dig them up wherever they can find them. …what we need to do is add a gradually rising fee to the fossil fuels, which you would collect from the fossil fuel companies at the source… And that money should be distributed to – all legal residents of the country. That way the person who does better than average in limiting his carbon footprint will make money, and it will be a big incentive for them to pay attention to their carbon footprint. It will be a big incentive for entrepreneurs to develop no carbon and low carbon energy sources and products. And the economic studies that have been done show that this actually stimulates the economy. So it doesn’t cost anything.”

Transcript here.

8 Responses to “Jim Hansen on Sea Level, and the “lifeblood of science””

  1. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Glad I spent a month driving around Florida while I still could!

  2. I live in Sacramento, and what many people don’t realize is that just a 1 meter rise in sea level would flood the delta with sea water and taint many water supplies and farmland with salt. I expect a dike in front of the delta within a few years.

  3. redskylite Says:

    Sounds like a job for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers….. only they are suffering from under funding at the moment, according to a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report.

    “GAO Report Sees Climate Risks to Army Corps Projects”


  4. John Says:

    Reblogged this on jpratt27.

  5. […] See also this by Joe Romm. Climate Crocks has Hansen, lead author, on CNN, here. […]

  6. […] See also this by Joe Romm. Climate Crocks has Hansen, lead author, on CNN, here. […]

  7. […] See also this by Joe Romm. Climate Crocks has Hansen, lead author, on CNN, here. […]

  8. “Hansen’s idea” is the Citizens’ Climate Lobby proposal for a carbon fee and dividend policy. Go to citizensclimatelobby.org to learn more about it and join us. It won’t cost you anything.

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