James Hansen at Paris Climate Meeting

December 3, 2015

Hansen discusses some of his new work.

Parts 2 and 3 below.  Working against a deadline, so I haven’t had a chance to review all of these, so all be watching them right along with you.

spacer

14 Responses to “James Hansen at Paris Climate Meeting”

  1. indy222 Says:

    Kudos to Hansen for the Tax-and-Dividend idea. It’s brilliant. However, there’s a remaining problem – that proposal only addresses de-motivating FUTURE emissions. It’s obvious to those who look, that we are in so deep now that we will be forced to find a way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. We need to set loose the Bounty Hunters – the bounty hunters for atmospheric CO2. Who will pay for the CO2 they capture and sequester, given that the diffusion time for any molecule in our atmosphere is just a few weeks? CO2 knows no national boundaries once released. I’m thinking the we’ll need to set up a global fund, with mandatory contributions from all countries, scaled by their cumulative emissions to date. This fund would pay out to the CO2 bounty hunters. It would pay ONLY for atmospheric CO2 removal, not for scrubbing CO2 from your own coal plants. That carbon is still inside the country of origin and its their duty to keep it out of the air in the first place.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Bounty hunters chasing down and sequestering CO2 is a great idea, and, as you say, it’s obvious that we are “in so deep” with the present CO2 concentration (because of the lag time for effects to appear) that we need to do this. Unfortunately, present CCS technology is weak, and we can’t see a clear path there at this time.

      I watched Pandora’s Promise last night (available on Netflix). It discusses how we have wrongly demonized nuclear power plants and features many folks who, like me, were once anti-nuclear power activists but have come to understand that it is the best option available to us right now for cutting CO2 emissions rapidly and safely.

      One of the bonus clips on Pandora’s Promise is an extended interview with James Hansen, who has become (along with many other climate scientists) a strong proponent of building safe “new generation” nuclear plants. I have extreme difficulty understanding how so many people can hold Hansen up as a hero for his many years of work on exposing AGW as an existential challenge to mankind’s continued existence on the one hand, and COMPLETELY IGNORING his thoughts on why we now need nuclear power. Can’t have it both ways, folks. It’s can’t be both “kudos—brilliant” and “crazy old man who doesn’t know what he’s talking about”.

      In actuality, perhaps the best “CO2 bounty hunter” has been around for a long time and has a pretty good track record. I speak of the Earth itself and its various “systems”, both physical-chemical and biological, which over 4 billion years managed to regulate conditions to the point that WE appeared on the scene not long ago (and promptly started to muck things up). Maybe, just maybe, if we were to cut present and future CO2 emissions by quickly building large numbers of nuclear power plants, the Earth could “heal itself”, or at least enough to avoid CAGW?

      • addledlady Says:

        I don’t think the earth’s geological response on its own can possibly be quick enough to “heal” from our emissions by absorbing CO2 quickly enough to make civilisation, or just life itself, possible for 10 or 20 human generations.

        We release every single year many millions of years, maybe 10s of millions worth of sequestered carbon. If we’d stopped doing that back when people first told us it was getting us into trouble, we might, but only might, have been able to rely on stopping industrial and transport emissions and making our buildings carbon neutral to give the earth the breathing space it needed.

        I think we can make a dent in what’s required by increasing the time that carbon is sequestered/ retained in various biological cycles. Stopping deforestation, replanting trees and grasslands and rebuilding soils wouldn’t just benefit climate, it would feed us better and mitigate some of the climate change effects we won’t be able to avoid – at least for the time being – floods, droughts, soil lost from wasting away, blowing away or washing away.

        Reestablishing &or extending mangrove forests at the shore and seagrass beds in shallow offshore waters will also be good for us directly in terms of fish nurseries as well as intermittently being a constraint on storm surges and beach erosion. Stopping ALL whaling in every region, especially the Southern and Pacific Oceans, apart from the very small indigenous hunting allowances in arctic regions, may give whales a chance to get their ocean fertilisation-carbon sequestration thing going again at a nearer-to-historical rate. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/07/incredible-whale-poop-might-help-fight-climate-change We can’t magically, instantaneously, get their numbers back up to the many hundreds of thousands of 3 centuries ago, but we can stop killing them and give them a chance to recoup their numbers to a more useful (to the climate) level.

        In the end, sooner or later, we’re going to have to match, preferably exceed, the too fast release of sequestered carbon with ultra fast rock weathering. Especially if we consider ocean acidification to be as serious a problem as atmospheric temperatures. Quarrying rocks, crushing and spreading the resulting dusts and gravels is hardly a sophisticated or demanding enterprise. We don’t even need geologists to identify the best rocks for the purpose – they’re all over the place. We will need ecologists and H&S experts to work out the best places and methods for doing this simple but dirty work.

        The only daunting thing is the size of the task. Doing as much as we possibly can for a few decades while at the same time reducing our emissions is the only possible way to get back to 350 ppm or less. And that’s the minimum we need to achieve to get back to reliable seasons for agriculture which supports our civilisation.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Yes, you’re right in thinking that we may soon turn to geoengineering as a technological fix for the problems brought on by our mindless pursuit of a “better life” through technology. Some dogs like to chase their tails, so why shouldn’t humans do it too?

          In addition to grinding up rocks (using energy only from renewable sources, of course) and transporting and spreading the rock dust (using only EV’s, of course), we will soon be salting the oceans to restore the thermohaline circulation, fertilizing them with iron to stimulate growth of carbon-sequestering algae, and spraying sulfur compounds into the atmosphere (But wait! We’re already doing that last one! Rainbow Lady and the Chemtrailers say it’s so!)

          You are not alone in thinking that “…the earth’s geological response on its own can (not) possibly be quick enough to “heal” from our emissions”.

          Now reading a great little book by Diane Dumanoski—The End of the Long Summer (Crown 2009). One of the best books I have ever read on how humans have interfered with the Earth’s “metabolism” (and I have read a LOT of books). Almost half-way through it, but recommend it highly to all for just the introductory chapters—I got it from the library but will be purchasing a copy of my own.

          • addledlady Says:

            “and spraying sulfur compounds into the atmosphere”

            How anyone with any interest in ocean health can propose such a daft idea is beyond my ken.

            I’m absolutely certain that the earth, left to its own devices, can heal from our assaults on its biological skin. I’m not so certain, given the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere and the lag in ocean responses to various insults, that the “natural” time for earth correcting our mistakes can happen in the kind of time scale that interests us with our less-than-century life expectancies. If we can cut down the impacts for a few extra not yet born generations, we should do it. The amount of suffering in store for our grandchildren’s grandchildren is near unthinkable. The only saving grace is that they won’t really know what they’ve lost, even though they will know things could have and should have been better than they are.

            The one thing that I think people should bear in mind is that Milankovitch cycles are on our side in such an endeavour. If we can do something reasonably significant, like offset half or more of any given year’s emissions, that benefit is cumulative in a parallel manner to the way the emissions themselves are cumulative and the globe will support rather than override those effects. Do that for several years or decades and we’ll speed the effects of reductions in emissions. We really can’t afford to wait for emissions to stabilise or decline before we get started on reducing concentrations. And we do have to reduce concentrations, for the sake of oceans, coral reefs and fish populations if for no other reason.

            As for the snark about using only renewable power and EVs. As I said, the rocks in question are abundant silicate compounds readily available, on the surface, all over the place. Quarrying and crushing for these purposes can and should be done in locations chosen mainly for their suitability to disperse the dusts by wind &or the gravels in shallow waters to be constantly disturbed and ground against each other by wave and tidal action. http://www.zdnet.com/article/throwing-rocks-at-co2/

            Apart from the routine management needed to control access to explosives, this is not a sophisticated activity. It has none of the requirements of other mines and quarries to move the extracted material anywhere. It’s not dug up to be moved to a factory or market to be sold. It’s dug up to be crushed and dispersed right where it is for the most part.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Where to begin? Addleheadedlady certainly has opinions (lots of them), and she is most willing to share them with us. Let’s start near the end of her “gallop” and address her “snark” accusation re: my mention of renewable power and EV’s. No snarkiness intended, (but perhaps a bit or irony), as I tried to remind all that the technological fixes that some like her think might “save” us are far more likely to lead to the same kind of mistakes that got us to this point in the first place.

    The Earth systems of today evolved through 4+ billion years of trial and error, and several mass extinctions and recent multiple ice ages show that the earth “system” has not yet settled on a long term plan that will guarantee survival for all the present inhabitants. Humans can thank the benign conditions over the past ~11,700 years of the Holocene for our success as a species.

    I have mentioned a great book on another thread—-The End of the Long Summer, by Dianne Dumanoski, Crown, 2009. Dumanoski discusses how we have been embarked on a great experiment with the planet’s systems, and that it is not going well in that we have done more damage in the the last 50 years than in the first 11,650. We simply don’t understand how the Earth systems operate, and our social and economic models are working at odds with what has taken 4 billion years to develop.

    Dumanoski uses CFC’s and the ozone hole as one example—CFC’s were a great idea that made refrigerators and A/C possible on a grand scale, improving the lives of many. But OOPS!—-no one foresaw that the CFC’s would damage the ozone layer.

    We face similar “surprises” as a result of AGW, and it is the height of hubris to so casually talk of solutions like “grinding up rocks and spreading the dust”. If anyone reads the zdnet “throwing rocks at CO2” piece, they will learn some interesting things about something that may need to be attempted some day when it’s major SHTF time, but the main impression I got is that the idea has more “waffles” than IHOP and Waffle House combined (and may even approach the level of waffling Mitt Romney did in 2012).

    Yes, addleheadedlady has done her homework and gathered “knowledge”, but she has failed to look into the concept of “bright-sidedness” and wishful thinking. She should read Barbara Ehrenreich on that topic. Perhaps a look at Kubler-Ross might show her that she is operating in the denial-bargaining part of the spectrum there.

    In closing, “…and spraying sulfur compounds into the atmosphere” seems to have left her a bit gobsmacked, She states “How anyone with any interest in ocean health can propose such a daft idea is beyond my ken”. Perhaps she should know that this is one of the first things that will be attempted should things get bad enough that we need to go to bioengineering remedies. It is cheap and easy, mimics volcanic eruptions, and is “natural” in that it mimics the release of sulfur compounds by algae (which is thought to have helped make Earth habitable for higher life forms in the deep past). Enhanced cloud formation and reflection of sunlight are the two main effects—-look it up (and no one who proposes this is much worried about the ocean’s health—in fact, mankind in general is not too concerned about the oceans).

    • addledlady Says:

      And when those sulphur compounds descend, sooner and later, into an already acidifying ocean?

      Completely daft.

      As it happens, I’m not “brightsided” now. I probably was way back last century when we installed a solar hot water heater and I fondly imagined that, by 2000 or so, solar hot water systems would be the dominant, or the only, ones permitted for domestic use in Australian mainland states. I’ve learned my lesson.

      My own rather weary prediction is that we need to mobilise action equivalent to the allies engaging in WW2, having blown our chance to fend off the threat 20+ years earlier – a parallel, to _really_ push the point, to the Versailles treaty and the pure folly underlying the Great Depression. (I’m literally watching a doco on Hitler at this very moment.)

      And it will be pretty well a re-run of the way that war went, just on a much larger scale over a much longer time. Too few countries willing or able, let alone ready, to recognise or respond to the threats soon enough, strongly enough. Millions of people dead and cities, towns and countryside laid waste until, eventually, enough countries and their people stop dilly-dallying, &or profiteering from supplying the materials causing the trauma, starvation and misery of others, and get on board with those already suffering, fighting and dying.

      We’ll come out the other side just as we did after that war. The numbers of dead and of refugees or “displaced persons” will be immeasurably higher. The losses and damage to cities and lands will not be so easily remedied if they can be at all.

      But many of the things I favour will – eventually – be done, though I doubt the 20 or so years longer I expect to live will be long enough to see it. But rather than this “war” being over within a decade, it will be several decades, probably a century or more. The aftermath will not be any kind of return to what people thought of as normal beforehand. Rebuilding Dresden and Hiroshima was one kind of recovery. I have no idea what “recovery” might look like for countries with port cities, islands and farms in river deltas once those are under more than a metre of ocean water.

      Call me “bright-sided” if you like, (though in fact I’m a misery guts who just refuses to give in).

      • dumboldguy Says:

        What’s even more “completely daft” is ignoring the bigger shorter- term worry if we try it—-what those sulfur compounds may do to the ozone layer when they rise into the stratosphere. Stock up on SPF-50.

        And you say you are not “brightsided” now? LOL. Anyone who thinks they are going to live another 20 years to 88 or 90 in this modern world is most definitely bright-sided. Your chances of doing that are about one in ten, and what AGW will likely do to AUS in the next 20 years will probably make it more like 1 in 100. But dream on, Kubler Ross will understand and forgive you, although being a “misery guts” does complicate your diagnosis.

        Another example of your brightsidedness is saying “We’ll come out the other side…” at the same time you show a good understanding of how difficult that will be and how unlikely it is—-that it will take a WW2+ level effort (which the world shows NO signs of doing yet)

        You really should read Dumanoski’s book. I think you would find it comforting as well as enlightening. She says much that you would agree with and does think there is still a way out.

        • addledlady Says:

          “Anyone who thinks they are going to live another 20 years to 88 or 90 in this modern world is most definitely bright-sided. ”

          I reckon “climate” has done some real damage to my lifestyle already, if not my life expectancy. But we can survive those bad things – I had to apply CPR to start reviving my collapsed husband during the 3rd evening of a 40+ degree heatwave a couple of years ago, the ambos got here in less than 10 minutes, the ER, the ICU, the defib implant and the rehab unit did the rest. But we’re not the same, we cannot now do many things that we would once have not thought twice about and it’s bloody annoying that I’m stuck as the only driver in this household. Luckily, he’s quite happy to use buses and trains to get to and from the places he wants to go that I’m not interested in. (I sometimes have a frisson of regret about having had to cancel our already booked overseas trip if I’m truthful.) Unsurprisingly, I’m also a bit of a nag about maintaining hydration, _not_ persisting with tasks despite being hot, bothered and exhausted, and all the other keep yourself safe in the heat things.

          I’m not looking to increase expected life spans, but I don’t see why I shouldn’t live as long as my mum, dad, granny and grandpa. Mum’s still healthy, living alone but a bit frail at 90, the others lived to 87, 85 and 94 respectively. We’re that kind of a family, most of dad’s 11(!) uncles lived to over 80. We’ll just have to double up on insulation as well as adding awnings, verandahs, pergolas or similar household features that would have been optional 20+ years ago if we’re to live reasonably comfortably during steadily hotter and longer summers.

          I see my little personal emergency and its consequences playing out on a much larger scale. Most individuals and communities in the world don’t have a handy emergency service ready and able to save them from catastrophe, be it flood, fire, storm or heatwave effects, let alone food shortages. (As it happens, my husband’s event has only a 40% survival rate, and I presume the rate for surviving to live independently and apparently normally is considerably lower.) Even those who do live through calamities and disasters of various kinds are much more likely to continue suffering like those poor benighted people in Nepal and Darfur and Jordan than they are to resume a previously comfortable, or at least manageable, life. Suffering in place, suffering wherever they can find any refuge, however dangerous and inadequate.

          I count myself lucky. I’m also in a place where my own luck is likely to hold reasonably well even though I sometimes despair for my kids and their kids. If the world eventually gets its act together, WW2 style, maybe things will sort themselves out for one of the succeeding generations.


  3. Reference the sulphur in the oceans, worth looking at historical precedent.

    http://robertscribbler.com/2015/08/13/tumbling-down-the-rabbit-hole-toward-a-second-great-dying-world-oceans-face-is-now-shadowed-with-the-early-warning-signs-of-extinction/

    http://robertscribbler.com/2014/01/21/awakening-the-horrors-of-the-ancient-hothouse-hydrogen-sulfide-in-the-worlds-warming-oceans/

    http://www.amazon.com/Under-Green-Sky-Warming-Extinctions/dp/0061137928

    “Peter D. Ward is a professor of biology and earth and space sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. While studying the mass extinctions of the past, especially the Permian-Triassic, the Triassic-Jurassic and the Paleocene-Eocene, he and his associates have turned up an even greater threat of global warming- the release of toxic gases from the oceans.

    In “Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What they Can Tell Us About Our Future” Ward outlines the causes of these major extinctions. Once thought to all have occurred because of asteroid strikes, these extinctions were quite different from the Cretaceous-Paleocene event, which apparently was triggered by such a cosmic calamity. Now the three are more probably connected to naturally occurring high carbon dioxide and methane levels, leading to the melting of polar ice caps, the shutting down of the oceanic conveyor system, and the proliferation of sulfur bacteria in anoxic oceans. This is ominous, given our current rise in greenhouse gases, as the oceans then rose to cover the shore far inland in low lying areas and the atmosphere turned poisonous.”

    Be very careful of Sulphur and iron compounds in the ocean , especially during a period of warming and signs of increasing ocean stratification.

    The nuclear options, frying pans and fires
    once again softly softly
    http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/residents-in-st-louis-dying-in-record-numbers-from-world-war-ii-radioactive-waste/news-story/3626e996b759f6e4694abe61b7416975?sv=676bc881e867abadae7ff5862bfd3c54

    IN 2011, residents across an American community in St Louis began to notice a chain of inexplicably high incidents of cancer and disease across its population.

    For decades, both former and current residents from approximately 90 municipalities in the Missouri city were diagnosed with a long list of life-threatening illnesses, including leukaemia, lupus, brain tumours, appendix cancer, multiple sclerosis, birth defects and many more. People died. Babies died. And they’re still dying to this day, dubbed “the poison children of Coldwater Creek.”

    “If you have really low doses of radiation and you ingest it, over time it builds in your body. Once it gets in your body it never leaves, it’s like arsenic poisoning. It’s not one ingestion, it’s over and over, then it mutates and you end up with these cancers.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Robertscribbler gets it. Unfortunately, you don’t, because his discussion of “anoxic Canfield oceans” and global warming has little to do with the types of ocean fertilization geoengineering schemes that are under discussion today.

      What people are suggesting is that the lack of iron in large expanses of ocean is a limiting factor in the growth of phytoplanckton (the ones that use and sequester CO2), and that introducing iron into surface waters could increase their numbers, but not those of the nasty H2S producers that live in the muck.

      (And I have had bad feelings about H2S ever since a non-major cutie managed to blow up a hydrogen sulfide generator in a qual lab one day, spraying fragments of glass, zinc, and acid all over the place—amazingly, no one was injured, not even her)


  4. Nuclear options
    http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/residents-in-st-louis-dying-in-record-numbers-from-world-war-ii-radioactive-waste/news-story/3626e996b759f6e4694abe61b7416975?sv=676bc881e867abadae7ff5862bfd3c54

    IN 2011, residents across an American community in St Louis began to notice a chain of inexplicably high incidents of cancer and disease across its population.

    For decades, both former and current residents from approximately 90 municipalities in the Missouri city were diagnosed with a long list of life-threatening illnesses, including leukaemia, lupus, brain tumours, appendix cancer, multiple sclerosis, birth defects and many more. People died. Babies died. And they’re still dying to this day, dubbed “the poison children of Coldwater Creek.”

    “If you have really low doses of radiation and you ingest it, over time it builds in your body. Once it gets in your body it never leaves, it’s like arsenic poisoning. It’s not one ingestion, it’s over and over, then it mutates and you end up with these cancers.

    “We’re showing up with these really rare cancers, and really high rates at really young ages.”

    • dumboldguy Says:

      And the purpose of your providing this “nuclear options” link is what, Frank? To attempt to show that nuclear power plants in 2015 have ANY parallel with the mistakes made during the manufacture of nuclear weapons in the i940’s? That’s the kind of mindless “scare” propaganda that the anti-nuclear power denier types keep spreading, but it’s apples and oranges (and just plain dumb besides). Yes, radioactivity in concentrated doses can be dangerous, but it simply is not happening—-air pollution and AGW from burning fossil fuels kill far more more people daily than ALL those who have died in the ~70+ years that we have been messing with nuclear weapons and power plants.

      Actually, the link does a better job of proving my point that we should not be messing with things in the planetary system that we do not fully understand (and later expressing great surprise when they come back and bite us on the ass). We are now discovering the “unknown unknowns” about so many things that were supposed to be “advances”. The list of “modern technologies gone wrong” is endless—fallout from nuclear weapons testing, CFC’s and the ozone hole, DDT and eagles, PCB’s and dioxin, lead in paint and gasoline, acid rain, formaldehyde fumes from house insulation and laminated flooring, plastics and the garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean—-there are many examples of bio-accumulation.

      The only excuse for burying 250,000 (!!!) barrels of radioactive waste back then is that we were at war and they simply didn’t know any better, and you can say the same for us in 2015 about the technologically “advanced” life style we have adopted. We DO know much more in 2015 regarding how to safely use nuclear power to generate electricity (and our bomb-making is cleaner too), so you can relax. And a kicker is that this area of Missouri received more than its fair share of fallout from the Nevada bomb tests, which likely elevated the cancer rate also. (Ask John Wayne’s ghost about weapons test fallout)


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: