Sunday, November 29, 2009
Is there any real chance of averting the climate crisis?
NASA’s James Hansen was the first to point out the perils of climate change to the US Congress. Here, he begins a heated debate with experts from around the world, from China to the threatened Maldives, and argues that our leaders must be shaken out of their complacency. But will they show enough courage at next week's Copenhagen summit to take the first steps to saving the planet?
Absolutely. It is possible – if we give politicians a cold, hard slap in the face. The fraudulence of the Copenhagen approach – "goals" for emission reductions, "offsets" that render ironclad goals almost meaningless, the ineffectual "cap-and-trade" mechanism – must be exposed. We must rebel against such politics as usual.
Science reveals that climate is close to tipping points. It is a dead certainty that continued high emissions will create a chaotic dynamic situation for young people, with deteriorating climate conditions out of their control.
Science also reveals what is needed to stabilise atmospheric composition and climate. Geophysical data on the carbon amounts in oil, gas and coal show that the problem is solvable, if we phase out global coal emissions within 20 years and prohibit emissions from unconventional fossil fuels such as tar sands and oil shale.