James Hansen speaks at COP21
James Hansen is at it again, describing in plain language where we are headed if carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced now. Citizen’s Climate Lobby is providing day by day notes, and covered James Hansen’s presentation to activists (https://citizensclimatelobby.org/ccl-at-cop21-day-3-an-american-climate-scientist-in-paris/ ).
Here are a few notes from that article:
Our parents didn’t know they were causing climate change, but we have to pretend not to know. It’s cumulative emissions that cause climate change, and the US, UK and Germany are responsible for 50% of them. Developing countries have just as much right to develop as we have had. We’ve burned their share. The per capita emissions of Indians barely register against the total.
Since the atmosphere is thin and has a low heat capacity, we’ve felt only half of the global warming impact already incurred. The rest lurks in the oceans. The maximum temperatures of the Holocene (the age civilization has known) have already been exceeded. The current forcing of 0.6 watts per square meter means that CO2 must be reduced to 350 ppm. We can’t burn all the fossil fuels — only a small fraction before we get off of them completely. Fracking for oil equals doom.
Fossil fuels are not really the cheapest energy source, which is why we need a fee on them. You can’t solve this problem with 190 individual country goals and no enforcement because it’s about total cumulative emissions (and CO2 stays up there for millennia.) That’s why we need a global approach — a global fee. Individual nations’ caps are ineffective because as one nation uses less fossil fuel, the price will decline and another nation will burn them. If just a few major players do fee and dividend with border duties, the rest will follow.